UC Santa Barbara's Koegel Autism Center receives generous gift from Charlie Alva that will help fund autism services for families in need

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Donor Charlie Alva has provided a gift to UC Santa Barbara’s Koegel Autism Center that will help families and children in need have access to assessment services and follow-up intervention workshops. This gift will help more people take advantage of the world-class Koegel Autism Center that has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences and ranked among the country’s top 12 autism facilities. The gift is given in memory of Alva’s late wife Vera Hruba Ralston, a Czech ice-skating star turned Hollywood actress.

“Charlie Alva's very generous donation helps to ensure that all families have access to critical early identification and intervention services, which allow their children to thrive,” says Ty Vernon, Director of the Autism Assessment Clinic. “His passion and commitment to the well-being of children is unparalleled, and we are very happy to partner with him in our efforts to help families affected by autism.”

The Koegel Autism Research & Training Center is overseen by Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel. The major goals of the center are increasing our understanding of autism spectrum disorders, the development and implementation of state-of-the-art pivotal response treatments, as well as the improvement of elementary and secondary education efforts for children with autism and other severe disabilities. The center's primary interests lie in research and training (both pre-service and in-service), focusing on family support and on the education of children with autism in community environments and classrooms with their typically developing peers. The center conducts research regarding the development of treatment delivery systems through families, schools, non-disabled peers, and others who provide support for children with autism in educational settings. The center is funded by a number of sources, including the state of California, federal research and training grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Department of Education, and through private donations. The Koegel Autism Center is part of The Gevirtz School at UC Santa Barbara.

[Ty Vernon is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]