Northern California's premiere nonprofit organization providing comprehensive social services to nurture and protect autistic and other mentally-diverse youth, and their families.

We support positive outcomes through outreach, services, activities, and resources.



Since 2011, we have led the effort to ensure the well-being of the Sacramento metropolitan area's mentally-diverse youth. We are at the forefront of conceptual and practical interventions to optimize the quality of life for young people with mental diagnoses.



We exist to make sure that every mentally-diverse child is nurtured and protected toward a life of self-defined happiness and health. Toward this goal, we provide comprehensive assistance to youth and their families so that every aspect of the young person's development is cared for.


Should you need an advocate - look NO FURTHER!! [SASSNA] is NOT ONLY thoroughly knowledgeable, but...hold themselves to the highest standards with extensive backgrounds working professionally with [mentally-diverse] students. I’ve highly recommended SASSNA to all of my family & friends.

— Lisa V. | Parent | Roseville, California



SASSNA is a California public benefit nonprofit corporation, and is state and federally (501c3) tax exempt. We are an alliance of, primarily, families of mentally-diverse youth, but also include professionals, mentally-diverse adults, and other individuals interested in our cause.



The Sacramento Autistic Spectrum and Special Needs Alliance (SASSNA) was established by behavior analyst and disability advocate Dave Gaines in 2011. Dave has obsessive-compulsive disorder and is on the autistic spectrum. SASSNA's original board of directors consisted of Dave, two parents of mentally-diverse children, an autistic adult, and an adult with Fragile X. This group, with Dave as CEO, built SASSNA into an operating nonprofit corporation. Hard work and grassroots fundraising allowed for a small budget, and for SASSNA to complete its legal and structural framework. SASSNA also began providing limited services. Everyone involved with SASSNA was still a volunteer at this point.

2013 was an intensive year for SASSNA. The organization expanded its activities to include more significant fundraising efforts, service delivery and community outreach. The first employee was hired - Dave Gaines. And the board of directors changed significantly.

SASSNA, with still only a tiny budget, is now very busy providing services and trying to grow.


  • Autistic spectrum
  • Down syndrome
  • Tourette's
  • Fragile X
  • Sensory processing conditions
  • Intellectual disability
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Learning Diagnoses
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Other

For a list of the specific services we provide, which are all free of charge, please click:

Sacramento Autistic Spectrum and Special Needs Alliance
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