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Free Showing of "Autism: The Musical" to be Held Nov. 2

UCR Holds Free Showing of "Autism: The Musical" on Nov. 2

The Graduate School of Education and the SEARCH center are sponsoring a presentation of the documentary followed by a question and answer session.

(October 16, 2008)

The cast of Enlarge

The cast of "Autism: The Musical" (from left to right) Neal, Adam, Lexi, Henry and Wyatt. (photo by Cindy Gold)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – Audiences can follow the lives of five autistic children and their families in a documentary about the off- and on-stage production of "Autism: The Musical," held Sunday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. in the University of California, Riverside theater. The free screening, sponsored by UCR’s Graduate School of Education and the Support, Education, Advocacy, Resources, Community and Hope (SEARCH) center, will conclude with a question-and-answer session.

Nominated for five Emmy Awards, “Autism: The Musical” provides viewers insight into the struggles and triumphs faced by families dealing with autism as the featured children write, rehearse and perform their own full-length musical. Director Tricia Regan calls attention to the rising incidence of autism while focusing on the positive outcome of theater on the children and their families who are dealing with this serious disorder.

“We are pleased to be sponsors of such an enlightening event that offers a better understanding of a rapidly escalating disorder,” said Jan Blacher, founder of SEARCH, who will also serve as moderator for the question-and-answer session. “Although the film portrays realistic challenges faced by these families, it also illustrates the strengths of the children to overcome obstacles.”

After the film, audience members will have a chance to ask questions of Diane Isaacs and Elaine Hall, founders of the Miracle Project and consultants on the documentary. The Miracle Project is a theater and film arts program for children with special needs that focuses on providing a platform for often unrecognized talents in a nurturing environment.

Admission to the event is free, but seating is on a first come, first served basis.

SEARCH is an outreach program established in late 2007 through UCR’s Graduate School of Education. The program assists families with finding information about 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.

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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