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Grant to fund Loyola training supporting people with disabilities

Loyola University Maryland's Alumni Chapel
Two faculty associates in Loyola University Maryland’s Center for Equity, Leadership, and Social Justice in Education received a $197,715 grant to educate and train supervisors at Maryland correctional facilities in best practices for interacting with incarcerated people who have developmental disabilities. The pilot training program, “LEADing to Learn,” will increase the supervisors’ awareness of how to engage with people with developmental disabilities and establish a model for future trainings.

“‘LEADing to Learn’ is a great example that illustrates our center’s mission and vision to collaborate with community members, students, and allies through a forum of professional learning, research, engaged scholarship, and community involvement to amplify our collective voices, advocate for multiracial and multicultural human rights, and advance justice in education,” said Qi Shi, Ph.D., associate professor and director of Loyola’s Center for Equity, Leadership, and Social Justice in Education.

Leah Katherine Saal, Ph.D., associate professor of literacy education, and Lisa Schoenbrodt, Ed.D., professor of speech-language and hearing sciences, will implement the “LEADing to Learn” training program following the LEAD Model they developed where people with developmental disabilities provide the training for police, fire and rescue, and, now, correctional supervisors. Schoenbrodt and Saal have designed and implemented similar trainings in Baltimore City and Prince George’s, Montgomery, Howard, and Washington counties.

The three-year pilot grant will fund the recruitment, training, support, and supervision of five paid self-advocate educators who are individuals with developmental disabilities. The self-advocate educators will train up to 300 correctional supervisors from the Jessup Region at the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions in Sykesville, Maryland.

The “LEADing to Learn” training curriculum will cover the characteristics and traits of people with disabilities and skills for effectively communicating with people with disabilities. In addition, self-advocate educators will conduct practice role-play scenarios at the trainings and provide feedback to program participants.

“The Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions has a long history of partnering with institutions of higher learning to create innovative training opportunities for our staff that will benefit them and enhance public safety,” Albert Liebno Jr., Executive Director of the Commissions, and Thomas Martin, Director of Correctional Training, wrote in a letter to Loyola. “We are hopeful this model will become the accepted standard training on working with this population throughout state and local corrections.”

The grant was awarded by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council with funding from the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.