HISD to Help Train Next Generation of Health-Care Leaders

Grant-funded initiative designed to improve services provided to children with autism and other neuro-developmental disorders

June 26, 2012

Houston ISD is joining forces with the Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston to better serve children with autism spectrum disorders and other neuro-developmental disabilities.

The LoneStar Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program, funded through a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, is the first program of its kind in Texas and one of 44 LEND programs located at universities or major children’s hospitals across the United States.

Houston’s program will be led by Dr. Pauline Filipek, director of The Autism Center at the Children’s Learning Institute, and will support up to 15 participants.

“Through this collaboration, medical trainees will have the opportunity to work with HISD staff to learn about Individualized  Education Program (IEP) development and the transition planning process. They will also see how we conduct our student evaluations, attend IEP meetings in our schools, and observe how we meet with parents to share our findings and plan programs and services for students with disabilities” explained HISD’s Assistant Superintendent of Special Education Services Sowmya Kumar.

Kumar noted that autism is the fastest-growing area of disability today, “so the more professionals can work together around this issue, the better it will be for our kids. This collaboration will give us the opportunity to better understand each other’s roles to support families.”