UCR Experts Available to Speak About Autism Spectrum Disorder

April is National Autism Awareness Month

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Autism prevalence is now one in every 68 children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, National Autism Awareness Month is held in April to promote awareness and support individuals living with autism. These scholars at the University of California, Riverside are available to discuss educational interventions for children with autism and the importance of early diagnosis and treatments for best outcomes.

An image of UCR's Bell Tower lit in blue light.

Since 2012, UCR’s Bell Tower has been lit blue in April in recognition of Autism Awareness Month. Photo by Ross French

Jan Blacher

(951) 827-3875

Jan Blacher, Ph.D., is a distinguished professor in UCR’s Graduate School of Education and director of the SEARCH Family Autism Resource Center. Blacher is available to speak about the right to appropriate educational placements for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), methods of determining whether a child falls on the autism spectrum and why we need to proactively screen children of monolingual and bilingual Spanish speaking families, and why parents, schools and professionals need to be aware of the double whammy in autism – the very high rate of behavioral and mental health disorders.

“It is no longer a question of whether public school teachers will see children with ASD in their regular education classes, but a question of when.  Furthermore, they need to realize that up to 50 percent of such children will likely have clinically significant behavior problems and mental health disorders. Re-tooling of professionals who will encounter children and youth with ASD is now a necessity,” Blacher says.

Blacher is an expert in the areas of families and developmental disabilities, with particular expertise in the areas of autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, co-morbid mental health disorders and special education policy. She has more than 30 years of research with hundreds of economically and culturally diverse families in Southern California who have children or young adults with disabilities.

Carl B. Feinstein


Carl B. Feinstein, M.D., is a clinical professor of neuroscience and psychiatry in UCR’s School of Medicine. He is also a psychiatrist with the Riverside County Department of Mental Health.  He is an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and has served as the director of the Stanford Autism Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.  His research interests include child and adolescent psychiatry, Asperger’s syndrome, and ASD.

Feinstein’s primary clinical interest for children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders is in expanding access to care for this hugely underserved population by the use of innovative diagnostic approaches and the inclusion of many ASD children in mental health and pediatric clinics that serve a wide variety of children. In addition, he is knowledgeable about the genetic basis of several neurodevelopmental disorders. He also does cognitive neuroscience research on visual recognition of emotions and in how children with ASD process and respond to the human voice.

Richard J. Lee


Richard J. Lee, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry in UCR’s School of Medicine and director of child and adolescent psychiatry for the Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences.  He is the associate medical director for Countywide Children’s Programs for the Riverside University Health System-Behavioral Health.

He says, “It is a goal within our department to bring best practices for autism and related disorders to inland Southern California. We will continue to work with our local partners to improve early access to services since early diagnosis and treatment lead to best outcomes.  We also seek to bring advances in autism research to the local community.”


Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4580
E-mail: sarah.nightingale@ucr.edu
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