Recruiting Children with Autism for Innovative Study

Researchers are looking for children with autism in the Inland Empire and Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley areas

Professor Jan Blacher

Jan Blacher, Director, SEARCH Center, Professor of Education

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — A University of California, Riverside education professor is again recruiting children for 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.

In a first round of recruiting, Jan Blacher, a professor and founding director of the SEARCH (Support, Education, Advocacy, Resources, Community, Hope) family autism research center at UC Riverside, and her team signed up 48 families. They are now looking to recruit an additional 50 families.

Blacher, along with Abbey Eisenhower, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, received the three-year, nearly $1.2 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Their project, called “Smooth Sailing,” focuses on the essential ingredients of a successful transition from intensive early intervention, which most children with autism receive when they are first diagnosed, to the public school system.

Blacher and Eisenhower, along with their graduate students and staff, are recruiting children, ages 4 to 7 who have been diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorder, to take part in the study.

Blacher is recruiting children in the Inland Empire and Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley areas.

In the Inland Empire, after being screened for eligibility, parents and children will be invited to visit UC Riverside three times over 18 months.

In Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, after being screened for eligibility, parents and children will be invited to visit The Help Group campus in Sherman Oaks three times over 18 months.

During each visit in each location, children will be assessed on their academic skills, with a focus on language and literacy. Parents will also be interviewed to assess perceived school factors, such as quality learning opportunities and child engagement. In addition, parents and teachers will complete questionnaires to measure factors such as the child’s social skills and behavior, the parent’s involvement in school, and the student-teacher-relationship.

In return, parents and children will receive $150, an assessment summary after the first visit this fall, a parent-child DVD after the second visit in the spring and a developmental summary at the third visit during the following school year.

For more information about the Inland Empire evaluations, call SEARCH at 951-827-3849. For more information about the Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley evaluations, call SEARCH at 310-825-9592.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756

Additional Contacts

SEARCH Inland Empire
Tel: 951-827-3849

SEARCH Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley
Tel: 310-825-9592

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