2 new psychologists to provide autism diagnosis in Las Vegas

Though waiting lists for autism-related services top the thousands across the Las Vegas Valley, two new practitioners aim to put a dent in those numbers.

Clinical neuropsychologists Erin Honke and Caitlin Cook will provide diagnostic services for families needing initial and follow-up evaluations for their autistic children at, respectively, Touro University Nevada’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and UNLV’s Ackerman Autism Center.

Both say they look forward to being a part of the solution to long wait times for families desperate for early intervention.

“I didn’t realize that there’s such a lack of neuropsychologists out here,” said Honke, who moved here with her children and husband, a Las Vegas native eager to get back to his roots. “I wasn’t seeing any openings really, so I was looking at private practice.”

Then her husband came across a job posting at Touro’s autism center for a neuropsychologist, and from there, she knew she’d found the right fit.

“I said I think this would be a perfect opportunity. I’m going to apply. I’m going to get the job,” Honke remembers. That was back in March.

Honke officially started in July, though she’s still waiting for approval from insurance companies to take insurance.

Touro had been searching for three years for a replacement for Nicole Cavenagh, the child neuropsychologist who left the university’s center for private practice in 2015, director of operations Lisa Kunz said.

“Unfortunately, they’re not here in our city, so we were recruiting across the country,” Kunz said. The center interviewed three candidates before Honke came along.

Kunz has nothing but high praise for Honke, who she said stands out for her commitment to children and a family-friendly personality.

“She was eager, enthusiastic, warm,” Kunz said of her first meeting with Honke. “You could tell she was going to fit in well.”

On the other side of town, Cook is returning to work under Julie Beasley, the Ackerman Autism Center’s director who served as Cook’s postdoctoral supervisor. Cook graduated from UNLV’s clinical psychology Ph.D. program in 2012 and moved to Kansas and later Oahu, Hawaii, with her three children and husband, who was stationed at Air Force bases in those states.

She was well aware of the dearth of services in Nevada when she called Beasley about a year ago and told her she planned to return to Las Vegas, which, after eight years of graduate school here, Cook said feels like home.

“It’s amazing to see how many families are being served here. I know from personal and professional experience just how incredibly hard it was to get in and get any services or even know where to go or what services were needed, especially for families on the front end of diagnosis,” Cook said.

“It’s also crazy to see how many families have gone without and are waiting to be seen, and that’s certainly something I’m excited to be a part of.”

Like Honke, Cook is waiting for insurance company approval, though she’s gotten the OK from Medicaid, which allows her to see publicly insured children.

To have two experts new to the Las Vegas area is “only a positive” for children waiting for diagnosis valleywide, said Terri Janison, CEO of the Grant a Gift Autism Foundation. There are 3,200 children waiting for help from the UNLV Ackerman Autism Center alone.

“Anytime we can get someone in here who can help provide those services, it just benefits the whole community,” Janison said. “There just needs to be that opportunity for as many patients to be seen as possible.”

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like