The Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies (LSI) was created in 1990 out of the 67-year-old Kansas Bureau of Child Research. Today it is one of the largest and most highly regarded human development and disabilities research centers in the country. LSI brings together scientists of diverse disciplines including gerontololgy, psychology, psychiatry, speech pathology, sociology, education, biology, pharmacology, physiology and medicine to study human development from its genetic origins through the final stages of life. LSI supports basic and applied research, treatment and assessment clinics, service coordination and delivery, consultation, and training—notably, training of the next generation of scientists. Life Span Institute’s 12 centers and Peruvian affiliate have more than 150 programs and projects active at any one time in Kansas, as well as other states and Peru. Many projects directly serve individuals, families, and communities located in underserved Kansas City neighborhoods and rural Kansas counties.
The mission of the Life Span Institute is to find research-based solutions for the challenges of human and community development, disabilities and aging.
The Life Span Institute fosters a highly collaborative, enterprising environment for scientists, students and practitioners to conduct research on human and community development, disabilities, and aging.
Besides offering graduate and post-graduate training, the Life Span Institute trains direct care providers, professionals, families, and individuals on issues ranging from classroom instruction and behavior management to health promotion and self-advocacy.
Direct services, consultation and technical assistance
LSI investigators provide assessment and treatment services to individuals and families. They also develop strategies for school systems, longterm care residences and other community groups and agencies.
As leaders in the fields of human development, disabilities, and aging, LSI investigators participate in shaping public policy decisions and research priorities through community partnerships, public and private leadership forums and interdisciplinary research and publication.
The Life Span Institute central office is in the Dole Human Development Center at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Components of LSI in Lawrence are at the John T. Stewart Children’s Center and the Wakarusa Research Facility; in Kansas City at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Juniper Gardens Children's Project; and in Parsons, Kansas at the Life Span Institute.
Several projects are collaborations with universities and organizations from across the state, region and nation. LSI affiliate Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú is located in Limon Perú.
John Colombo became director of the Life Span Institute on September 29, 2008. Prior to becoming director, Colombo served as associate director for cognitive neuroscience at LSI, a position he continues to hold. He is also a professor of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Under Colombo’s leadership, Life Span Institute continues to expand its research and training activities in human development and developmental disabilities, with heightened attention to the treatment of autism through a multidisciplinary bi-campus center, the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training.