UNLV School of Medicine and the Grant A Gift Autism Foundation have joined forces to open the UNLV Medicine Ackerman Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment Solutions. The new center combines cutting-edge diagnostics, treatment, behavioral / vocational training, support programs, and education for infants to young adults, all in one outpatient setting.
The UNLV Medicine Ackerman Autism Center provides clients with a multidisciplinary team of physicians, psychologists, and speech and behavioral therapists, for a comprehensive diagnosis, treatment plan, follow-up care and support services.
Ensure every infant, child, adolescent and young adult with Autism and neurodevelopmental challenges has access to a medical home that provides high quality, multi-specialty diagnostic, treatment, and intervention services.
UNLV Medicine Ackerman Autism Center Services
Diagnostic teams in developmental pediatrics, genetics, neuropsychology, speech
Pediatric primary care for families with children with autism and neurodevelopmental challenges
Care management, psychological follow-up services, and social service navigation for every family
Individualized behavioral programs and services
The Early Start Denver Model, Applied Behavioral Analysis, and Social Skills and vocational training for children, teens and young adults
Parental education and support groups
Sibling support groups and activities
Volunteer opportunities and training
Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) for Young Children with Autism
The ESDM is an evidenced-based treatment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is an intensive program that combines therapist intervention and parent education. It was developed for children aged 1-year to 4-years of age. The underlying principles of the ESDM focus on the primary deficits of Autism, specifically the failure to develop social communication. The curriculum follows the natural developmental progression in all areas of development but there is a primary focus on three critical areas of development: imitation, affect sharing, and referential communication. The ESDM is a structured, play based behavioral program that uses the principles of child development, Pivotal Response Training, and Applied Behavioral Analysis.
The Center currently accepts Medicaid, private pay and the following private insurance plans:
Sierra Health and Life
Sierra Health Options
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UNLV Medicine Ackerman Autism Center Director
Dr. Beasley has been in private practice for 17 years providing neuropsychological assessment and treatment for children from birth to 25 years of age with a variety of medical, developmental, behavioral, genetic, and social-emotional disorders (e.g., syndromes, Autism, FAS, ADHD, learning disabilities, mood and anxiety disorders, chronic illness, brain injury). She also provided...
Dr. Ahad is a board certified Child Neurologist. She obtained her medical degree at the University of Illinois and completed her pediatrics training at Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Ahad's Child Neurology training was completed at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and she went on to pursue a fellowship in autism and neurobehavioral disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD...
Director, Early Start Denver Model
Julie Cole is the director of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) Program. The ESDM is a comprehensive behavioral early intervention approach for children with autism, aged 1-year to 4-years. She is developing the first ESDM program to be offered in the state of Nevada, including all protocols, policies and procedures. As director, she also trains and supervises behavioral interventionists...
Associate Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Mario J. Gaspar de Alba is responsible for the evaluation and treatment of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities for the Autism Center. He also assists the school of medicine achieve and maintain a diverse faculty and student body, which in turns creates a culture of inclusion amongst patients and throughout the school. He is devoted to educating medical students regarding appropriate...
Dr. Michael Nasiak is a Medical Geneticist and Internist by training. His interests include the genetics and genomics of common complex disorders seen in adults, and in the utilization of molecular genomics and sequencing modalities in the diagnosis and possible therapeutics of rare genetic conditions. The ability to now use the available biomedical technology to analyze an individual’s...
Jamie provides behavior assessments and treatment planning, overseeing close to 100 children in their individual and group programs. She also supervises all Registered Behavior Technicians and Board Certified assistant Behavior Analysts. Her work with partner non-profit agency Grant a Gift Autism Foundation since 2011 has led to the creation and implementation of the BUDS, TeenBUDS, TeenWORKS,...
As a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT), Brittany provides behavioral therapy designed to teach kids necessary life skills and tracks their progress across the Center’s programs.
Currently a UNLV junior studying special education, Brittany has also worked at The Lovaas Center for Behavior Intervention, and brings to the Ackerman Autism Center a background in in-home therapy.
Registered Behavioral Technician
Community Health Worker
As a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT), Clemencia observes patients, records their progress and helps with daily living activities. Originally pursuing education, Clemencia says the exposure she had to autistic kids on her first assignment as a teaching assistant, at the New Horizons Center, changed her career path and life.
Chris provides behavioral therapy designed to teach kids necessary life skills, implementing programs established by the Center’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Currently a junior at UNLV majoring in psychology, he hopes to enter Marriage and Family Therapy with a concentration in autism.
As a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT), Jade helps kids master daily living and social skills, and collects data monitoring their headway toward key goals. She was introduced to the autism community when offered an internship at Grant a Gift Autism Foundation through University of Phoenix in 2013, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Human Services in 2015. She is currently...
As the Behavioral Coordinator, Desirae helps oversee the Programs Department and the behavioral programs at the center. Her current duties include ensuring that families are introduced to the programs best suited to help the families overcome their particular obstacles. As a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT), Desirae provides behavioral therapy designed to teach kids necessary life skills to...
Autism Treatment Assistance Program (ATAP)
ATAP provides a monthly allotment to pay for on-going treatment development, supervision and a limited amount of weekly intervention hours based upon a child’s individual treatment plan, age, and income.