What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD, Asperger’s syndrome, PDD-Pervasive Developmental Delay, PDD NOS-Pervasive Development Delay Not otherwise Specified) is a developmental disability that is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in communication, social impairment and repetitive or restricted behaviors.


Examples of Autism:


 Communication Difficulties                  Social Impairment                          Repetitive Behaviors

Limited verbal skills. May be interested in people but not know how to talk, play or relate to them. Repetitive or stereotyped movements and/or speech.
May use sign language, iPad or other mode of communication. Difficulty engaging in pretend play. Hyper- or hyposensitivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of environment.
May repeat or echo words/phrases said to them or repeat words/phrases in place of normal language. Difficulty understanding people's feelings or talking about their own feelings. Preoccupation with interest that is abnormally intense or focused.
Uses literal meaning of words. Difficulties understanding nonverbal cues such as gestures, facial expressions, body language. Excessive adherence to routines or resistance to change.

 No two individuals with autism are alike.


What are Developmental Disabilities?

 Developmental disabilities are a group of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments. They cause individuals living with them many difficulties in certain areas of life, especially in "language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living."  Developmental disabilities can be detected early on, and do persist throughout an individual's lifespan. 


Developmental Milestones:

Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving "bye-bye" are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move (crawling, walking, etc.).


Please visit Website to access the developmental milestones for different ages.

If you do not have access to the internet, please call us to receive a copy of the Milestones Booklet.


Where to Begin...

1.  If you suspect a delay and your child is 0-3 years old, you are entitled to receive services at no charge from Nevada Early Intervention Services (NEIS). 


     If your child is over 3 years of age, please contact UCAN or a doctor on our list to receive an assessment and diagnosis. Please note, in order to receive services through the school district, you must undergo the assessment through Child Find.


2. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidenced-based therapy that is based on the science of learning and behaving.  Understanding and modifying actions and skills in the context of all sorts of physical and social events that might change or be changed by one's behavior is the basis for ABA therapies.  Please visit Autism Speaks for a full description.

The Autism Treatment Assistance Program (ATAP) is a state funding program that provides a monthly allotment to parents/caregivers to assist in paying for evidence-based therapies.  You must have a medical diagnosis in order to receive assistance.  If you have Medicaid, they may act as your case manager and bill Medicaid on your behalf.


Medicaid now covers ABA therapy.  Please check the following Website to find a provider that accepts Medicaid.

Tips for a successful search:

  • Enter the county and state in which you reside
  • Provider category: Other
  • Provider Specialty: Board Certified Behavior Analyst


3. If your child has a medical diagnosis of autism, you may qualify for Katie Beckett.  It is a form of Medicaid that acts as a secondary insurance for those that do not qualify for Medicaid.  The Regional Centers can help you get started.  Please note Katie Beckett is based on the parent's income and there may be co-payments assessed.

Call the intake coordinator at the Regional Center listed closest to you located under Financial Assistance of the Guide.  They can start the intake process and help with Katie Beckett and/or Medicaid.  A family may qualify for Regional Center services without qualifying for Katie Beckett.  Their services include service coordination, respite funding, in-home training, and counseling.


4.  If your child is under the age of 18 years old and meets a certain level of severity, you may qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits.  There is a parental income level that needs to be met.  Please visit the Website for additional information on the criteria requirements.


5. Adult Resources: Durable Power of Attorney


Glossary of Terms





We have an comprehensive list of providers in Northern Nevada. Please contact us and we will send you our resource list.

*Please note that JUSTin HOPE does not endorse or bear responsibility for any of these resources.


We maintain an extensive list of books and videos in our Lending Library.  Please let us know if you'd like to check out one of our many items from our library.



Policies to Know...


IDEA - The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation.  IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.   

~Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C.

~Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.


Autism CARES Act - The federal funding law for autism, originally the Combating Autism Act enacted in 2006 and reauthorized in 2011, was renewed in 2014 for another five years as the Autism CARES Act.  The original law was signed by President George W. Bush and the 2011 and 2014 bills were signed by President Obama.  Total funding under the Act should exceed $3 billion by 2019 for autism research, services, training and monitoring by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration.


~Coverage of ABA therapy by Medicaid is effective January 1, 2016

On July 7, 2014 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance on approaches available under the federal Medicaid program for providing medically necessary diagnostic and treatment services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  The Nevada Division of Health Care Financing and Policy (DHCFP) is proposing coverage for ABA services rendered to Medicaid eligible individuals under age 21, including children with ASD, based on individual determinations of medical necessity.  For more information, please visit DHCFP.


Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders was created through Executive Order by Governor Gibbons on November 19, 2008.  Their mission is to provide leadership, oversight and legislative advocacy in support of Nevadans living with ASD. To learn more about the Commission and view their current events, please visit the Aging and Disability Services Division website.

-The 2015-2020 Strategic Plan was created to guide the efforts of the Commission over the next five years.  Please click the following link to view or download the Strategic Plan.