University Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment

UCAN is a multi-disciplinary team of professionals concerned with autism and neurodevelopmental disorders in children. The core value of the UCAN Assessment Team is to provide diagnostic evaluation for children in need.

The purpose of the UCAN Assessment Team is to improve differential diagnosis between autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The Team is a diverse group of professionals from different disciplines and agencies throughout Northern Nevada comprised of child psychiatrists, child psychologists, school psychologists, an occupational therapist, marriage and family therapist, speech language pathologists, and a developmental specialist.

This means providing individualized outcomes from assessment that has a meaningful impact on children and families and enables affordable access to assessment. As a group of professionals, we operate dynamically as a team and are motivated to provide service to the community. We collaborate and have a common focus in scholarly pursuit of knowledge and freely share individual expertise and knowledge.

The team functions in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology in the School of Medicine. According to the latest figures by the Center for Disease Control, autism affects 1 in 54 children.

UCAN Clinic Contact Information

Melissa McGovern, MS
Phone: (775) 682-7025
Fax: (775) 636-6713
Referral Email:
Address: 1664 N. Virginia St, MS 0152
Reno, NV 89557-0152

Our Team

  • Jan Marson, OTD, American Occupational Therapy Board Certified Pediatric Therapist
  • Daniel Gunnarson, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist at Rural Regional Center
  • Traci Pitts, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
  • Erika Ryst, M.D., Associate Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Henry Watanabe, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Child Psychiatry
  • Candace Wilkins, Ph.D., Psychologist at Northern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services
  • Danielle Stage, MD, Pediatrician
  • Debra Vigil, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology

Our Partnerships

The UCAN Team is an amalgamation of professionals from different disciplines and different agencies throughout Northern Nevada. It is truly a joint collaborative effort to provide the best assessment possible. It is with great respect that we list our partners below:

Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities(NCED)

The NCED serves as Nevada's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). The UCEDDs were established and funded by the Developmental Disabilities Rights Assistance and Rights Act (DD Act). UCEDDs work to accomplish a shared vision that foresees a nation in which all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, participate fully in their communities. Independence, productivity and community inclusion are key components of this vision.

University of Nevada, Reno Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology

The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology is located within the School of Medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno.

University of Nevada, Reno Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

The mission of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine includes a commitment to education and training of health care professionals. The Department of Psychiatry contributes to fulfillment of this mission by training medical students in behavioral sciences and clinical psychiatry and by offering a psychiatric residency training program. That program teaches future psychiatrists to integrate biomedical and psychosocial approaches to patient care. The Department of Psychiatry provides education and training in the Northern and Southern urban areas and in rural Nevada. In support of the educational mission, the Department pursues of extramurally supported scientific research, and provides comprehensive clinical services.

Rural Regional


Washoe County School District (WCSD)

Washoe County School District's Psychological Services department supports each student to achieve his or her potential through employing an understanding of mental health, child development, school organizations, learning, behavior, and motivation in order to promote responsible and productive members of society. We use data based decisions to inform and promote the mental health, welfare, an education of our students. We are committed to our own life-long learning within the profession, and to learning how our services influence students with cultural and linguistic uniqueness. Washoe County School District School Psychologists provide a broad range of services to schools and their communities. School Psychologists have specialized training in child development, the educational and psychological foundations of human behavior, research as it applies to educational practices and to student's social and cultural foundations.

Nevada Early Intervention Services (NEIS)

The mission of Nevada's Early Intervention Services is to identify infants and toddlers who are at-risk for, or who have developmental delays; provide services and supports to families to meet the individualized developmental needs of their child; and facilitate the child's learning and participation in family and community life through the partnerships of families, caregivers and service providers.