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April 2003

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

Karen Henry, editor

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

LSI web site:



Institute for Child Development to be disaggregated May 1

KUCDD issues subgrants to develop model personal assistance programs for people with developmental disabilities

New Approaches

Life Span in the news



Administration News & Announcements

Research, Design & Analysis LISREL Workshop; First RDA Summer Institute on Structural Equation Modeling

Project Development April update

Institute for Child Development to be disaggregated May 1

Note: This article is reprinted from This Week at the ICD and Neighborhood, Monday Morning Message, by ICD Director Travis Thompson

The Institute for Child Development, which has involved collaboration among the Developmental Disabilities Center (DDC) clinical and training program, the Smith Mental Retardation Research Center and the Center for Reproductive Sciences will be disaggregated effective May 1st in an effort to consolidate the School of Medicine’s strongest programs and conserve resources. The DDC has grown and prospered over the past several years and will continue its enhanced clinical and training operations under the direction of Chet Johnson, M.D. The MRRC under the able leadership of Peter Smith, Ph.D. and the CRS, directed by Paul Terranova, Ph.D. will continue to prosper and expand their respective research programs.

Travis Thompson, Ph.D., Smith Professor of Psychiatry who has served as Director of the Institute for Child Development will become the Director of Research in the Dept. of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. He will work with Dr. William Gabrielli, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry to develop an integrated clinical and research program in neuropsychiatric disorders of developmental disabilities. Dr. Gabrielli has indicated he welcomes this opportunity to strengthen the department’s research programs and to develop collaborative relationships with other units.

KUCDD awards subgrants to develop model personal assistance programs for people with developmental disabilities

The University of Kansas Center on Developmental Disabilities and the Kansas Association of Centers for Independent Living received a Real Choice Systems Change Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Life Span Associate Scientist, Sara Sack, directs the project with assistance from Life Span Program Assistant Shelia Simmons.

The purpose of the Kansas Personal Assistance and Supports Services (K-PASS) grant is to work on improving methods for self-direction of personal assistance services by people with developmental disabilities.

The K-PASS staff and advisory board awarded three subgrants to develop model programs for people with developmental disabilities to direct their personal assistance services. The grantees are the Occupational Center of Central Kansas in Salina, TARC in Topeka and The Independent Living Center Of Southwest Kansas.

The grantees will work with people with developmental disabilities and their families to identify barriers to people directing their own services and how model programs could operate.

New Approaches

RTC/IL holds first Webcast

Dot Nary, RTCIL Training Director

On March 26, the Research and Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) inaugurated a new method of disseminating research information to the field by conducting a “webcast.” This event featured an interview with researchers that was broadcast in both audio and text over the Internet. Interested participants across the nation logged on to the webcast site to hear (or read a text transcript of) the interview and to submit questions to a discussion board that was maintained during and after the event. A transcript of the session, in both audio and text formats, remains on the website ( as a permanent product. Also on the website are research materials related to the topic as well as links for related web sites. In keeping with the RTC/IL’s focus on independent living for people with disabilities, Training Director Dot Nary interviewed several people involved with a research project based at KUMC focused on Reducing Environmental Barriers to Independent Living for Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities. Tana Brown, Principal Investigator; Melisa Remper, researcher; and Elizabeth Shiels, project staff member; discussed the goals and methods of the project, and their emphasis on Participatory Action Research or PAR, which emphasizes the importance of including consumers in their work.

Editor’s Note: KU Continuing Education provided production services for the webcast.

Life Span Institute in the News

Liliana Mayo, director of the Life Span affiliate Centro Ann Sullivan del Per?, was featured on the BBC World Service’s Health Matters on April 28. The 19–minute in depth interview with Dr. Mayo, who will be awarded KU’s highest honor May 16 (see Honors below), got to the kernel of her success with preparing children with developmental disabilities to work and participate fully in society. Mayo describes her deep respect for her pupils and real–world integration of the research-based curriculum and practices grounded in her training at KU. The broadcast is at:

The University Daily Kansan compared how two couples survived the anxiety and loneliness of wartime separation, a present–day couple, and the other, our own founding director, Dick Schiefelbusch, and his wife Ruth, during the Second World War. The UDK recounts the wartime romance of Dick and Ruth and their two–year separation when Dick was a POW or “Kriegie” in Stalag Luft III in what is now Poland. The stories are at: and


Mayo to receive KU’s Top Honor

Liliana Mayo, director and founder of Life Span international affiliate, Centro Ann Sullivan del Per?, will receive the university’s top honor on May 16 during this year’s commencement events. The Distinguished Service Citation, which is bestowed on those who have become leaders in their professions and communities, is the highest honor given by KU and the Kansas Alumni Association. Since 1941, it has been presented to men and women whose lives and careers have benefited humanity.

Mayo pioneered the education and employment of people with autism and other developmental disabilities in Peru by starting a school in the garage of her home in Lima in 1979. But she wanted more for the families and children who came to her school. "I wanted them to benefit from the state of the art disabilities research and education at the University of Kansas," she said.

In 1985, she began an arduous but exhilarating 11-year journey to her Ph.D. and literally between Lima and Lawrence, attending KU in the spring semesters and applying what she learned at the Center during the rest of the year. Meanwhile, the Center grew and more and more of her colleagues from KU made the pilgrimage to Lima to both teach and learn.

Today the Centro Ann Sullivan del Per? (CASP) serves 350 children and adults through 21 different clinical, professional and parent programs and serves as a model for programs in Per? and in eight other countries. A steady stream of her KU colleagues – close to 300 – who have volunteered as consultants, trainers, administrators and fundraisers has supported Mayo, notably, Judith Le Blanc, who serves as CASP research director, and former Life Span Director Stephen Schroeder and Carolyn Schroeder.

Mayo teaches at the University Cayetano Heredia and the Catholic Pontificate University in Lima. Since 1996 she has been an honorary associate professor in KU’s Department of Human Development and Family Life.

The November 28, 2002 New York Times featured CASP on its special issue on charitable giving. For her dedication to community health issues, Mayo has received the Peruvian Professional Excellence award, the Cuban Medal of Honor and the Queen Sofia of Spain International Award.

Hummert inducted into KU Women’s Hall of Fame

Gerontology researcher Mary Lee Hummert, who has served as interim vice provost for student support since last June, was inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame on April 12. Full story at:

Warren named to NIH Scientific Advisor Board Post

LSI Director Steven Warren was appointed to the NIH Scientific Advisory Board for the NICHD/NIDCD Network on the Neurobiology And Genetics Of Autism: Collaborative Programs Of Excellence In Autism (CPEA) Network.

McKerchar takes top prize at ASPET competition

Todd McKerchar, research assistant with the LSI’s Biobehavioral Measurement Core, was awarded the first place prize for his graduate student paper, Operant microcatalepsy in naïve and haloperidol-experienced rats: comparison of haloperidol and risperidone, from the Division for Behavioral Pharmacology of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.


Nancy Brady, Life Span Associate Research Professor, presented Communication Repair Strategies by Young Children with Developmental Disabilities at the 36th Gatlinburg Conference on Research and Theory in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, March 20-22, 2003. This presentation is available online at:


The Bradley Psychiatric Hospital for Children and Adolescents in Providence, Rhode Island, will be using the Merrill Center for Advanced Studies’ online fact sheet on Specific Language Impairment (SLI) for training their clinical care staff. The fact sheet is one of several In the Know website articles that give accurate information about disabilities, aging, and human development to the general reader.

Webmaster Joy Simpson draws on Merrill Center conference topics and interviews with Life Span investigators and other experts to develop content for In the Know.

Google and other search engines regularly direct visitors to the In the Know website, which averages 1,100 “hits” per month. Web visitors from as far away as Uganda, Nepal, and the Philippines have contacted Simpson, who developed the site.

The SLI fact sheet, based on the research of Merrill Director Mabel Rice, is one of the few authoritative sources on specific language impairment on the web. The SLI fact sheet is at:

Administration News

Research Design & Analysis

Todd Little, Director, Research Design & Analysis

LISREL Workshop

On Friday, May 9th, Gerhard Mels will conduct a workshop on using the LISREL software package’s recent user-friendly enhancements. The RDA is encouraging all SEM users to attend this workshop because these new enhancements coupled with the significant power of the LISREL program make it a leading software package for SEM users. Also note that the RDA unit supports the LISREL package.

Gerhard Mels is senior programmer at Scientific Software International, the publishers of the LISREL software package. At SSI, among other things, he is responsible for LISREL technical support, solving user’s queries on a daily basis. He has contributed to LISREL interface and program development as well as to its documentation. His Ph.D. is in statistics specializing in the analysis of correlation structures. He has taught numerous LISREL workshops and brings to this workshop an intimate knowledge of the LISREL program.

Space is limited so please contact Kandace Fleming at to reserve a space.

First Annual RDA Summer Institute on Structural Equation Modeling

Early registration ends May 30

The RDA unit will conduct a weeklong summer institute on Structural Equation Modeling: Foundations & Extended Applications, August 4-8, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Lawrence.

Todd Little, RDA director, and James Bovaird, RDA research associate, will teach the basics of SEM up through longitudinal and multiple-group SEM. The RDA team will provide hands-on practice with the SEM software package LISREL. The cost to attend the summer institute is $1200 until May 30, after which the cost becomes $1500. There are a limited number of 50 percent fee-waivers available with proof of graduate student or post-doctoral status. For more information and to reserve a spot go to:

Project Development

Paul Diedrich, Associate Director for Project Development

Past Submissions not previously reported

1. Steve Warren and Judy Carta submitted their third–year, non-competing continuation “Predicting and Preventing Neglect in Teen Mothers” via John Borkowski, PI at the University of Notre Dame (prime contractor), to NICHD on April 1, 2003.

2. Matthew Stowe submitted a new, one–year proposal “Connections between Policy and Scientific Knowledge on the Co-morbidity of Poverty and Disability” to the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center on April 15, 2003.

3. Holly Storkel submitted a new, three–year RO3 proposal “The Mental Lexicon of Children with Phonological Delays” to NIDCD on April 22, 2003.

4. Rachel Freeman, Wayne Sailor and Michael Roberts submitted a new, four–year proposal “A Controlled Study of a Multicomponent, Systems-Level Intervention to Promote Social and Character Development” to DE–IES on April 25, 2003.

5. Lisa Bowman submitted her third–year, grant performance report, “Project Las Estrellas” to DE/OELA on April 30, 2003.

6. Susan Jack submitted her second–year, continuation proposal “Southeast Kansas Community Action Program (SEK-CAP): Head Start Training Project” to SEK–CAP, Inc. on April 30, 2003.

7. Michael Wehmeyer, David Lindeman and Travis Thompson, submitted the thirty–second year, continuation “Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities” to HHS/ACF/ADD on April 30, 2003.

Upcoming Submissions

1. Joe Donnelly, Dennis Jacobsen, Leon Greene, Ric Washburn, Debra Sullivan, Cheryl Gibson, and Matt Mayo will submit their second–year, non–competing continuation “Prevention of Obesity in Children with PAAC” to NIDDK on May 1, 2003.

2. Mabel Rice, in collaboration with Steve Zubrick and Catherine Taylor at Curtin University, Australia, will submit their second–year, non-competing continuation “Twins and Singletons with Specific Language Impairment” to NIDCD on May 1, 2003.

3. Steven Warren and Peter Smith, in conjunction with Charles Greenwood, Elias Michaelis and numerous other contributors, will submit their thirty–seventh year, non–competing continuation “Kansas Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities Research Center” to NICHD on May 1, 2003.

4. Joe Donnelly will submit a new, one–year proposal “Training Health Care Providers in Prevention and Treatment of Obesity in Children” to the Sunflower Foundation on May 1, 2003.

5. David Lindeman will submit his fifteenth–year, continuation “KITS: Statewide Inservice and Technical Assistance System” to the Kansas State Department of Education on May 2, 2003.

6. Sara Sack will submit her third–year grant performance report “Reusing AT/DME Acquired Through Public Funds: Developing a Cost-Neutral, Consumer Driven Model” to DE/OSERS/NIDRR on May 5, 2003.

New Awards (not previously funded) Information

1. Wayne Sailor and Cheryl Utley received a new, one–year award “Parent Information and Resource Center” from the Kansas Alliance of Black School Educators that began October 1, 2002.

2. Sara Sack received a new, sixteen–month award “Equipment Exchange Increasing Access to Durable Medical Equipment” from the KsSRS that began March 1, 2003.

3. Steve Mills received a new, one–year award “Technology Rich Classroom Grant – Holton USD 336” from the Holton USD 336 that will begin July 1, 2003.

Comments and questions to:

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