Free Documentary Screening, Panel Discussion to Focus on Autism

SEARCH, a family autism resource center at UC Riverside, is hosting the screening of award-winning documentary by alumnus of university

Jan Blacher standing with arms crossed

Jan Blacher, founding director of SEARCH Family Autism Resource Center.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (—SEARCH, a family autism resource center at the University of California, Riverside is sponsoring a free screening Oct. 9 of an award-winning documentary about autism that was directed by an alumnus of the university.

“Autistic-Like: Graham’s Story” will be screened at 3 p.m. Oct. 9 at UC Riverside’s Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts, 3834 Main St., in downtown Riverside.

The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Erik Linthorst, the director of the film; and Jennie Linthorst, his wife who is also featured in the film. Well-known professionals in the field will serve on a panel reacting to the film, and also take audience questions. Panelists include Elizabeth Laugeson, director of The Help Group—UCLA Autism Research Alliance; and Doreen Granpeesheh, founder of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc., (CARD), the world’s largest and most experienced organization effectively treating children with autism, with state-of-the-art-therapy.

Jan Blacher, a professor and founding director of the SEARCH (Support Education, Advocacy, Resources, Community, Hope) center at UC Riverside, will moderate the event.

“There are so many ambiguous aspects to autism,” said Blacher, a professor in the Graduate School of Education. “I thought this was a perfect opportunity to talk about that.”

Erik Linthorst, director of “Autistic-Like: Graham’s Story” and a UC Riverside alumnna

Linthorst, who graduated from UC Riverside in 1994 with a degree in English, is a documentary filmmaker and screenwriter. His films have screened at dozens of film festivals including Sundance, Edinburgh, Austin, Fantasia, Toronto After Dark, Palm Beach International and Nashville. In the spring, the first feature film he wrote, “High School,” which stars Adrien Brody and Michael Chicklis, will be coming to theaters.

He directed and produced “Autistic-Like: Graham’s Story,” which has aired on PBS. The 58-minute documentary is an intimate family portrait showing Linthorst’s quest to find the right therapies, right doctors and, even, right words to describe his son, Graham. It illuminates the medical, social and public health issues faced by families whose autistic-like children have no clear diagnosis.

The film has been featured on Good Morning America Health. It was awarded Best Documentary Short at the Brilliant Light Film Festival. It was a finalist for the 2009 Freddie Award for Outstanding Medical and Health Reporting, and has been an official selection at nine U.S. film festivals, including the Palm Beach International Film Festival.

For more information about the documentary, to view the trailer or buy a DVD copy of it visit:

For more information about the screening or to reserve a seat, contact Deidre Stowell at or (951) 827-1493. Seating is limited. Reservations are required. Parking is free and readily available in downtown Riverside.

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