On December 6, 2019, the New Jersey Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NJLEND) program at The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities held a didactic seminar focused on cultural competency. The didactic seminar session included a family panel comprised of three parents representing the following cultural backgrounds: West African, Hispanic/Latino, and South Asian. The parent panelists shared information about their family, their ethnic and cultural identity, and the cultural impact on their experience of having a child with a disability. The session provided valuable insights on intersectionality by exploring the experience of having a child with a disability from panelists' personal viewpoints, and highlighting how cultural background might have impacted that experience. Tying into the program's efforts to enhance alumni engagement, all parents on the panel were former NJLEND Family Fellows, with a representative from each of the program's previous three cohorts.

A key takeaway from the day was the importance of asking questions and avoiding assumptions-while emphasizing family-centered care and the parent experience. Each panelist also spoke about the high degree of stigma they faced from their extended family related to their child's disability. The session was highly rated by NJLEND Fellows, who strongly recommended the panel be repeated in next year's curriculum. Quotes from Fellows indicated how impactful this panel presentation was. "This was extremely helpful to understand how my discipline impacts families," shared one Fellow; "Really gave me valuable insight that will impact practice," said another.

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities expresses deep gratitude to the panelists, and former NJLEND Fellows: Deepa Srinivasavaradan '17, Mercedes Rosa '18, and Genevieve Kumapley '19 for their honesty and openness in sharing their families' experiences with the cohort.