WI LEND Program

Wisconsin Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities
WILEND faculty and students photo

Developing leaders to improve services and supports for children with or at risk for neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Important Dates

WI LEND Info Brochure

We are currently reapplying for LEND funding for 2021-2026.  We will update dates on our website after we receive information on our application.

Featured Graduates

Smiling woman with short brown hair wearing glasses and a blue sweater using a wheelchair and augmentative communication device.

Through LEND, I am mentoring young children who use a augmentative communication device. My main goal is to inspire them to talk through their communication devices during my time with the kids. I achieve this by talking to them through my machine. That strategy has been successful; their parents expressed that was the most they saw their kids talk. Seeing successful AAC users gives the children hope and a role model. When I was growing up, I was the only one who was intelligent with a communication device. I felt lonely. Once I met another individual who also used a device, I felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders. I realized I wasn’t alone anymore. As I met more people who communicate similarly, I had a new sense of community. I enjoy being an advocate for children with disabilities.

-Stasia Wilson

Abby Tessman Featured Student

Abby Tessmann is a 2014 self-advocate WI LEND graduate. Abby has taken the policy and leadership skills she learned in LEND to the local, state and national levels, advocating for disability rights. Abby meets regularly with legislators to tell her story. She uses her social media presence to inform the public of upcoming disability advocacy events. Abby is a graduate of the Cutting-Edge Program at Edgewood College. The WI-LEND program provided Abby the opportunity to discover her passion for disability policy and advocacy. Abby continues to contribute to LEND through participation in panel discussions.
Stay up-to-date on disability advocacy at Abby’s Facebook page!

What’s New

Smiling young woman with long blonde hair wearing brown cardigan and white shirt outdoors.WI-LEND Social Work PhD Trainee Kiley McLean has taken on a new leadership role in development and implementation of the policy curriculum during her 2nd year. She is mentoring trainees in the policymaking process and in how to educate policymakers in different ways about issues related to the disability community. During this year, she has also engaged in advocacy of her own related to COVID-19 and people with disabilities. She published “Don’t Leave People with Disabilities Behind in Coronavirus Relief” in The Cap Times and “COVID-19 Relief Package: We are Essential” in AUCD Policy Talk. Through this, she advocated for “specific funding for direct support professionals that support people with disabilities, sick and paid leave for those caring for their loves ones with disabilities, specified funding for Medicaid home and community-based services, stimulus payments to all people with disabilities, and dedication to nondiscriminatory practices in health care.” Check out the article and AUCD post to learn more about how you can help.

Kali A. Kramolis smiling wearing glasses.WI-LEND Public Health trainee Kali A. Kramolis and Robert A. Peterson Jr. of the Madison-based ABC for Health published “Robert A. Peterson Jr. and Kali A. Kramolis: Valuable child health care program is flying under the radar” in The Cap Times. HealthCheck is a federal Medicaid program that can provide critical preventive healthcare to Wisconsin children, but it is underutilized. “Historically, Wisconsin consistently fails to address and serve the health care needs of many vulnerable children. We can and must do better. And we will. That is why we are creating an action plan to help Wisconsin’s children.” The HealthCheck Task Force is developing accessible outreach to help ensure everyone is aware of this vital program. Click here for the full article and information on how you can help.