Research Archive

12th Annual UC SPEDDR Conference

UC SPEDDR Student Advisory Council

On January 19 and 20, 2018, doctoral students in special education at UCR joined students and professors from eight UC campuses for the 12th annual student-run University of California Collaborative for Research on Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk (SPEDDR) conference, held at UC-Davis.  

This conference is one of several activities of the University of California Collaborative for Research on Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk (SPEDDR), founded in 2005 by UCSB professor Michael Gerber and UCR professors H. Lee Swanson and Rollanda O’Connor, which links faculty and doctoral students with shared research interests across the UC system.  

As the organization spread to eight of the UC campuses, faculty routinely brought their students along to the twice-yearly meetings and students soon formed their own organization, the Doctoral Student Advisory Committee, which now runs the conference annually on their own (with just a little help from faculty mentors).

Participating UCR students included Yasamine Bolourian, Megan Ledoux, Juan Chen, and Elizabeth Isralowitz.  

Dr. Rollanda O’Connor, center, with UCR students Juan Chan & Megan Ledoux.

In addition to attending the conference, faculty from seven of the UC campuses (Riverside, Davis, Los Angeles, Merced, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and San Francisco) discussed their current research and findings, primarily in the areas of learning disabilities and autism, with Richard Gifford from the California Department of Education.  

The SPEDDR Student Conference is supported partially through the generous endowment of the Eady/Hendrick fund to the GSOE. 

Check out UCSPEDDR’s Facebook page here.

Dr. Jan Blacher’s New Research Looks at Stress Levels of Mothers of Children with Autism

UCR Today recently highlighted new research from autism expert Jan Blacher, a distinguished professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside, which suggests a positive outlook can mitigate the psychological effects of parenting a child with autism:

In a study published online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Blacher and her research partner Bruce L. Baker, found that mothers of teenagers with ASD or ID reported higher levels of stress and other negative psychological symptoms than mothers of teenagers with typical development. Those levels climbed even higher when teenagers with ASD or ID also showed signs of clinical-level disruptive behavior disorders.

“It’s in the face of stress when optimism really becomes important,” Blacher said. “A mom that has a high level of optimism is going to be able to better weather stress and be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead.”

Read more about the findings in UCR Today’s full piece here.