The Autism Consortium of Texas (ACT) Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program 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.

The Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD) is  a part of this $2.3 million federally funded grant to provide services in Texas to improve the lives of youth with disabilities and their families. In partnership with the University of Texas and Texas State University, Dr. Kristen Padilla, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of BCDD, received this grant award from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration. There are over 15 affiliate faculty for the ACT LEND across 12 disciplines, including special education, applied behavior analysis, physical therapy, law, and much more.

The goals of ACT LEND are to:

  1. interdisciplinary leadership training; promote health equity in screening,
  2. diagnosis, and service delivery
  3. provide continuing education for practicing professionals in Texas; and
  4. disseminate evidence-based knowledge to key stakeholders.

ACT LEND is now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 cohort. We welcome applications from graduate students, professionals, family members of individuals with autism or a related disability, and autistic or developmentally disabled adults to join our 2023-2024 cohort. Applications due March 27, 2023. For more further information or to apply, please visit

To learn more about being an ACT LEND Trainee at Baylor University, please email