Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little paid the Life Span Institute at Parsons a visit on October 23. While her visit was brief, every minute was packed with interaction and information about the many and varied projects, grants and programs that make up the Parsons Research Center and the Kansas University Center on Disabilities at Parsons. David Lindeman, director of the LSI at Parsons, welcomed Senator Dwayne Umbarger and introduced Chancellor Gray-Little to the staff and visitors in attendance.
Drs. Kate Saunders and Dean Williams welcomed the Chancellor by meeting her at the airport. During the trip to town, they described their research. The morning’s program opened with remarks from John Colombo, Director of the University of Kansas Life Span Institute explaining the LSI at Parsons in the context of the LSI and the University. Dr. Lindeman presented an overview of the KU Parsons Program, outlining the history, funding, collaborations and overview of projects. Dr. Mike Dixon and Teresa Parker, Parsons State Hospital and Training Center (PSH&TC) briefly addressed the history and current services provided by PSH&TC as well as current research and collaborations with the University. The Chancellor walked through the Media/UCDD Building and learned about the wide-reaching use of the Early Childhood Resource Center from Dr. Lindeman and Kim Page, coordinator.
Community Services explanations began with Allen Crim describing his work involving crisis intervention through the CRSS; Diane Salyers talked about the family services provided by the Southeast Kansas Respite Care program and the Payee Program. Other projects discussed were Telehealth – Autism and the new Epilepsy Telehealth. Training Projects were next with Dr. Lindeman talking about the extensive Early Childhood programs including the Kansas Inservice Training System (KITS) as well as partner projects, Birth to Three and the Alzheimers Breakfast Clubs program. Dr. Kathy Olson described the staff training program, College of Direct Support.
Dr. Sara Sack, director of the Assistive Technology for Kansans program, and Sheila Simmons, ATK coordinator, welcomed Chancellor Gray-Little to the ATK Tech Center and outlined the impact the ATK programs have statewide. Dr. Dean Williams and Dr. Kate Saunders led a walk-through their research labs. Dr. Katie Hine described the successes of the Foster Care Treatment Project. Dr. Richard Saunders and Dr. Muriel Saunders talked about their research projects involving Communication and Weight Loss. Approximately two hours later, having given the Chancellor a warm welcome and a sincere “come visit us again,” the Chancellor and her party departed.