The UNLV Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) now offers comprehensive testing services for children and adults, thanks to a donation from the Dave Rice Foundation. Dave Rice - a UNLV alum and head basketball coach for the Runnin' Rebels - and his wife, Mindy, pledged $100,000 to the CASD this past July. The testing is available to the public on a sliding scale fee.
UNLV faculty and graduate students will administer the comprehensive psychological, speech, communication, reading, and behavioral skills tests needed to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD) related developmental disabilities.
Symptoms vary from person to person and can begin before the age of 3 and last a lifetime. Generally, children with ASD can have trouble with language and social skills, and show unusual behavior with repetitive patterns that can result in tantrums, obsessions, aggressiveness, and self-injuries.
"Early intervention makes all the difference," said Shannon Crozier, director of the CASD. "The longer children go without treatment, the worse their condition. By identifying ASDs early on, the likelihood of improved behavior, communication skills, academic, and behavior skills increases. Parents can better understand ASDs and what strategies can be put in place to help their child."
The Rices said the new program addresses a growing need for ASD resources for families in the city and state.
"Our personal journey of trying to find a diagnosis for our son Dylan took three years," said Dave Rice. "Mindy and I understand the struggle many families are going through and we want to make sure opportunities for help and treatment are available and easily
accessible in the community."
The donation will also be used to expand the workshops that the center already offers to parents, healthcare providers, and professionals who interact with children with ASD. The workshops explain ASD and how a diagnosis can affect a family. Workshops also teach techniques for handling ASD-related behavior problems in the classroom or at home.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of 88 U.S. children has been identified with ASD.
Members of the public may visit the CASD web site or call (702) 895-5836.
About the Dave Rice Foundation
The Dave Rice Foundation is a nonprofit, tax exempt organization dedicated to the education and support of health initiatives including developmental disorders such as Autism, and other charitable causes. The Foundation was established in 2012 by UNLV Runnin Rebels head basketball coach Dave Rice and his wife Mindy.