The LEND Self-Advocacy Discipline Network Presents: Introduction of the LEND Self-Advocacy Discipline Competencies

Event Description:

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) training programs must include individuals with disabilities as Self-Advocate trainees as a distinct discipline alongside graduate students, family members, and community trainees. Self-Advocates offer an invaluable perspective in the scope of the training: the lived experience of disability. 

The purpose of the LEND Self-Advocacy Discipline Competencies is to offer LEND training programs a set of tools to help Self-Advocate trainees individualize their leadership goals and learning plan during their participation in a LEND training program. To access the competencies, click here.

By the end of this webinar, participants will:

  • Recognize the value of lived experience in LEND training programs
  • Understand how the Self-Advocacy Discipline Competencies may be used to meet discipline-specific learning needs and personal leadership goals of Self-Advocate trainees in LEND 


Jairo AranaJairo Arana began his journey as a self-advocate when he participated in UM-NSU CARD's Jobseekers Program after being diagnosed later in life with ASD. He was recommended to participate in the University of Miami Mailman Center for Child Development’s Project SALT (Self-Advocate Leadership Training) Program. After graduating from the SALT Program, he became a trainer for Project SALT and a consultant for the UM Mailman Center for Child Development. He was also the UM Mailman Center for Child Development’s first LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) Self-advocate trainee. He graduated from UM Mailman Center’s ETLP (Emerging Transformational Leadership Program, under LEND) and participated in the Florida DD Network Collaborative Leadership Program. He won the UM-NSU CARD Outstanding Self-Advocate Award for 2019. He’s been a guest panelist at the 26th Annual CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) Conference, AUCD (Association of University Centers on Disabilities) 2020 Conference’s Emerging Leaders Panel, CARD’s Success Across the Spectrum: A Panel Discussion with Autistic Adults, and A Ride Away Webinar: Employ to Empower for Ann Storck Center. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Arts and Science in Communication in Motion Pictures and English, Creative Writing from the University of Miami and works full-time at the UM Mailman Center as a Clinical Program Coordinator and assisting with UM Mailman Center’s leadership pipeline program. 

Mary AngusMary Angus’ passion for civil and human rights for people with disabilities has driven her most of her life. Her experience as a person with a disability has had a profound effect on her advocacy. She is proud to have served as part of Disability Rights Nebraska in their advisory council and board for over 20 years. After a start focusing on mental illness, she branched out to work in the areas of developmental disabilities, voting rights, and independent living.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a master’s in educational psychology from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She found working with children came naturally to her and her work showed it. She became a therapist for abused children and worked to prevent substance use among students in east-central Nebraska. The Schools Teaming on Prevention (STOP) program she developed received a national award as a youth health program. 

Mary has developed and supported disability rights, leadership training, and voting rights activities. She currently is the Self Advocate faculty for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) at Munroe-Meyer Institute. This includes working with trainees from People First of Nebraska and Disability Rights Nebraska.

In 1988, Mary was involved in The White House Conference for a Drug-Free America during the Reagan administration. Local, state, and national involvement in boards such as the Youth Life Skills Council for Suicide Prevention, the Behavioral Health Oversight Commission of the Nebraska Legislature, the National Council on Independent Living Restraint and Seclusion Subcommittee, and the Nebraska Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities helped broaden her experience.

Born while her father was a student at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. She now lives in Omaha, Nebraska. More importantly, she is the mother of two daughters, grandmother of six, and has one great-grandchild. These are the lights in her life.

Shelly BaerShelly Baer is a licensed clinical social worker and is employed at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Mailman Center for Child Development as the Director of Leadership Training Initiatives. She coordinates the center’s pipeline leadership programs-The Emerging Transformational Leadership Program (ETLP), Project Self-Advocate Leadership Training (SALT), and Student Emerging Leaders Program (SELP). Ms. Baer assists with the LEND curriculum and is the self-advocate trainee supervisor. She is the co-lead of the Lifespan Interprofessional Collaborative (IPC) and is a founding member of Disability Network Alliance (DNA), the University’s newest employee resource group (ERG). Ms. Baer grew up in Miami and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami, and her master’s from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work in NY.  At age three, Ms. Baer was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, but it has never slowed her down. She pushes boundaries and does not let her disability hold her back. Ms. Baer co-founded a photography exhibit that showcases the beauty, sensuality, and empowerment of disabled women. Bold Beauty Project was incorporated as a non-profit in 2016. Ms. Baer serves as the Founder/Co-Director.  She is currently a doctoral student at Antioch University in Leadership and Change.

McCaffertyMcCafferty S. Kermon began her career in leadership as a Self-Advocacy Trainee in the North Carolina LEND Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). She has extensive experience as an education coach for individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities, having developed curricula related to skill development, leadership, Self-Advocacy, and life transitions for this population.   She is currently the Advocacy Faculty for Arizona LEND at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and a consultant to the TEACCH Autism Program, UNC-CH.    


Resource Topic(s): Self-Advocacy
Resource Target
General Public
Resource Format(s): Webinar/Training
Resource Published: 10/31/2023

The LEND Self-Advocacy Discipline Network Presents: Introduction of the LEND Self-Advocacy Discipline Competencies
Contact Information:

Interdisciplinary Technical Assistance Center (ITAC)

AUCD MCH Engagement Team
[email protected]