Alumna Kristin Farmer honored by Heart of Autism

Kristin Farmer
(’95 M.Ed.), founder of ACES and benefactor of the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center, established in 2012, has received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from Dallas-area nonprofit organization Heart of Autism. The award will be presented at the Heart of Autism Masquerade Ball Sept. 17 at the Eldorado Country Club in McKinney.

“I am thrilled to receive this honor from Heart of Autism, an organization that shares my passion for helping children and adults on the spectrum live fuller lives,” Farmer said.

Heart of Autism started as a small, grass-roots fundraising group organized by Dallas real estate professional and mom Nika Arastoupour, whose son, Mazy, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 2 in 2012. Arastoupour quickly realized that therapy was expensive, and she wanted to do something to help underprivileged families that could not afford autism services. She also wanted to help fund research into ASD – like the research she saw firsthand when her son received treatment at the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center in Denton.

Since its inception in 2013, Heart of Autism has raised more than $70,000. Last year, the organization, which had been focused exclusively on children with ASD, added adult services as part of its mission, which includes therapy as well as job placement assistance.

Farmer graduated from UNT in 1995 and began working with children with ASD in the Virginia Beach public school system. She was soon recognized as an expert in the region for other teachers on how to work with children with autism. After relocating to San Diego, Farmer began her own company providing behavioral intervention services. Today her company, ACES, employs more than 1,000 people and offers multidisciplinary services to individuals with autism across the United States. Farmer is involved with the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), Chi Omega and Girl Scouts. She is a UNT Distinguished Alumna (2010), sponsor of the UNT Art+Autism events held in April, and a member of the UNT Founders Circle.

For more information about the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center, visit For more information about Heart of Autism, contact Nika Arastoupour at or visit