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Autism Awards

Autism Task Force to Give Out Awards to Employers

Autism Center at UC Riverside's Graduate School of Education will host the ceremony Friday

(June 9, 2010)

Jan Blacher and State Sen. Bob DuttonEnlarge

Jan Blacher and State Sen. Bob Dutton

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Six Riverside and San Bernardino county businesses will be honored by the Inland Empire Autism Regional Taskforce on Friday at UC Riverside for hiring young adults with autism.

"It's important for the community to know people with autism spectrum disorders can be gainfully employed, pay taxes and contribute to society," said Jan Blacher, co-chair of the task force and the founder and director of the SEARCH (Support, Education, Advocacy, Resources, Community, Hope) autism center at UCR. "These businesses have embraced that."

The following businesses will be honored during a ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday at the SEARCH office in room 1365 in Sproul Hall:

Albertsons, 1260 East Ontario Ave. in Corona; the Walgreens distribution center in Moreno Valley; Pet Chalet in Corona; the Riverside County Office of Education in Riverside; Lowe's regional distribution center in Perris; and CVS Caremark.

The Inland Empire Autism Regional Taskforce is one of 12 regional autism task forces formed throughout the state in fall 2009. Rebecca Silva, an administrator of the special education unit at the Riverside County Office of Education, co-chair's the task force with Blacher.

State lawmakers have tasked the 12 groups with developing questions and solutions in four areas as they relate to autism. Those areas are: employment, housing policies, early identification and insurance.

Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders. A member of his staff is expected to appear at the awards ceremony Friday at UCR.

The Inland Empire Autism Regional Taskforce is comprised of about 70 members from fields including education, health care and real estate. Task force members have been meeting since the fall. This fall they will complete a report for state lawmakers.

SEARCH, which is part of the Graduate School of Education at UCR, was started in early 2008. Since, it has developed a Web site,, with an online resource guide providing information about autism services in Riverside County and Southern California, including autism-friendly doctors and dentists, support groups and education services.

SEARCH conducts screening clinics for young children suspected of having autism. The screening clinics, which are ideal for children 2 to 5 years old but open to everyone, provide an in-depth assessment using the Autism Diagnostic Observation System. They are conducted in English or Spanish.

SEARCH is also recruiting parents for group sessions about treatment options which will begin this summer.

Parents who want more information about the parent training sessions or screening clinics can call SEARCH at 951-827-3849 or send an e-mail to

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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