Grant A Gift Autism Foundation seeks to expand its activities into a diagnostic center


A Las Vegas nonprofit autism services organization is raising money for more staff following its takeover of a medical diagnostic and therapy center.

The Grant A Gift Autism Foundation took control of the operations of the Ackerman Autism Center at the end of June, after about five years of activity as the center’s fundraising arm while UNLV Medicine led operations.

The Ackerman Center offers diagnostic, therapy, social support, vocational training and education programs to families of patients with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The organization intends to streamline the patient onboarding process by making it easier to get on the waiting list, get seen more quickly and create other efficiencies, he said. .

“It really allows us to operate at what I call the speed of business, which allows us to provide faster and more efficient care to our patients,” said Peter Krauss, President and CEO of the foundation.

The center has served more than 5,000 families since its inception, but it also has more than 5,000 on its waiting list, the foundation said. Krauss’s goal is to see more patients “exponentially”, primarily by hiring more clinical staff.

“The waiting list will never go away completely,” he said. “We have no fantasies about it because, unfortunately, the demand will still be there. But if someone had to wait a few weeks or even a month for a date, that’s one thing. We have people who have waited a year, 18 months and even two years for certain services. This is the challenge and the problem that we are tackling.

Under the new agreement, doctors at UNLV Medicine see the centre’s clients under contract.

Krauss said the foundation intended to use donations and major fundraisers to increase staff and support scholarship programs for some of the programs not covered by Medicaid or private insurance. He hopes the annual Grant A Gift gala on Wednesday at Lightening Stadium, will raise nearly a million dollars to support the center.

Experts estimate the average cost to parents of a spectrum child is $ 60,000 per year, including lost wages, according to Autism Speaks advocacy group.

“For a lot of families, it’s just unaffordable,” Krauss said. “It’s frustrating for us as a city as vibrant as Las Vegas, a city with as much money as Las Vegas, (as) pediatric medicine in general, autism and those on the developmental spectrum in particular, are incredibly underserved. “

McKenna Ross is a member of the body of Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms. Contact her at [email protected] To follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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