Description: TIPS for Kids is Missouri’s LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) training program. LEND training provides graduate level interdisciplinary training to graduate students, professionals and family members. The purpose is to develop leadership potential to improve the status of infants, children and adolescents with or at risk for neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and to enhance the systems of care for children and their families. Trainee disciplines include social work, speech/language pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, health management and informatics, and family members. The base of the program is at the University of Missouri – Columbia however, during the fall semester, IHD facilitates a classroom that is connected to Columbia via telehealth conferencing.


Project Contact:               Connie Brooks, PhD, 573.884.6052,

Project Period:                 2016-2021

Annual Funding:              $531,768 (FY2017)

Funding Source:               Maternal and Child Health Bureau, US Department of Health and Human Services

Core Functions

Applied Research:  Faculty, trainees, and fellows plan and conduct clinical and community-based research as part of their training activities.  Process and outcome evaluations of the leadership training program are routinely conducted and utilized to improve training activities.

Community Services and Supports: Faculty, trainees, and fellows provide health and allied health services to over 1300 children and their families annually and collaborate with State Title V agencies and other community organizations that serve children with disabilities and their families.

Information Dissemination: Interdisciplinary leadership training is provided to graduate and post-graduate students of health and allied health professions in disability-related topics, particularly autism. TIPS has a poster presentation each spring highlighting leadership projects.

Interdisciplinary Personnel Preparation: Journal articles, chapters, books, technical reports, and audio or video materials are developed and disseminated by faculty, trainees, and fellows.


Program Need and Historical Context

  • National and state statistics reflect a large incidence of people under the age of 22 with disabling conditions, many receiving less than adequate services.  There is a shortage of trained professionals to address the needs of these children, especially in rural areas.
  • In Winter 1994-95, the Institute and Children’s Hospital of the University of Missouri-Columbia (UM-C) agreed to collaborate in the development of a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) leadership training grant application.  It was agreed that the program would be located at University of Missouri-Columbia.  This site is an extension of the Institute and serves mid-Missouri.

Consumer and Community Involvement

  • Family members have been included in the development and implementation of grant programs.
  • The program works in collaboration with the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council, University of Missouri Extension, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Missouri Division of DD as well as local and county based service providers such as Boone County Family Resources.
  • The classroom and clinical facilities are provided by the Thompson Center on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
  • A parent of a child with a disability participates in planning, curriculum design, and instruction.
  • Each year at least one trainee is a parent of a child with a disability.
  • Each trainee/fellow shadows a family with a child with a disability for 12 hours during the fall semester.
  • Observation of policy or advocacy processes are required for each trainee/fellow, requiring attendance at local or statewide events.


Significant Project Activities and Outcomes

  • The TIPS for Kids certificate program is completed by 12-15 long-term trainees and fellows each year, including current trainees in social work, psychology, physical therapy, speech language pathology, health management and informatics, family, and occupational therapy.
  • Problem-based learning sessions are contained in the curriculum.
  • The core curriculum has sound learning objectives.
  • An interdisciplinary clinical  training process is in place.
  • Over 1,300 children with disabilities were seen by the LEND faculty and trainees in a variety of clinical and community settings.
  • A journal club for trainees is facilitated by the psychology post doctoral fellow.


Institute’s Role

  • IHD staff work with Univ. of Missouri-Columbia staff to write the grant applications and progress reports.
  • IHD personnel fulfill ongoing evaluation efforts and maintain the database.
  • IHD staff participates in curriculum development for the core course in interdisciplinary processes and serve as instructors.
  • IHD staff participates on the faculty committee, as well as other ad hoc committees and task forces.



  • Leadership training curricula and Syllabi
  • Progress reports and Grant applications
  • Posters, training modules, and brochures are produced each year as leadership project



System:  This program will impact the lives of individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and other special health care needs and their families by provision of clinical and other services in rural communities.   Currently, 89% of our graduates at five years past training report leadership training report leadership in academics clinical, or public health activities. 

Personnel:  Systems capacity is strengthened by offering leadership development experiences for trainees in health and allied health professions, thereby strengthening their skills in clinical practices, interaction with families, research, advocacy, and policy development.

Leveraging:  We currently have medium term trainees attending from a classroom at UMKC via teleconferencing as well as medium and short term trainees attending along with the long term trainees/fellows.  These medium and short term trainees represent community providers, families and medicine.