GSOE round-up

Faculty, student, and alum highlights
Arturo Nevarez

Congratulations to Arturo Nevárez, a doctoral candidate in the Education, Society and Culture program. Nevárez received a two-year fellowship from the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity along with a $5000 stipend. In this fellowship, he will collaborate as a co-researcher on a project with a BranchED scholar on transformative scholarship related to diversifying the teaching profession and critical issues of educational equity for minoritized students. According to their website, the goal of this program is twofold: 1) to support the development and success of emerging scholars of Color whose research interests are within the scope of teacher education and 2) to engage in collaborative and transformative scholarship related to diversifying the teaching profession and intentionally addressing critical issues of educational equity for all students.


Associate Professor Michael Solis was recently selected as a consultant for a $4 million-dollar federal grant received by Hawaii Department of Education. Currently, he is working on providing training of special education on reading interventions for students K-8 through a distance learning platform. This grant will ensure that a larger number of the teachers can be trained over the upcoming years. 

Elina Veytsman

Congratulations to Elina Veytsman, PhD student, who received the Michael Goodman Research Award, California Association of School Psychologists, November 2020, for her poster "Observed Effects of the PEERS® Social Skills Intervention for a Diverse Sample of Adolescents with ASD". The Michael Goodman Memorial Research Award recognizes the most outstanding research paper or poster presented at the annual CASP Convention. In the CASP newsletter, Elina said, “As an aspiring clinical researcher, I strongly believe that the value of research can be measured by its ability to have a direct impact on the youth and families it seeks to benefit . . . Our team implemented and adapted the first-ever PEERS intervention for Latinx families, who have been historically underrepresented in ASD intervention research.” 

Elizabeth Baker

Elizabeth Baker, PhD student, wrote a blog for a UCR Sci Comm, "Cheers for Peers! Improved neural sensitivity to rewards in teens with autism spectrum disorder after intervention," using data from her master’s thesis. Read it here.

Autism Goes To College

Autism Goes to College, a documentary executive produced by Dr. Jan Blacher, won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Long Beach International Film Festival.


Teacher of Color Kohli

Associate Professor Rita Kohli’s new book, Teachers of Color: Resisting Racism and Reclaiming Education,will be published in June by Harvard Education Publishing Group.

Teachers of Color describes how racism serves as a continuous barrier against diversifying the teaching force and offers tools to support educators who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of Color on both a systemic and interpersonal level. Based on in-depth interviews, digital narratives, and questionnaires, the book analyzes the toll of racism on their professional experiences and personal well-being, as well as their resistance and reimagination of schools. 

It's now available for pre-order from the publisher. Use the discount code TCSP21 for 20% off. (Also available via, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble) 

Johnson Book

Assistant Professor Austin Johnson co-authored School-Based Behavioral Assessment: Second Edition, released January 8, 2021. Revised and expanded with the latest tools and strategies, this concise book offers guidance for effectively conducting social, emotional, and behavioral assessments in today’s K–12 schools. The expert authors present foundational knowledge on assessment and data-based decision making at all levels—whole schools, small groups, or individual students—within a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). Chapters describe when, why, and how to use extant data, systematic direct observation, direct behavior rating, and rating scales. In a large-size format for easy photocopying, the book includes reproducible forms and templates. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials.

The following is a round-up of research and accomplishments sent on behalf of UCR SEARCH Center: Professor Jan Blacher; Assistant Professor Katherine Stavropoulos; Yasamin Bolourian, PhD Special Education, Post-Doctoral Fellow; Elizabeth Baker, PhD student, School Psychology ; Megan Ledoux Galligan, PhD candidate, Special Education ; Ainsley Losh, PhD student, School Psychology ; Elina Veytsman, PhD student, School Psychology ; Michelle Heyman, PhD student, School Psychology ; Tricia Choy, PhD student, School Psychology; Giselle Salinas, PhD student, Special Education ; Bhawandeep Baines, PhD Student, School Psychology; Ann Marie Martin, '20, PhD Special Education

Baker, B. L., & Blacher, J. (in press). Behavior disorders and social skills in adolescents with intellectual disability: Does co-morbid autism matter? Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities.

Buren, M. K., Johnson, A. H., Maggin, D. M., Bains, B. K., Ledoux Galligan, M. R., & Couch, L. K. (In press). Research utilization in special education. In B. M. Cook, T. J. Landrum, & M. Tankersley (Eds.), Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities. Emerald Insight. doi: 10.1108/albd

Caplan, B., Blacher, J., Eisenhower, A., Baker, B. L., & Lee, S. S. (in press). Gene x Responsive Parenting Interactions in Social Development: Characterizing Heterogeneity in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Developmental Psychobiology.

Ledoux Galligan, M.R., Suhrheinrich, J., & Kraemer, B. (In press.) Video modeling for high school students with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Special Education Technology.

Baker B. L. & Blacher, J. (2020) Collateral effects of youth disruptive behavior disorders on mothers’ psychological distress: Intellectual disability, or typical development. In: Volkmar F. (eds) Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. NY: Springer.

Baker, E., Veytsman, E., Martin, A. M., Blacher, J., & Stavropoulos, K. (2020). Increased neural reward responsivity in adolescents with ASD after social skills intervention. Brain Sciences, 10(402). doi:10.3390/brainsci/10060402.

Heyman, M., Bolourian, Y., & Blacher, J. (2020). Transition to early schooling for children with ASD. In M. B. McClain, J. D. Shahidullah, & K. Mezher (Eds.), Handbook of Interprofessional Care for Pediatric ASD. New York: Springer.

Levinson, S., Neuspiel, J., Eisenhower, A., & Blacher, J. (2020). Parent-teacher disagreement on ratings of behavior problems in children with ASD: Associations with parental school involvement over time. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Losh, A., Alba, L. A., Blacher, J., & Stavropoulos, K. K. M. (2020). Neuroimaging research with diverse children with ASD: Impact of a social story on parent understanding and likelihood of participation. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 71, 101511.

Martin, M. A., Stavropoulos, K. M., & Blacher, J. (2020). Differential diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and early onset schizophrenia:  Two clinical cases. Advances in Autism, 6(2), 139-151.

Rodas, N.V., Blacher, J., & Baker, B. L. (2020). Predictors of anxiety symptom trajectory in children with or without ID from early childhood to adolescence, Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities.

Rydzewska, E., Fleming, M., Young-Southward, G., Blacher, J., Bolourian, Y., Widaman, K., Philo, C., & Cooper, S.-A. (2020, in press). General health status in young people with intellectual disabilities with and without Down syndrome in, and transitioning from, special education. Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. DOI: 10.1111/jir.12781

Ledoux, M. R., Heyman, M., Bolourian, Y., Eisenhower, A., & Blacher, J. (2021, January). Training for general educators in autism spectrum disorders: Adapting an iterative intervention for remote learning. Paper accepted at UC SPEDDR (virtual).

Choy, T., Losh, A., & Blacher, J. (2021, February). Parent-child interaction and social responsiveness in children with autism. Poster accepted at National Association of School Psychology (NASP) Convention (virtual).

Choy, T., Baker, E., Veytsman, E., Martin, A.M., Stavropoulos, K., Blacher, J. (2020, August). “The relationship between problem behaviors and family life following the PEERS® Program.” Poster accepted at American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention, Washington D.C. (virtual).

Heyman, M. R., Bolourian, Y., Baker, E., Baker, B. L., & Blacher, J. “Mother, Father, and Adolescent Perspectives: Sibling Relationship Quality of Individuals with ASD, ID, or TD.” Poster accepted at Gatlinburg Conference (virtual).

Veytsman, E., Ledoux, M.R., Salinas, G., Baker, B., & Blacher, J. (2020, December). Mothers’ perspectives on the future of their young adults with and without developmental disabilities. Poster presented at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, USA. (Virtual conference)

Veytsman, E., Baker, E., & Stavropoulos, K. (2020, October). Observed effects of the PEERS social skills intervention for a diverse sample of adolescents with ASD. Poster presented at the California Association of School Psychologists (CASP) Annual Convention, Palm Springs, CA, USA. (Virtual conference)

Veytsman, E., Salinas, G., Ledoux, M.R., Blacher, J., & Baker, B. (2020, August). Staying positive: Dispositional optimism & attitudes for the future among mothers of adults with IDD. Poster accepted to the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention, Washington, D.C., USA. (Virtual conference)

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