UC Riverside

Jan Blacher

Jan Blacher

Helping Families with Autism

Professor of Education, Jan Blacher, saw a void and did something about it. Nationally known for her research on mental retardation and other developmental disabilities, Blacher founded SEARCH (Support, Education, Advocacy, Resources, Community and Hope), a resource center to assist families of children with autism.

Although other UC campuses and universities are focusing on the cause and cure of autism, no one was focusing on the parents — SEARCH is the first UC center to serve families struggling with autism, spectrum disorder and Asperger's Syndrome.

With one out of every 100 children diagnosed with autism in the United States, it is more prevalent than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined.

According to the Department of Developmental Services, the number of students with autism enrolled in grades K-12 in California schools has increased more than 1,000 percent during the past 22 years, jumping 183 percent between 2001 and 2007.

Blacher understands that raising kids these days is tough and that autism is complex. She believes that accessing services shouldn't add to the burden — many families are overwhelmed at the number of service agencies they have to deal with.

That's why the center works with K-12 school districts, regional centers, the Riverside County Office of Education, and other agencies and institutions to help families find appropriate services — information on proper diagnosis and treatment; access to educational, medical, social support and legal services, education on the disorder and on selecting evidence-based intervention options.

In 2009, Blacher was named co-chair of the Inland Empire Autism Regional Taskforce (IEART) which provides recommendations to California Senate Select Committee. The mission of IEART is closely aligned with the goals of SEARCH, focusing on the issues related to persons and their families affected by autism and related disorders.

View Blacher’s Living the Promise profile.

View Blacher’s UCR profile.

Read Professor Jan Blacher on autism and intervention.

 Read more about Blacher being named as co-chair of IEART.


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