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SEARCH Hosts "Autism Heroes" Author

UCR’s SEARCH program hosts “Autism Heroes” Author

Book signing event for Help Group founder Barbara Firestone to be held Jan. 29 at Sweeney Gallery.

(January 23, 2008)

Barbara Firestone's Enlarge

Barbara Firestone's "Autism Heroes: Portraits of Families Meeting the Challenge" offers first hand accounts of parents dealing with autism.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — UC Riverside’s SEARCH program will host a book signing for “Autism Heroes: Portraits of Families Meeting the Challenge,” with author and Help Group founder Barbara Firestone on Jan. 29 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the UCR Sweeney Gallery, 3800 Main Street.

SEARCH [Support, Education, Advocacy, Resources, Community and Hope] is an outreach program established in late 2007 through UCR’s Graduate School of Education. The program assists families with finding information on proper diagnosis and treatment; educates families on the disorder itself and on selecting evidence-based intervention options; helps them access educational, medical, social support and legal services; and works to ease the transition from early childhood to kindergarten and from school to adulthood.

“Part of our mission is to bring additional resources to the region, which has been terribly underserved until SEARCH was established,” said Dr. Jan Blacher, UCR professor and SEARCH founder. “We are also undertaking research related to education and families, and currently are collaborating with the Help Group to expand our research and evidence-based studies.”

The Help Group grew out of Firestone’s nonprofit special education day school for children with developmental challenges including autism in 1975. Located in the Los Angeles community, it is considered today the nation's largest and most comprehensive nonprofit of its kind serving children with special needs related to autism, Asperger's Disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, mental retardation, emotional and behavioral disabilities, and abuse and neglect.

SEARCH is currently staffed by two graduate assistants and two full-time research fellows and is housed in Sproul Hall on the UCR campus. The program plans to launch an interactive web site to assist families with questions and additional resources this spring.

For inquiries please contact Kelly Fiedler, at 951.827.6385

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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