Kansas: Life Span Institute, University of Kansas in Lawrence

June 18, 2007

Dr. Muriel Saunders (Assistant Research Professor in the Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas) and Dr. Richard Saunders (Senior Scientist, LSI at KU, and Training Advisor in the UCD), have a grant (2006-2009) from the Kansas Council on DD to explore the efficacy of a particular diet, and approach to dieting, to assist adults with DD in KS to lose weight and increase exercise. We also recently received a grant from Special Olympics (2007-2008) to follow 450 special athletes attending games in North and South America who will receive advice on hearing, vision, and oral health at Healthy Athletes screenings at major Special Olympics events this summer. Dr. Saunders is also the coordinator of a grant from the REACH foundation in the Kansas City area (awarded to a local service delivery agency from 2005-2007) to conduct oral health screenings of adults with DD and to refer and pay for assessments from local dentists and to help defray costs of emergency and essential dental work.

Faculty and staff also recently participated in an application, via the Research and Training Center on Independent Living in the Lifespan Institute and our State Department of Health and Environment, to the CDCs, to fund nutrition and weight-loss promotion to persons with physical, intellectual, and other disabilities statewide from 2007-2012. Current awards follow recent pilot research (funded by the University of Kansas and a local DD service agency) to address ergonomic and positioning issues for adults in sheltered workshops and also dietary intake of adults living in group homes. Additional grants to NIDDK and other agencies are in preparation.

Our other funded work is from NICHD (2007-2012) to research innovative approaches to establishing effective and functional communication by infants, children, and adults at risk for, or with, the most severe multiple impairments. This work is in collaboration with the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington.