The University of California Riverside has recently added autism screening clinics to its Autism Resource Center. As an essential part of Early Intervention therapy, the university is urging parents and community members to have their children screened for autism.
Utilizing the Autism Diagnostic Observation System, the screenings are aimed towards children 2 to 5 years old, but open to everyone. And, to assist the public community, the screenings are available in English and Spanish, on both on the UCR campus and in the San Bernardino Unified School District.
The idea for the center stems from geographic need. Jan Blacher, founder and director of SEARCH (Support, Education, Advocacy, Resources, Community, Hope) center and professor of education expanded that “there is absolutely nowhere in the Inland Empire for parents to go to find… an appropriate education program.”
The Autism Screening Program will also include many activities for parents who have children with autism, up to age 7. The parent program mainly consists of group sessions of weekly meetings for three weeks. The program ends with a fourth meeting (optional) with an autism professional. The increased communication between parents is aimed to improve how they handle their children with autism. It is also aimed to improve how the parents can further integrate their children into society.
The SEARCH center is also recruiting parents for group sessions about autism treatment options. Blacher summed up the project in that, “this is all about creating.”