Lifeline Online Newsletter

LifeSpan Banner

November 2001

News for the investigators, staff and associates of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies


Karen Henry, editor kahenry@ku.edu

Reminder: The fall LSI Investigators and Staff Meeting will be held at 3:30 PM on December 7th in 2092 Dole. The purpose of this meeting is to update you on a number of important initiatives, celebrate our recent accomplishments, and discuss possible new directions. I hope you can join us. - Steve Warren, Director

The Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas

1052 Dole Human Development Center

1000 Sunnyside Avenue

Lawrence, KS 66045-7555 (785) 864-4295 TDD (785) 864-5051

Contents

· Steve Schroeder retires at the top of his game

· Mabel Rice unveils first test to diagnose Specific Language Impairment

· Martin Gerry appointed SSA Deputy Commissioner for Income Support Programs by President

· Update on Technology Task Force

· State of Kansas issues guidelines for website accessibility

· Jessica Black named KU Classified Employee of the Month

· UAP and Beach have new names

Administration News

Steve Schroeder Retires at the Top of His Game

Career capped by successful culmination of five-year drug trial

Karen Henry, Communications Coordinator

Also see:

KU study shows drug for schizophrenics may also help treat self-injuring people at http://www.ur.ku.edu/News/01N/NovNews/Nov9/drug.html

Roger Martin's commentary at http://www.ur.ku.edu/News/01N/NovNews/Nov9/martin.html

Stephen R. Schroeder, the first director of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies at the University of Kansas, received the highest award given by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD).

The Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes Schroeder’s lifetime contribution to the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The award was presented at the association’s annual conference in Bethesda, Maryland, on November 3.

Schroeder directed the Life Span Institute from 1990 until stepping down from that post on August 1. He retired from the University of Kansas on October 31.

He took over at a critical juncture when the Bureau of Child Research, Gerontology Center, and the Center for Multicultural Leadership were incorporated into the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies.

Under Schroeder’s entrepreneurial administration, several other prominent research groups joined the Life Span Institute, making it one of the largest and most respected research and development centers on disabilities and human development in the world with 15.6 million dollars in grants in FY 2000.

“Steve’s background in experimental psychology and pharmacology enabled him to provide leadership to biomedical researchers and nurture a collaborative biobehavioral approach to the problems of development and disabilities,” said Steven Warren, Life Span Institute director.

In this, his last year as LSI director, Schroeder saw the culmination of his life’s work as on behalf of people with self-injurious behavior in a groundbreaking five-year study of the drug risperidone that holds out great hope for people with this devastating problem. The study will be published in this month’s American Journal on Mental Retardation.

Helping people with self-injurious behavior has been a 30-year mission that began the day Schroeder, a young psychologist at the Murdoch Center in North Carolina, met his first patient with this condition-a young man who had gnawed his arm almost to the bone.

But this is only one part of the story. For the last eleven years, Schroeder and his wife, Carolyn, KU adjunct professor of human development and family life, have given hands-on support and raised funds for the Ann Sullivan Center in Lima, Peru, to bring effective educational and clinical practices to the treatment of people with developmental disabilities in Latin America.

Schroeder’s extensive published work includes the soon to be published Self-Injurious Behavior: Gene-Brain-Behavior Relationships. He has also been the editor of several of the premier research journals in the field of disabilities research including the American Journal on Mental Retardation.

The AUCD is the eighth major honor Schroeder has received. Among the seven others are the Distinguished Research Awards from the American Psychological Association, American Association on Mental Retardation, and the Academy on Mental Retardation.

And it is not over yet. Schroeder will continue as the interim director of the Kansas Center for Excellence in Disabilities Education, Research, and Service at KU which oversees several programs at the Life Span Institute that provide training, technical assistance, and direct services to people with disabilities across Kansas.

Finally, there is Schroeder the mentor and that role will continue as well. “He is a master at this role,” said Warren, “yet it never shows up on his vita, never gets him a larger paycheck, never gets him much more than the one thing that can’t be readily counted - the respect and deep appreciation of his students and colleagues.”

Mabel Rice unveils first test to diagnose Specific Language Impairment

Joy Simpson, Merrill Center Administrator/Editorial Assistant and Karen Henry, Communications Coordinator

"Yesterday she walk to my house." In a 5-year-old child, failure to use the past tense is one indication of a condition called Specific Language Impairment, or SLI, a disability that likely would go undiagnosed by traditional language testing.

But now a University of Kansas faculty member is one of two scientists who developed the first diagnostic test designed specifically for the significant learning and communication disability.

Mabel Rice, director of the Child Language Doctoral Program and distinguished professor of speech-language-hearing at KU, and Kenneth Wexler, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have developed the Rice/Wexler Test of Early Grammatical Impairment. The test is designed to diagnose children ages 3 through 8 and can be administered by clinicians within an hour using books and toys.

Based on years of research supported by the National Institutes of Health, the test identifies disabilities that are often overlooked but that pose barriers to learning and communication through adulthood. Specific Language Impairment affects approximately 7.6 percent of 5-year-olds.

"In the early years, it is easy to dismiss the condition as baby talk, but in kindergarten, a child with SLI clearly does not have mastery of language," Rice said.

Even then, a child may not be referred for extra help because traditional tests are not designed with this unique impairment in mind.

It is difficult to pinpoint SLI. In many ways, the child speaks accurately and does not fall neatly into the category of a late talker, according to Rice. "Certain patterns in her grammar mark the impairment," Rice explained.

For example, a child will frequently drop "do" and "be" from verb phrases. Instead of asking "Does he like me?" she will ask "He like me?" The past tense of verbs also may be dropped, especially "-ed."

"Waiting for children to outgrow this pattern is not helpful because it involves more than just a delay in their development," Rice said. "In fact, it may have a genetic cause."

Rice looks for a genetic link in SLI through studies of twins and families.

SLI is a disorder that scientists are just beginning to understand, with the first significant research emerging in the 1980s.

Children with SLI have normal intelligence and do not suffer from hearing loss, emotional problems or neurological impairments. Only a small number of children have difficulty with articulation. But an altered sense of language can hinder learning and reading as the child grows. Rice also believes that SLI results in low-level language performance in adulthood.

"Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for future success," she said.

Rice has one of the broadest experiences with children and language disorders in the United States. Her team of researchers has been traveling across Kansas for nine years interviewing children as they reach age 3 and returning periodically to test the children's progress through their 8th year. This research will be extended to track the same children to age 13, making it one of only two SLI projects in the nation that can draw upon years of data from the same population. The broad scope of this study has allowed researchers to decode the sentence structures of children affected by SLI.

The test is available through the Psychological Corp. in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, see www.psychcorp.com/catalogs/sla/slaf011atpc.htm.

The Child Language Doctoral Program is one of more than 100 programs in KU's Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, which serves rural and urban Kansans through research-based solutions to the problems of human development and disability.

President Bush appoints Martin Gerry SSA Deputy Commissioner for Disability and Income Support Programs

Karen Henry, Communications Coordinator

Martin Gerry, research professor and director of the LSI Center for Family, Neighborhood and Community Policy since 1995, was appointed the new Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration for Disability and Income Support Programs by President George W. Bush.

His resignation from KU is effective December 3.

A national figure in welfare reform and educational policy, Gerry has served under two U.S. presidents. He was director of the U.S. Office of Civil Rights during the Gerald Ford administration and assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the George H.W.Bush presidency.

Gerry's research at KU centered on the effect of legislative and social policy on the lives of people with disabilities. More specifically, Gerry was concerned with ticket-to-work and self-sufficiency programs, developing credit unions for and by people with disabilities, and methods of obtaining affordable health insurance.

We all wish Martin great success in his new role!

Update on Technology Task Force Activities

Charles Greenwood, Director, Juniper Gardens Children's' Project, LSI Technology Task Force Chair

This fall the task force (Karen Henry, Steve Mills, Cindy Roberts, Davida Sears, Dean Williams, Troy Zarcone), has been meeting about every two weeks, concentrating on completing a strategic plan for LSI’s computer and media services. We owe a debt of gratitude to our own Dr. Jean Ann Summers (Beach Center/Juniper Gardens) for facilitating this strategic planning process. After submitting a preliminary draft to Steve Warren, we plan to make the document available to LSI PI’s and staff for a period of comment and receipt of feedback that can be included in the final draft.

Some of the areas covered in the plan so far include:

· Analysis of who are the LSI’s computer and media services staff and their consumers

· What their services are, and how they are provided

· Analysis of what the LSI is trying to achieve using these services

· Areas of strength, weakness, opportunity, and barriers/threats

· Dollar support for these services and alternative methods of support

· Specific recommendations for improving the quality and efficacy of these services

Additional fact finding completed by the committee during the Fall Semester have included:

· Closer collaboration with Academic Computing Services

Meeting with Academic Computing Services’, Wes Hubert, the current acting director, regarding current KU priorities, activities and potential for collaborative services to the LSI provided by ACS. A recommendation in the strategic plan will call for closer involvement of the LSI computer applications with the ACS.

· Videoconferencing

The committee experienced a demonstration of KU’s Grid Access Node, a state-of-the-art videoconferencing facility in an effort to develop a feasible plan for using videoconferencing between LSI’ primary sites in Parsons, Kansas City, Topeka, and Lawrence. A reasonable alternative for us to use is Polycon System’s view stations and digital projectors that enable groups of persons in various locations to communicate in real time. One of recommendations in the strategic plan will be an ongoing effect to demonstrate, test, and scale-up videoconferencing systems for use by LSI PIs, partners, and staff.

· Follow-up focused survey on computer and media services

Building on the earlier CAU/Communications surveys, the committee is planning a follow-up that will focus on areas of need with respect to computer and media services. Dean Williams is heading up the planning for this second survey to be implemented early Spring Semester. Because of the unequal response from PI’s, computer staff, administrative staff, and technical staff, we are planning to stratify the sample of respondents within the larger projects and centers to better represent various views. We are planning to contact persons in advance to secure their willingness to complete the survey before sending it out. The intent is to capture new information, not overlapping with the prior survey.

· Some changes that have already occurred because of the task force’s work include:

. Reallocation of a Juniper Gardens’ Web server to “back-up” the Lawrence LSI web server and provide fast recovery in the face of a crash

. Improving synchrony between Web software/tools with those supported by the ACS, used by LSI, and investigators within the LSI.

Spring Semester Plans

· Convene a focus group of LSI computer/media staff members to reflect and comment on the draft strategic plan and its improvement

· Complete the Computer and Media Services Survey: Phase II

· Distribute strategic plan draft for general comment

· Revise the strategic plan/recommendations

· Complete final recommendations for Steve Warren by April 15th

Web Accessibility and Kansas Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Steve Mills, LSI Director of Media Services

In October 2000, the Kansas Information Technology Executive Council released the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for the State of Kansas. These Guidelines are the effort of the Web Accessibility Subcommittee (WAS) of the Information Technology Advisory Board and establish standards by which all agencies, departments, and branches of Kansas state government are to publish Web sites that are accessible to all Web surfers regardless of disability. All Kansas state agencies are expected to implement these Guidelines in the design of their agency Web sites by March 2002.

Although overall use and availability of the Internet have continued to skyrocket, information resources on the World Wide Web are often structured to serve persons without physical or mental disabilities. According to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

Most Web pages do not allow for the eventuality that some Web surfers may not see, hear, move, or process some types of information, may have difficulty reading or comprehending text, may not have, or be able to use, a mouse or keyboard, may have a slow connection to the Internet, or may use older hardware or browser versions. People with disabilities, however, may have the most to gain from new technologies because computer technology and the Internet have the potential to enhance their lives and increase their independence. For example:

· Those who have difficulty leaving their homes can use the Internet to shop for almost anything, research health questions, participate in on-line discussions, and stay in constant contact with friends and family.

· People who are blind used to wait indefinitely for the information they needed to be made available in Braille or audiotape. Now they can obtain immediate access to the very same information and at the same time it is available to people who are sighted through the Internet.

· People who are unable to hold a pen or use a mouse or keyboard can use speech recognition software to accomplish the daily routines and tasks of life.

When a web site is accessible, anyone browsing the site should be able to gain a complete understanding of the information presented on the site as well as have an undiminished ability to interact with the site. Unfortunately, many experienced Web authors and designers are unaware of accessibility issues and, therefore, have little or no experience in designing Web pages that are usable by persons who cannot see the screen or use a mouse the same way they do.

The University of Kansas and the Life Span Institute have contributed to this statewide Web accessibility initiative through my participation, as well as that of Pam Cress, and Cole Robison of Academic Computing Services in the work of WAS to identify, develop, and implement these Guidelines. In an on-going effort to inform and train Web page authors and designers about accessibility, the WAS conducts monthly workshop to assist agency technical staff in developing accessible Web sites through explanations and demonstrations of the Guidelines. In recent months I have provided these workshops on behalf of WAS.

Recently, the WAS revised the Guidelines to incorporate Section 508 federal standards for Web-based intranet and Internet information and applications. For more information and resources about accessibility and to view the Kansas Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, see http://da.state.ks.us/itab/was/.

Jessica Black named KU Classified Employee of the Month

Jessica Black, office specialist with the Life Span Institute, was named by KU Classified Employee of the Month for November 2001 by Provost David Shulenberger. Her award was based on numerous endorsements from her supervisors and co-workers such as the one from, Paul Diedrich, Associate Director for Project Development:

It has been an extreme pleasure to work with and tutor her. Jessica is extremely mature for her age and possesses a keen intellect, picking up application processing issues quickly. She is efficient and well organized which are critical qualities to meeting the many deadlines that we face.

Jessica was awarded $750 and a gift certificate, and is eligible to be named employee of the year.

Originally a student employee with LSI, Jessica left to work in the private sector, but returned in May 2000. Shortly after she rejoined LSI, her role as back up for grant application submissions took on new dimensions.

As many of you know, Jessica rapidly took on the major role in grant submissions last year, working long difficult hours without complaint and never missing a deadline submitting 49 grants. By January 2001, she had assisted in the submission of more than 100 grants by 50 investigators to 26 agencies. If deadlines had not been met, LSI would have suffered major funding restrictions.

LSI is are so proud of you, Jessica!

New Center Names

The University Affiliated Program has settled on a new name: The Kansas University Center for Developmental Disabilities (KUCDD).

The Beach Center on Families and Disability is now the Beach Center on Disability to reflect its broadened research interests including disability policy, family-professional partnerships, family quality of life, health care, assistive technology, foster care and adoption, positive behavior support, and self-determination.

Administration News

Project Development

Paul Diedrich, Associate Director for Project Development

Past Submissions not Previously Reported

1. Kathy Thiemann submitted a new three-year proposal “Promoting Generalized Social Communication Outcomes for Children with Autism: Effects of a Multi-Component Intervention in Inclusive School and Home Settings” to the USDE/OSERS/OSEP competition CFDA# 84.324N - Initial Career Awards on November 9, 2001.

2. Tracy Hirata-Edds, sponsored by Mabel Rice and Akira Yamamoto, submitted a one-year “Minority Predoctoral Fellowship Program” proposal to NICHD on November 15, 2001.

3. Michael Wehmeyer submitted his third-year continuation “Making it More Than a Job: Promoting Career Development and Advancement Through Self-Determination” to USDE/OSERS/RSA on November 15, 2001.

Four applications were submitted to the USDE/OSERS/OSEP competition CFDA 84.324C - Field Initiated Research Projects on November 16, 2001:

4. Kathleen Baggett’s three-year proposal “Applying Dyadic-Focused Assessment to Support Parent-Infant Interaction”;

5. Kathy Thiemann and Debra Kamps’ three-year proposal “Promoting Generalized Social Communication Outcomes for Children with Autism: Effects of a Multi-Component Intervention in Inclusive School and Home Settings”;

6. Cheryl Utley, Lisa Bowman and Wayne Sailor’s five-year proposal “Positive Behavioral Supports as a Comprehensive, Proactive and School-Wide Intervention Program for Preventing Problem Behaviors, Referrals and Suspensions in Urban Elementary At-Risk Students and Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders”; and

7. Dale Walker and Deborah Linebarger’s five-year proposal “Promotion of Communication and Language Development with Infants and Young Children in Inclusive Community-Based Child Care”.

8. Steve Barlow and John Brandt, in collaboration with Rajesh Pahwa @ KU Medical Center and Kelly Lyons at the University of Miami, submitted a new five-year proposal “STN Deep Brain Stimulation and Parkinsonian Vocal Tract Dynamics” to NIDCD on November 20, 2001.

Upcoming Submissions

1. Donna Wickham and Matthew Reese will submit a new four-year proposal “Collaborative Teaming in Rural Areas for Low Incidence Populations: Use of Telemedicine” to USDE/OSERS/OSEP for their CFDA# 84.324M - Model Demonstration Projects for Children with Disabilities” via the KU Medical Center’s CDU on November 30, 2001.

2. Joseph Donnelly, Dennis Jacobsen, Matthew Adeyanju, Mary Hise and will submit their second-year non-competing continuation “Prevention of Obesity by Alteration of Dietary Fat” to NIDDK on December 1, 2001.

3. James Sherman and Richard Saunders, with Muriel Saunders, Nancy Brady, Irene Grote and Betty Hart will submit their eighteen-year non-competing continuation of the program project “Communication of People with Mental Retardation” to NICHD on December 1, 2001.

New Awards (not previously funded) Information

1. David Lindeman received a new nine-month award “Southeast Kansas Community Action Program” from the SEK-CAP which began October 1, 2001.

In addition, we still have seven proposals pending awards. Finally, there are approximately ten externally funded projects of the Energy Lab (PIs Joseph Donnelly and Dennis Jacobsen), which are in the process of being transferred to the LSI.

Research Design and Analysis Janet Marquis, Director, RD&A

Brown Bag Session - Introduction to Structural Equation Modeling

Research Design and Analysis will host a brown bag session Friday, December 7 at the KUMC Smith Center conference Room. A sandwich lunch will be served at 11:30.

Professor Tenko Raykov, an LSI Visiting Scientist this fall, will present the introduction to structural equation modeling (SEM). Structural equation modeling is a multivariate statistical technique for modeling the relations among a set of variables. It has been widely used in the social sciences in recent years and is now being used more frequently in the biological sciences.

Computer Applications Unit Davida Sears, Director, CAU

Anywhere access to Dolenet via any computer with an Internet connection!!

Gerald Hazen has upgraded the Dolenet file server in two ways. First, access is now allowed with the standard Internet IP protocol rather than using the proprietary Novell IPX protocol. Did that information make you yawn? It is actually quite a step forward, because it allows you to get to your local area network via the Internet.

The second upgrade allows you to attach to Dolenet without even using a Novell Netware client. This feature is called Native File Access. Together, these changes mean that you can access Dolenet from just about any Windows or Macintosh computer attached to the Internet without having to install special network client software. We believe that communication via IP is somewhat faster than with IPX and some machine resources are freed by not running the Netware client.

Imagine being on the road and discovering that “they” had all the information needed except for one document which you know is stored on the Shared drive on the Dolenet server. You get to an Internet computer, find Dolenet and log on so that you can download the file you need. Yes! Instructions for setting up and running are linked from the front page of the CAU web pages. http://www.lsi.ku.edu/cau/

Attention LSI Web Developers

KU ACS licenses the Alta Vista web engine for use on the campus. You can customize the interface so that it searches only your site making it fairly simple to include a search in your pages. However, be aware that the only way your pages will be found is if they are indexed by Alta Vista. In order for indexing to happen, you must either ask ACS (Julie Loats jloats@ku.edu) to include your URL specifically into the indexing parameters, or your pages must be linked to by some known site. One way is to ask Karen Henry to include a link to your site in the LSI pages. Another way is to ask to be linked to the main KU site so that you have an entry on their alphabetical list. Get more information at the ACS site at:

http://www.ku.edu/computing/

Scroll down to the Web Resources section, where you will see links to web resources documentation and instructions for getting linked to the main KU site.

Communications Karen Henry, Communications Coordinator

LSI website - Again, please check out the changes and content I've added to what I'm calling the interim LSI website beginning at http://www.lsi.ku.edu. As you can see, I'm linking in news stories about LSI people and projects. Please take a look at the short description of your Center at http://www.lsi.ku.edu/lsi/centers and the direct services page at:

http://www.lsi.ku.edu/lsi/Services. Please send changes to me at kahenry@ku.edu.

LSI faculty/staff directory online - Thanks to Darwin Eakins the LSI directory at http://www.lsi.ku.edu/lsi/Lsistaff/index.asp is now online and dynamic - it draws from the same faculty/staff database that is updated by the front office every time the user goes to that web page and includes name, title, room number, phone number, and email link. Coming very soon - the ability to search the directory online.

LSI brochure - The new brochures will be handed out at the LSI Investigator/Staff meeting next Friday. I'll also send 25 to each Center director. Let me know if you will need more.

Media relations - I plan to "pitch" LSI projects/accomplishments more directly to the media - in some cases to Topeka and Kansas City television, the consumer publications of professional organizations, the large health info web sites, and "digest" publications that are the source for Lexis/Nexis health/medical news. If you have suggestions or contacts, please let me know.

Also, a general reminder, when we send out a release, we are implying that we want media interest and when we get it, we need to accommodate their deadlines as much as possible. Thanks.

Human Resources Sherilyn LaDuke, Acting Assistant Director for Personnel Services

Unclassified and classified employees who have accrued a 2001 discretionary holiday must take that holiday no later than December 22, 2001, or it will be forfeited. Those eligible for the 2002 discretionary holiday can begin to report its use during the pay period that begins December 23, 2001 through January 5, 2002.

Comments and questions to: lifespan@ku.edu


The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).