Beach Center on Disability

Address: 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, University of Kansas - Haworth Hall, Room 3136
Lawrence, KS 66045
Phone: (785) 864-7600 Fax: (785) 8647605 Email: Website:

The Beach Center on Disability is a multi-disciplinary research and training center committed to making a significant and sustainable positive difference in the quality of life of individuals and families affected by disability and the professionals who support them. Its staff of approximately 40 professors,researchers, educators, doctoral students, and support personnel carry out research, technical assistance, and undergraduate, masters, and doctoral training. Its staff focuses on families, family quality of life, and family support; public policy in special education and disability services; school reform, with emphasis on  inclusion of students with and without disabilities in general education; conceptualizingself-determination and its application to people with disabilities; conceptualizing and defining intellectual disability; defining and measuring supports and support needs; technology use by people with cognitive disability; and positive behavioral supports and services. The Center also provides professional development to Kansas educators and families, including technical assistance for learners who are deaf-blind, and support to Kansas districts to improve school performance in reading, math, and services for students in the least restrictive environment.” The Center is affiliated with the Department of Special Education and the Schiefelbusch Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas. It is funded by the University of Kansas, the Kansas University Endowment Association, and federal and state agencies. Its staff has carried out their work in more than 29 countries and throughout all of Kansas and the United States.

Context of Mission Statement

We are a permanent unit of The University of Kansas, a major international center for research and other scholarship, teaching and learning, and service to the citizens of Kansas, the United States of America, and people throughout the world. We are affiliated with two units within the University, namely, The Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies and the School of Education’s Department of Special Education.

General Description of Research, Related Activities, and Research Approach

Since our founding in 1988, we have (a) conducted research, (b) carried out training and technical assistance, and (c) provided international, national, state, regional, and local service. We have carried out these three activities in collaboration with families who have members with disabilities, individuals with disabilities, the professionals and policy leaders who serve families and individuals, and members of the communities in which the families and individuals live, all to enhance the quality of life of families and individuals affected by disability.

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