The Autism Consortium of Texas (ACT) LEND seeks to train graduate students, family members, and self-advocates in culturally informed diagnosis, support, and advocacy for children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities throughout the Capital Region and Central Texas.

The 9-month training opportunity includes coursework, seminars, research and presentation opportunities, mentorship, hands-on experiences in clinical or community-based settings. Stipends are available for long-term trainees.

What does it mean to be a LEND trainee?

There are over 4,000 AUCD trainees enrolled in the nation's LEND, UCEDD, and IDDRC programs. By being a trainee at an AUCD-member program, individuals are also members of AUCD.  A LEND trainee might be a graduate student in a core discipline (see list below) or a self-advocate or family member learning about leadership. All trainees have a common desire to continue learning about helping and working with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The AUCD network provides modules and more information for those who are interested in learning more about the benefits of being a LEND trainee.

Who is eligible to be a LEND trainee?

Applicants should be full-time graduate students enrolled in one of the core disciplines at The University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University, or Texas State University during the 2021-2022 school year, or be a self-advocate or family member of a person with autism or a related developmental disability.

The core disciplines include: 
Applied Behavioral Analysis
Family Leadership
Physical Therapy
Social Work
Special Education
Speech-Language Pathology

Self-advocates or family members of a person with autism or a related developmental disability are encouraged to apply to become a long-term trainee. Family member and self-advocate trainees will receive the same stipend as graduate students. They can complete the 300 hours in 1 or 2 years depending on their needs. The ACT LEND program believes family members and persons with disabilities will be important contributing members of each interdisciplinary training cohort.  

What are the curriculum and training requirements?
If selected, trainees will be required to complete a minimum of 300 didactic and experiential contact hours. This includes:

  •  A Mandatory all-day ACT LEND Orientation to be held the week of August 16 (TBA)
  • Fall course (Tuesdays 5:30-830PM)
  • Bi-weekly clinical sessions (days/times TBA)
  • Spring weekly 3-hour seminars (Thursday afternoon/evenings, time TBA)
  • A 100-hour clinical or community practicum (distinct from your graduate program internship)
  • Monthly meetings with your discipline training coordinator (including development of an individualized learning plan)
  • Leadership conferences and workshops (days/times TBA)
  • Meeting with a family mentor (minimum of 4 times/year)
  • Engagement in a research or evaluation project
  • Poster presentation of ACT LEND project on practicum or research activities at the end of year Open House held on May 6, 2022


How can I apply to be a LEND trainee?

We are accepting applications for the ACT LEND Program for graduate students, family members, and self-advocates to become Long-Term Trainees (LTTs) for the 2021-2022 academic year. Eleven LTTs will be selected and individuals from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Applications for graduate students will include a completed application form, an essay, 2 letters of reference, a resume, and transcripts. Please find program information and application instructions for graduate students here.

Applications for family members and self-advocates require a completed application form, a letter of reference, and a brief essay responding to questions. Stay tuned for applications for self-advocates and family members. Please find program information and application instructions for family members here. Please find program information and application instructions for self-advocates here. 

When is the application due?

Graduate student applications for the 2021-2022 ACT LEND Program are due April 16, 2021. Self-advocate and family member applications are due May 3, 2021.

Please email completed applications to 

If you have further questions, please contact ACT LEND Director, Dr. Sandy Magaña or Program Coordinator, Kate Fitzpatrick at: