LEND in Action: Ben Martin, MSW
Nearly eight years following his graduation from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) master’s degree program in Social Work and the NH-ME LEND Program, Ben Martin highlights the value of his LEND training in numerous ways. LEND was instrumental in informing his understanding of 1) the challenges faced by families and caregivers of children and youth with disabilities and special health care needs, 2) the impacts that systems and policies that create those systems have on those individuals, and 3) the incredible depth of individual humanity and the emotional lives of members of a group that is all too often interpreted by the broader public as lacking both.
Ben’s work has touched different systems of care for children, youth and adults with disabilities, including individuals at risk. Between 2011-2013 Ben partnered with the Division of Children, Youth, and Families (child protective services) through his work with the UNH Center for Professional Excellence in Child Welfare. Ben left the workforce for 4 years to support his daughter who experiences a special health care need when he had the opportunity to experience the service systems as a family member. Returning to the workforce in 2017, Ben currently works as a therapist on a Neurocognitve Team at Lakes Region Mental Health in Laconia serving individuals with diagnoses including ASD, Down syndrome, Fragile X, unspecified intellectual and developmental disabilities, and acquired brain injuries. The Neurocognitive Team includes a nurse practitioner, a neuro coordinator, a case management facilitator, and two case managers. Many individuals are also served by the local area agency, Lakes Region Community Services. This model of care is a model for bridging the developmental disabilities and mental health service systems. The leadership aspects of LEND strengthened Ben’s knowledge and skills related to effective teamwork. Continue the good work Ben!