School of Education Blog

Loyola's LEAD Program

Loyola University Maryland, in collaboration with Best Buddies and the Municipal Police Academy, has worked to develop the LEAD program, designed to provide officers training to help interactions with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program was created by the Ethan Saylor Alliance, a foundation started to honor Ethan Saylor, who had Down syndrome and died after an encounter with law enforcement. 

Two Loyola faculty members, Lisa Schoenbrodt, a professor in the speech-language pathology and audiology program and Leah Saal, co-director and assistant professor of literacy education, helped start the program after receiving a two-year grant from the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) for their project, Learning to LEAD: Training Self-Advocate Educators for Law Enforcement.

Word about the program has gained traction and has been featured on several media outlets including, WJZ, The Washington Post, FOX5 DC, WYPR, and LEAD has received praise for its positive impact and the difference it has made in the way officers approach these situations.