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KU has Dual Duties

Friday, October 3, 2003

University conducts pioneering research at Parsons State Hospital

From: The Parsons Sun, Centennial Celebration PSH&TC

For more than 40 years, the University of Kansas has maintained a dual program on the campus of Parsons State Hospital and Training Center. These programs include both a component of the Kansas Mental Retardation Research Center, funded by the National Institutes of Health; and the Kansas University Affiliated Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

Over the years, PSH&TC and Kansas UAP at Parsons have achieved international recognition for the pioneering work conducted by university faculty in those programs, in close collaboration with the PSH&TC staff. The first national project demonstrating that individuals with mental retardation could learn to cook, clean, meet their own grooming needs and live independently, was conducted by KU researchers at Parsons, in collaboration with the PSH&TC staff.

University researchers at Parsons also developed and disseminated the first procedures for reliably testing both hearing and vision of persons with mental retardation, whose hearing and vision impairments were typically neither diagnosed nor treated before these developments.

Similarly, Parsons has pioneered in the field of testing and treatment for disorders of speech, language and communication. This line of work has significantly enhanced the quality of life enjoyed by countless individuals with mental retardation who have been enabled to more effectively communicate their needs, preferences, interests and feelings to the important people in their lives as a result of this research.

Today, the Parsons research and teaching staff are focusing on many timely issues, including procedures for treating challenging and dangerous behaviors in persons with mental retardation; assistive technology supports that will enhance the ability of individuals to live more independently; causes and treatments of disruptive behavior disorders in school-aged children; family supports that will allow families and friends to support individuals with disabilities in their own homes, rather than in state funded facilities; and effective and cost-efficient procedures for delivering early prevention and intervention services to Kansas families who have infants and toddlers with potentially life-limiting disabilities

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