Apply to ACT LEND

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 (or related disciplines) at The University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University, or Texas State University during the 2024-2025 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 • Audiology • Family Leadership • Medicine • Nursing • Psychology • Self-advocacy • 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:

  • Mandatory all-day ACT LEND Orientation 
  • Fall Course (Tuesdays 5:30-8:30 p.m.)
  • Bi-weekly Clinical Sessions (alternate Fridays 2-5 p.m.)
  • Bi-weekly Spring Leadership Trainings (alternate Fridays 2-5 p.m.)
  • Spring Weekly Seminars (day/time TBA)
  • A 100-hour clinical or community practicum (distinct from your graduate program internship)
  • Monthly meetings with your discipline training coordinator (includes development of an individualized learning plan)
  • Leadership conferences and workshops (days/times TBA)
  • Meeting with a family or self-advocate 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 in May

How can I apply to be a LEND trainee?

Applications for the ACT LEND Program for graduate students, family members, and self-advocates to become Long-Term Trainees (LTTs) for the 2024-25 academic year will open in the Spring of 2024. 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.

When is the application due?

Applications are due by March 25, 2024. Applicants may be requested to attend a brief online interview before acceptance decisions are made. Successful applicants to the ACT LEND program will be notified by June 3, 2024.

If you require assistance or would prefer a PDF application to complete and submit by email, please send your request to

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