Making a significant and sustainable difference in quality of life


Supported Decision Making

Beach Center researchers are developing assessments and interventions to increase personal autonomy for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) through supported decision making.



The Beach Center focus on research for and about families worldwide whose members include individuals with disabilities. Our work has influenced policy, service and training to support not only families but also practitioners who serve families and their members with disabilities.

Family Employment Awareness Training

Family Employment Awareness Training

Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT) is designed for individuals with disabilities and their families to increase expectations for competitive employment and awareness of resources in Kansas supporting individuals with disabilities to be competitively employed.



Beach Center investigators are internationally-recognized leaders in research on and interventions to promote the self-determination of children, youth, and adults with (and without) disabilities. Research at the Beach Center has established causal evidence for the impact of promoting self-determination and self-determination status on better school and transition outcomes and more positive quality of life and life satisfaction. This work spans from early childhood to adolescence and adulthood and examines the importance of self-determination across multiple contexts (school, employment, independent living, health, etc.). The important role of parents and family members, professionals and children, youth, and adults with disabilities in achieving more positive self-determination outcomes is explored and supports for these stakeholders developed, evaluated, and disseminated.


Large-scale studies by Karrie Shogren and Michael Wehmeyer show that self-determination interventions are successful for students with disabilities. Read more!

Congratulations to Ann Turnbull as one of the recipients of The Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award for 2018. This award is for a DEC member who has made significant or international contributions to the field of early childhood special education.

A new program gives teachers innovative ways to increase students with disabilities' inclusion in general education classrooms. Read more about special educators, Jennifer Kurth and Mary Morningstar's, work on this program.

Exciting opportunity to participate in KU research about diet quality in teens with intellectual or developmental disabilities! Please share the flyer with colleagues and parents or caregivers of teens with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Contact eatstudy@ku.edu or 785-864-8830 for more information.

Upcoming Conferences

October 3, 2018 | 2018 Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disabilities & Technology, Broomfield, CO

November 8-10, 2018 | The Arc's 2018 National Convention, Nashville, TN

November 28-30, 2018 | 2018 TASH Conference, Portland, OR

January 16-18, 2019 | 20th International Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disability & Developmental Disabilities (CEC/DADD)

January 29-February 2, 2019 | CEC Annual Convention & Expo



Comprehensive, Integrated Three-Tiered (Ci3T) model of prevention is a data-informed, graduated systems of support constructed to address student's multiple needs in academic, behavioral, and social domains that can be designed to fit the needs of each school or academic unit.

Postive Behaviour

Kansas Institute for Positive Behavior Support

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a research-based, person-centered framework focused on decreasing problem behavior and increasing quality of life.

Transition coalition

Transition Coalition

The Transition Coalition maximizes professional development opportunities for educators of secondary transition and college and career readiness of youth with disabilities.

Beach Website Photo Graduation_TPE.png

Postsecondary Education (KU-TPE)

The University of Kansas Transition to Postsecondary Education (KU-TPE) is a federally-funded project to implement an inclusive college program at KU for young adults with intellectual disabilities who have completed high school and are 18-24 years old.