Lighting it Blue for Autism

UC Riverside family autism resource center organizes effort to light up the bell tower blue to raise awareness of autism

The UC Riverside bell tower is lit up blue as part of “Light it Up Blue” campaign to raise awareness of autism.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — The University of California, Riverside bell tower was lit up blue Monday, April 2 to raise awareness of autism.

As part of World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Speaks, an autism science and advocacy organization, asked people and organizations to Light It Up Blue to help shine a light on autism.

At UC Riverside, Jan Blacher, the director of SEARCH (Support, Education, Advocacy, Resources, Community, Hope), a family autism research center on campus, led the effort to turn the bell tower blue Monday night.

“As the autism nexus in the Inland Empire, SEARCH sees promoting autism awareness on campus as critical,” Blacher said. “Also, the blue light reminds the campus and others that SEARCH is doing important work in the area of autism.”

SEARCH is the University of California’s first family autism resource center focused exclusively on family needs, such as educational access. Housed in the UC Riverside Graduate School of Education, SEARCH provides support, education, advocacy, resources, community and hope to families who have loved ones on the autism spectrum through its autism screening clinic, community outreach activities and online resources.

The center is also working on a first-of-its-kind study that will assess how children with autism adapt to the early school years and identify predictors that will lead to a successful transition. The projects, called “Smooth Sailing,” last year received a three-year $1.2 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

Light It Up Blue, in its third year, is a global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. Iconic landmarks around the world, including Niagara Falls, Empire State Building, New York Stock Exchange, have been lit up blue.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756

Additional Contacts

Jan Blacher
Tel: 951-827-3875

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