Our Mission

Committed to optimizing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families through research, training, technical assistance and public service.

Information about Parsons

The Life Span Institute at Parsons has a long history of enhancing the quality of life enjoyed by individuals with disabilities and their families, and the future promises to be even better. In 1958, the University of Kansas, Bureau of Child Research, established the University presence in Parsons on the campus of the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center (PSH&TC). The LSI at Parsons is one of 13 centers of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies at the University of Kansas.

Work orginating at Parsons is based in the philosophy that research, training, technical assistance and services should be conducted in accordance with policies and practices that provide and support accessible and fully inclusive, comunity-based practices that facilitate the indepencence and capacity of exercising choices and options by individuals with disabilities and their families.

Parsons' historic background includes:

  • The first national project demonstrating that individuals with intellectual disabilities could learn to cook, clean, meet their own grooming needs and live independently.
  • University researchers developed and disseminated the first procedures for reliably testing both hearing and vision of persons with intellectual disabilities, whose hearing and vision impairments were typically neither diagnosed nor treated before these developments.
  • Parsons' researchers pioneered the field of testing and treatment for disorders of speech, language and communication.
FY 2017 Funding: University/State investment of $1 returns $6.13 in grants and contracts with total funding at $3,722,355 in State/Federal Grants/Contracts.

The physical location of the Parsons LSI site in southeast Kansas benefits the entire region and its economic base.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today