Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities


Students learning to use the SDMLI tool in the classroom at Free State High School

KU-Lawrence School Partnership Helps Students ‘Self-Determine’ Ways to Improve Learning

When Free State High School mathematics teacher Annette McDonald first learned about a possible way to improve learning by letting students make decisions as part of the process, she was skeptical. After all, the curriculum was set, and students couldn’t just decide what they would learn. 

But a developing partnership with University of Kansas researchers led to a revolution in how her students could learn by giving them a choice in their goals and a structure for evaluating their progress as they worked toward achieving those goals. In three years, the collaboration between Free State High School and researchers at the KU Center on Developmental Disabilities has grown to include more than 20 teachers at the school and hundreds of students with and without disabilities...

Quick Links

To keep the community informed about our work, we have published the Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report, which you can download (PDF).

Watch the KUCDD-CAP (Consumer Advisory Panel) advise KUMC Medical Student, Emily Worley, about what health care professionals need to know when working with people with developmental disabilities:

Learn more about this video's highlights: Good Communication for Good Health: Guidance for Health Care Professionals From People with Developmental Disabilities.

KUCDD staff are working to develop resources that may help support you during this period of uncertainty. To view our latest resources with tips for enhancing self-determination, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.

KU Special Education is currently accepting applications for doctoral students for the KU LEAP program for Fall 2021. KU LEAP involves a competitive funding package, and learning with some of the best scholars in the areas of severe disabilities. Apply today to the KU SPED doctoral program. 



Researchers land $3.3M grant to test combined interventions for students with autism spectrum disorder

University of Kansas researchers, in collaboration with the University of North Carolina, have secured a new grant to test the combination of two interventions designed to help students with autism spectrum disorder boost educational achievement and improve their transition to life after school.

Karrie Shogren, director of the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities, is the principal investigator on a five-year, $3.3 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences. The project will combine the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction, known as SDLMI, and Peer Supports, two interventions that have proven successful in enabling students with disabilities to excel in high school and the transition to adulthood. The combination of the two interventions has never been tested with students with autism spectrum disorders. The project will work with students at high schools in Kansas and North Carolina...

Program Helps KU Prepare Students with Intellectual Disability to Thrive Among Peers

When COVID-19 prompted the closure of the University of Kansas campus, Dana Lattin had faith that students in KU Transition to Postsecondary Education, or TPE, could adapt to their new online experiences

"That’s because TPE is based on developing problem solving, creativity, and resiliency," she said. Established with a five-year grant to the KU Life Span Institute in 2015, TPE offers students with intellectual disability a combination of academic, career development and student life experiences that builds their community participation and prepares them for employment... 

Researchers Honored for Research Transforming the Field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Four University of Kansas researchers join three former presidents and four former senators of the United States as honorees among 87 recognized for transforming the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities during the past 20 years in the United States. 

The honors, compiled in the National Honors Recognizing Significant Contributions in the Field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in the U.S. Between 2000 and 2020, include essays highlighting trends in the field. A consortium of intellectual disability organizations collaborated on the report, which comes 20 years after the group’s first report looking back on 20th century achievements in the field. 

KU Wins Grants to Develop National Trainings for Supported Decision Making for Individuals with Disabilities

University of Kansas researchers have secured three grants to advance understanding of how to support people with disabilities to participate in the most important decisions about their lives.

The grants will support research, in partnership with community stakeholders, on supported decision-making in Kansas, including the development of future training sessions for people with disabilities, family members and other supporters. Those sessions will then be developed for national use. Community partners on the grants include the Self-Advocate Coalition of Kansas, the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities, Families Together, the Disability Rights Center of Kansas and the Kansas Association for Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities...