English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Loyola faculty receive grant to virtually train first responders with the help of self-advocate educators

Loyola University Maryland

October 9, 2020


Lisa Schoenbrodt, Ed.D., professor of speech-language and hearing sciences, and Leah Katherine Saal, Ph.D., associate professor of literacy, have been awarded a $26,933, one-year grant from the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) for their innovative project, “LEAD Program Online Regional Pilot for FIRE/EMS.”

This grant expands the existing “Learning to Lead: Training Self-Advocate Educators for Law Enforcement” (LEAD) program to an online regional pilot to train first responders to understand the behaviors of and methods to communicate with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD/DD).

“Pending the successful outcomes of the expansion of the LEAD Program to a regional online model, we anticipate this model (a combination of synchronous/asynchronous training) to be able to have the flexibility to meet the needs of rural, suburban, and urban EMS/FIRE personnel in Maryland,” said Saal. “As the curriculum and self-advocate educator integration will be flipped to a fully online format, it is possible to reach all regions of Maryland—including those where transportation and representation may be limited.”

The grant will provide a sustainable virtual model of delivery for the five regions in Maryland and is the first to include self-advocate educators with lived experience as the core of the training.