Jean Ann Summers

Research Centers - Life Span Institute
Research Professor
Associate Director, Beach Center on Disabilities Research Director, Research and Training Center on Independent Living
Primary office:
Dole Human Development Center
Room 4089
University of Kansas
1000 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045
Second office:
Haworth Hall
Room 3144

Dr. Summers is the Associate Director of the Beach Center on Disability, and Research Director of the Research and Training Center on Independent Living, both at the Life Span Institute at the University. She has conducted research, published results, and presented both nationally and internationally on a number of topics related to community living for people with disabilities, family support for families of children with disabilities, family-professional partnerships, family quality of life, and early childhood education. She was Director of the Kansas University Affiliated Program (now called University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities) from 1982 to 1989. She was a Research Associate Professor at the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project in Kansas City, Kansas, where she participated in a national longitudinal study of Early Head Start programs and in an evaluation of district-wide school

In addition to her administrative role in the Research and Training Center on Community Living, she is the Principal Investigator of one of the Center's projects, development of Health Promotion Tools for persons with physical disabilities. Additional current projects include: (1) Director of Project Success, a grant from the Kansas Department of Education to provide technical assistance to schools in improving reading and math instruction for students with disabilities in reading and math; (2) Principal Investigator of a grant from National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to investigate the impact of a training model to assist postsecondary students to request accommodations; and (3) Principal Investigator of a sub-contract from the University of Montana to investigate the factors contributing to resilience for people with physical disabilities in rural areas.


Ph.D., Special Education, University of Kansas

B.G.S, Human Development and Family Life, University of Kansas

Research Interests

  • Research in family theory and application of theory to intervention and family support
  • Curriculum design and training in families, family support, developmental disabilities, special education, and disability policy
  • Applied research and program evaluation in family and human services
  • Research on families with multiple challenges
  • Community living
  • Physical disabilities
  • Health promotion
  • Qualitative research methodology and integrated qualitative/quantitative research designs

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