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‘One-stop shop’ for autism, disability services breaks ground in Las Vegas

Updated March 23, 2022 - 6:34 am

A foundation with an ambitious plan to centralize disability services in Las Vegas broke ground on its campus development Tuesday.

The Collaboration Center Foundation’s LV Ranch, a 5-acre property at 8390 W. Windmill Lane, is meant to be an all-encompassing site for people of any age with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities and their families. Spearheaded by Executive Director Lynda Tache, the development will take a former horse ranch in the southwest valley and expand it into a “one-stop shop” for therapy, training, clinical use and family services.

“As a parent of now a young adult on the autism spectrum, I know firsthand the challenges I face to get my son the help he needed to reach his full potential,” Tache, the former leader of Grant A Gift Autism Foundation, said. “We’ve come a long way since Grant was first diagnosed in ’05, but I have to tell you, there’s still a lot of families floundering and struggling out there to find the right resources. This campus is for the community and this is for all of us all these organizations to come together and really helped build that service capacity.”

Officials expect the $12-million first phase to be completed by September. Initial construction will include more infrastructure, developing outdoor spaces and rehabbing the 17,000-square-foot horse stable into a grab-and-go cafe with onsite vocational training; a developmental preschool; model classrooms; speech, occupational, physical and behavioral training; and an autism assessment clinic.

Long-term plans for the site include a recreational building with a lap pool and courts, a therapy garden and tortoise habitat, among other site improvements.

Tache estimates the site could help 10,000 people and their families annually once fully operational.

About half of the funding was supported through allocations from the state Legislature. State Sen. Scott Hammond, who sits on the foundation’s advisory board, said he worked a deal during the 2021 session to get $6 million for the program’s development. He said a public-private partnership made sense because as autism and other disabilities are increasingly diagnosed, families need a centralized place to find support.

“You had to increase the resources (to deal with more diagnoses),” Hammond said.

“This is a big giant leap forward, because now you have the resources, and now put them all in one place – it’s all the easier.”

Key to the success of the site is outsourced services. About 80 percent of the services and programs planned for the ranch will be administered through other businesses and nonprofits. The Collaboration Center will tie it together through its “pathways” case management service that can direct and recommend families to what is most needed.

That’s a bonus in itself, said Adrienne Williams, president and CEO of Let’s Talk! Therapy Center. She said convenience drew her to the project because parents won’t have to take their children to multiple sites and will be exposed to more options that could help them grow.

“It would blow your mind to know how many parents say, ‘I didn’t know that was available — I didn’t know that existed,’” Williams, whose business will run the preschool and therapy centers, said. “The reach is so small. But the Collaboration Center expands the reach of the disability community.”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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