RTC/IL News Spring 2020

KU The University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living




For our partners, advisors, and stakeholders.



In this Edition:  

Greetings from the Director

jean hallHello from the Research and Training Center on Independent Living! I hope this newsletter finds you well and managing with social distancing. The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that people with disabilities have long been disproportionately affected when resources are limited, making information about emergency preparedness, access, and inclusion particularly relevant. We invite you to review the emergency preparedness resources on the Research and Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) website, follow RTC/IL on Facebook, and follow RTC/IL on Twitter, where you will find a wealth of additional information you can use to stay independent and engaged.

Throughout the pandemic and recovery, we will continue our work to promote the independence and community participation of people with disabilities. In this newsletter, you will find updates on our ongoing projects, such as the second PICL efficacy study and our consumer fact sheets, and information about developing projects, such as the the pending release of the 9th edition of our media guide.

All the best,

Jean P. Hall, Director
Research and Training Center on Independent Living

Home Usability Program and Out and About Program Create Real Change in Consumers’ Lives

The Home Usability and Out and About programs continue to empower participants to have more energy at home and to be more active in their communities. Working with staff at Centers for Independent Living (CILs), consumers identify home usability and community participation goals and develop and complete a plan for achieving them. Consumer accomplishments include:

  • Installing a ceiling fan to improve air circulation in the home of a person with chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD)
  • Getting a driver’s license
  • Leveling a garage floor to enable access to and from the motor vehicle of a power chair user
  • Installing a ramp to and from the bedroom of a wheelchair user’s house

More information on these programs will be available as the research progresses.

RTC/IL Participates in Lifespan Institute Professional Development

kelsey talking about her poster to someone who isn't in the frameThe KU Lifespan Institute hosted a retreat for its constituent centers on January 12, 2020. The KU Lifespan Institute Collaboratory included five-minute research presentations, breakout sessions on time management, communication skills for researchers, and commercialization of research products, and a poster session.

Three RTC/IL researchers, Kelsey Shinnick Goddard, Lyndsie Koon, and Jay Schultz presented posters at the Collaboratory. Shinnick Goddard presented “Assessing Center for Independent Living (CIL) Staff and Consumer Perceptions of Information and Referral Service Needs,” which examined survey data collected by the PICL project. Koon and Schulz presented “Understanding Successful Transition to Independent Living: A Qualitative Study for Youth with Disability,” which summarized the experiences and advice of youth with disability who had transitioned to new housing arrangements and a life of greater independence. Findings presented in both posters are also being submitted for publication.

The Lifespan Institute also hosted “Improving/Improvising: A workshop for KU faculty on communicating research to the public” on February 20 and 21. The workshop, which was led by Krista Hoffman-Longtin and Jason Organ of the University of Indiana, used principles of improvisational theater to encourage participants to consider lay audiences more carefully when speaking and writing about their research.

"‘Conducting science’ and the ‘science of communication’ are two different skill sets that researchers must hone,” Kelsey Shinnick Goddard, RTC/IL Researcher, said of her participation in the workshop. “When presenting research, scientists must attend to the needs of the audience by using storytelling to capture, clarity to convey, and emotion to influence.”

Kelsey Shinnick Goddard and Jay Schulz Honored

portraits of Kelsey and jayKelsey Shinnick Goddard, Research Project Coordinator, and Jay Schulz, Research Assistant, were recently honored with two major national awards.

Shinnick Goddard received the Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability from the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD)

Schulz received the Health and Disability Fellowship from the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Learn more about the Health and Disability fellowship at NAACHO

Lyndsie Koon Completes Course in Adaptive Training

lyndsie koonLyndsie Koon, Associate Director of the RTC/IL, recently completed the course “Adaptive Functional Training,” which was presented by the Adaptive Training Academy in Cleveland, Ohio. The course taught methods of making Crossfit workouts inclusive and accessible. It will inform Koon’s research into Crossfit’s effectiveness as an exercise program for people with disabilities.

Lyndsie Koon Completes Mentoring Circles for Disability Inclusion

Lyndsie Koon, Associate Director of the RTC/IL, joined the second KU Mentoring Circles for Disability Inclusion in 2019-2020. The Mentoring Circles included weekly classes on proactive approaches to disability inclusion, the history of disability in the United States, and U.S. disability policy. Participants discussed course topics as a class and in small groups and identified accessibility problems on KU’s campus in short practicums. The Mentoring Circles culminated in a capstone project; Koon’s project addressed the accessibility and usability of KU’s student and staff fitness centers. 

Dot Nary Featured in Lifespan Institute Blog

Dot Nary, Assistant Research Professor at RTC/IL, recently shared her experiences in a Lifespan Institute blog post titled, “Wheelchair users face barriers to access, damaged equipment when travelling." In addition to highlighting airlines’ failure to serve passengers with disabilities, the blog post brought attention to the RTC/IL’s fact sheets on air travel, which RTC/IL staff authored. 

Know Your Rights

The Research and Training Center on Promoting Interventions for Community Living (PICL) has created a series of fact sheets on disability legislation. Each fact sheet describes how the law supports the rights of people with disabilities and how it can be used to support community living and participation. Also included in each fact sheet is a two-part story of how a disabled person faced a barrier and used knowledge of their rights under the law to deal with the barrier. The latest fact sheets feature the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 and the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986. The fact sheets, along with eight others in the series, can be found at The fact sheets, along with eight others in the series, can be found at the RTC/PICL knowledge translation page.

Judy Heumann is Coming to Town

the cover of being heumann, an unrepentant memoir of a disability rights activist by judith heumann with kristen joiner. a portrait of the author in repose. She uses a wheelchair. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the KU ADA Resource Center for Equity and Accessibility will sponsor a two-day campus visit by disability rights leader Judy Heumann from October 28-29, 2020. Several events on and off campus will feature opportunities to hear Judy speak about her experiences organizing a demonstration to promote issuance of Rehabilitation Act regulations, influencing legislation for students with disabilities in the Department of Education, and supporting disability rights internationally as an official in the Department of State. One event will feature a book signing for Judy’s recently published autobiography, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist. A schedule of events will be posted at Accessible KU as plans for the visit develop:  

9th Edition of RTC/IL Media Guidelines Due for July 26 Release

the 8.5X11" flyer of guidelinesSince 1984, RTC/IL has published and distributed over a million copies of “Guidelines: How to Write and Report about People with Disabilities.” The 9th edition, which will feature revised definitions and examples of both “person first” and “identity” language people can use when writing and speaking about disability, will be available on July 26, 2020, the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act. The RTC/IL will offer the publication in three print formats—a pamphlet, an 8.5 X 11” flyer, and an 18 X 24” poster. The guidelines will also be available at rtcil.org. To receive a copy, contact sethcoul@ku.edu.


The contents of this newsletter were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RT5043). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These contents do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.