About Dave Gaines

Dave is the founder and CEO of Sacramento Autistic Spectrum and Special Needs Alliance (SASSNA), a nonprofit organization in Sacramento, California that provides high-quality, comprehensive social services to mentally-diverse young people and their families in the Greater Sacramento region. Dave’s formal background is in applied behavior analysis and psychology.

Through self-teaching, he has developed a strong understanding of law. Dave is a capable educational advocate and consultant, and he also is knowledgeable in navigating government agencies, such as the regional center system, health insurance, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A unique characteristic of Dave is that he is autistic and has obsessive compulsive disorder. His first-hand experiences with mental diagnoses strongly influence his work and give him a tangible advantage that most professionals don’t possess.

On a personal note, Dave likes sports cars, cats, ice hockey, technology, and intelligence.


  • Case Management

    Services to guide families each step of the way through successfully raising their diverse children.

  • Advocacy

    Services to assist families in obtaining their rights and the rights of their children in terms of educational services (IEPs, disability accommodations, etc.), government services (regional centers, etc.), employment, and other areas.

  • Social and Recreational Events

    Events for families and youth, with inclusive, accommodating, and welcoming atmospheres.