Carolina Center for ABA & Autism Treatment is now offering Diagnostic Evaluations

The Carolina Center for ABA & Autism Treatment is proud to announce that they are now offering diagnostic evaluations at any of their clinic locations (Cary, Fayetteville, and Charlotte). Both clinicians available for diagnostic evaluations have completed intensive training in applied behavior analysis as well as completed training at North Carolina TEACCH Center to administer the ADOS. Please call the office at 919-371-2848 to schedule an appointment.

Evaluations offered:

ADOS – Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale

ADI-R – Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised

 

Evaluators:

Callie Plattner, MS, LPA, BCBA

Katrina Johnson, MA, LPA, BCBA

 

Services Included: Initial parent consultation and interview using the ADI-R, diagnostic evaluation with the child using the ADOS, written evaluation of testing results, and follow-up meeting to discuss treatment options and/or referrals.

Diagnostic Evaluation utilizing the ADOS may be of benefit for children who have already completed the following process:

Screening

A “well child” check-up at the doctor should include a developmental screening test. (This test is conducted to determine if the child is reaching all developmental milestones. If a child’s doctor sees any of the possible indicators of autism as a result of a screening or a “well child checkup,” further evaluation is necessary. In addition, the parents’ own observations and concerns about their child’s development are important in helping to screen a child for autism.

Parent Observation of Warning Signs:

Most often, autism is noticed and diagnosed during childhood; the symptoms can become clear by about age 3. While your child’s pediatrician will perform well-baby and well-child exams to make sure he/she is developing normally, it’s still important to know the warning signs and seek an autism diagnosis if you suspect that your child may meet these criteria.

Basic warning signs for children imbed the link to the other page on the website for signs and symptoms.

Other evaluations should take place to rule out physical problems or health concerns:

 

  • A full physical
  • A hearing test
  • Genetic testing
  • A test for lead poisoning
  • A neurological exam
  • Blood work and other lab tests

Importance of an accurate diagnosis:

The first signs of autism are often noticed before the age of three and early diagnosis is critical. Once an accurate diagnosis is reached, a family can begin researching appropriate treatment options. This is critical, as a number of empirical research studies have showed that children who enter early intervention programs at younger ages may make greater gains than those who enter at a later age (Harris & Handleman, 2000; Sheinkop & Siegel, 1998). The first five years for children are key in their development and growth. If you have the opportunity to intervene therapeutically during this time, it can allow a child to learn new skills at a time when he/she is most able to grasp them. If a diagnosis of autism is found following the diagnostic evaluation, possible treatment options and referrals will be discussed with the family.

For more information, please contact the Carolina Center for ABA & Autism Treatment at 919-371-2848.

Seminar Series: Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis – Cary location

Workshop Description

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the only treatment for individuals diagnosed with Autism whose benefits have been consistently validated by independent scientific research. Regarding Autism treatment, ABA has been endorsed as an effective intervention by the American Academy of Pediatrics and United State Surgeon General.

Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of leaning theory of improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for improvement in behavior (Bacr, Wolf & Risley, 1968; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991).

This workshop is intended to provide a general understanding of the principles and applications of ABA for Autism and related disabilities. This workshop will also focus on how to effectively decrease maladeptive behavior and teach appropriate replacement skills. This 8 week series consist of one session per week. This session will be held in evening from 6:00pm-8:00Pm on Saturday’s from 9:00am-11:00am at the Carolina Center for ABA clinic in Cary, NC.

When!

Tuesday Evening Series 6pm-8pm January 10, 2012-February 28, 2012

Weekend Series: Saturday 9am-11am March 3, 2012-April 21, 2012

How Much!

General Public: $125 Per Person, per series (8week session/16 hrs)

CCABA Families: $100 per person, per series (8 week session/16 hrs)

Who Should Attend!

This workshop is intended for parents of children and professionals who work with children diagnosed with Autism or related disabilities. This includes Behavior Analysis, Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Psychologists, Physicians and Educators. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Space is limited to 25 participants per series.

An Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis

Session 1: Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis “So….. what is ABA exactly?”

Session 2: Functional Behavior Assessments and Data collection “Why is he doing that and do I fix it?”

Session 3: Evidence Based Practice “How do I know what therapy is the best for my child?”

Session 4: High functioning Autism/Aspergers “Is there a difference between the two?”

Session 5: Function Communication Training/Verbal Behavior “Asking is better than yelling!”

Session 6: Preference Assessments and Motivation “Just’ cause he wanted it yesterday doesn’t mean he’ll want it today”

Session 7: ABLLS-R and Teaching in the Natural Environment “You don’t need a table to teach”

Session 8: The IEP process and public school settings “What is the best setting for my child and what are my parent rights?”

Workshop presented in the following formats: lecture, individuals exercises, group exercises, question & answer, video model and role playing.

This instructional structure is utilized to further enhance the attendees learning experience. Supplemental handouts/training aids will be provided by the presenter.

If you are unable to attend a session, supplemental handouts will be available for that session.

Please visit our Website to register now: http://carolinacenterforaba.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=14&id=81

What is ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a non-medical treatment for autism that was first described in the 1930’s by B.F. Skinner. Since then, Skinner’s technique has been successful in helping learners develop language and communication skills. In 1957, B.F Skinner came up with a certain technique referred to as Applied Verbal Behavior (AVB). This technique aimed at teaching children with autism that language could get them anything they wanted: all they had to do was make a request. AVB has been endorsed and studied by behavior analysts such as Dr. Mark Sundberg, Dr. Vincent Carbone and Dr. James Partington. Today, mostABAprograms incorporate AVB techniques. In fact the acronymsABAand AVB are sometimes used interchangeably. 

With regards to AVB, Skinner describes four major verbal operants for children with autism: echoics, mands, tacts and intraverbals.  

  • Mands are requests such as “I want some food”
  • Echoes are verbal imitations such as Person A says “hi”, Person B responds “hi”
  • Tacts are labels such as  “toy” or “dog”  when the item is not being requested
  • Intraverbals are conversational responses

ABA programs have also been known to draw upon Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas’ 1987 study. Dr. Lovaas who was a renowned researcher in the field of psychology conducted a study that involved intensive behavioral intervention for 19 preschoolers. The study’s findings indicated that children who received up to 40 hours of intenseABAtherapy every week were able to function normally by first grade. At that time, Dr. Lovaas advocated the use of mild physical punishment to discourage severe behaviors. However, he later changed his mind about the physical punishment and rejected it.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

Applied behavior analysis is a technique for teaching desirable behavior to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders through the use of scientific principles. This scientific technique aims to understand how the environment impacts on a person’s behavior. In this case, behavior refers to both ‘good” and “bad” behavior and environment refers to any physical and social situation that might impact behavior. Behavior analysis is based on specific laws / principles; positive reinforcement is one such principle. When “good” behavior is rewarded/ reinforced, the individual is more likely to repeat it. On the other hand children with autism are less likely to repeat behaviors that aren’t reinforced. After 30+ years of research, experts have come up with various ways of encouraging useful behaviors and discouraging harmful ones. 

There are various forms of ABA for children with Autism. However, the most popular one is Discrete Trial Training (DTT). DTT is a technique where skills are divided into small tasks so that each of these tasks is taught individually. This way, children can begin by learning simple skills before they move on to more complex ones.

Most ABA programs today also utilize a technique known as errorless learning. Instead of telling the child “no” whenever they make a mistake, the child is guided towards the correct response.

Who can benefit from ABA?

Everyone can benefit from ABA regardless of whether or not they have a developmental disorder. Behavior analysts began experimenting with children who had autism and other developmental disorders in the 1960’s. They came up with some techniques where the adults would lead and the children would follow and others where the children themselves took the lead. Since the 1960’s, researchers have developed various techniques for teaching desirable skills to children with autism and other developmental disorders. While most of these techniques are mostly used in formal situations such as classrooms, they can also be used in everyday situations at home. Whether the techniques are used one on one or in a group setting, they can help individuals to develop observation, listening and imitation skills.

Today, the use of ABA techniques and principles to help individuals with autism develop desired skills is more widespread than ever before. In fact, ABA is considered an effective non-medical treatment for autism. The technique has even been recognized by the US Surgeon general and the New York State Department of Health.

Resources on ABA principles and techniques:

www.apbahome.net

www.BACB.com

www.abainternational.org

www.behavior.org

www.apa.org/crsppp/archivbehav.html

ABA Research

Over 30 years of research that has been carried out on ABA, shows that it can be quite useful in teaching children and adults with autism communication, play, self care and community participation. In addition, quite a few researchers have been studying the benefits of incorporating the ABA techniques into other comprehensive, specialized and early interventions for the treatment of autism. In this case, the word comprehensive refers to programs that target a variety of skills including social, communication, play, academic and motor skills. In addition, “Early” refers to programs that begin before the child’s fourth birthday. In the above mentioned studies, the techniques and principles of ABA were used to create learning opportunities for the children in both formal and informal settings. Since these learning opportunities took up 25-40 hours per week, the interventions were described as “intensive.”

The incorporation of learning opportunities into informal/ unstructured situations in the home enabled children with autism to spend as much time with their parents as other children without autism. The findings of the above studies indicated that when children with autism received ABA treatment for 1-3 years, their communication, cognitive and adaptive skills improved. Some children who received intensive ABA treatment for about 2 years were able to function independently in regular classrooms with very little help. However, some children who took part in the studies weren’t able to participate independently in regular classrooms despite having learnt many skills. Therefore, at the moment, it is not possible to predict how a particular child is going to respond to ABA. More research needs to be carried out so as to determine why some children respond much better than others to intensive ABA treatment.

In the past, there were studies that attempted to compare the effectiveness of intensive ABA against that of less intensive ABA, regular special education and a combination of methods of varying intensities. The studies found that ABA as a treatment for autism was more effective than any of the other techniques. The children who received intensive ABA developed a wider range of skills compared to children who received other forms of treatment.

Can ABA Be Used For Older Persons With Autism?

Research has shown that ABA is effective in children, teens and adults with Autism.  ABA techniques are also effective in the management of some undesirable behaviors that are associated with autism. Over the years, there are several programs that have incorporated ABA into other comprehensive treatment options designed for children and adults with autism. However, it is unfortunate that there have only been a few studies on the effectiveness of ABA in adults.

Resources on ABA related research:

www.behavior.org/autism

www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter3/sec6.html#autism

www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/eip/menu.htm

seab.envmed.rochester.edu

What does ABA Involve?

ABA treatment is by no means a “one size fits all” kind of approach. On the contrary, a unique program must be developed for each and every individual depending on their interests, needs, skills, preferences and living situation. However, there are some things that are common to all ABA intervention programs.

  • All aspects of the intervention must be developed and monitored by a professional in the field of behavior analysis.
  • Before the initial treatment goals are identified, the learner’s skills and their family’s preferences must be properly assessed.
  • Once the assessment is complete, the behavior analyst can come up with a set of treatment goals.
  • The learner’s progress must be evaluated on a regular basis.
  • The behavior analyst should review the learner’s progress regularly so as to fine tune the programs to the learner’s goals.
  • The learner must be instructed in skills areas such as social, communication, play, academic and motor skills in accordance to set goals.
  • The skills should be broken down into smaller manageable parts so that the learner is able to progress from simple to complex skills without too much difficulty.
  • Emphasis should be placed on skills that are aimed at ensuring that the learner becomes self reliant both in the short and long run.
  • The program must combine both adult directed and learner initiated techniques.
  • The learner should be provided with both planned and naturally occurring learning opportunities so that they can learn and practice their skills in both structured and unstructured situations.
  • Learning should be done consistently for a specified number of hours every week.
  • The learner should receive positive reinforcement every time they learn and practice desirable behaviors.
  • The learning environment should be fun and abundant in positive social interactions.
  • Harmful behaviors that interfere with learning should not be reinforced. 
  • Trainers should use appropriate techniques to enable learners carry over the skills that they have learnt to other places, people and times.
  • Parents should receive training so as to enable them to teach and support their children whenever they spend time with them.
  • Program staff should have regular meetings with the parents so as to review the impacts of the intervention programs.

What Can One Expect from ABA?

While ABA intervention can help individuals with autism learn a wide variety of skills, most learners require properly planned interventions implemented over a long period of time. Since a different ABA program must be developed for every individual, such programs are bound to vary depending on the individual’s age, strengths and weaknesses among other factors. The rate of improvement also varies from one individual to the next. While some are quite fast in acquiring skills, others are very slow. In addition, an individual may acquire a certain skill very fast e.g. reading but struggle with other skills.

Where can one get ABA Intervention?

Due to the high demand for ABA intervention, there all sorts of individuals and agencies out there claiming that they provide ABA intervention. Parents should be cautious when choosing someone or an agency to do ABA their child. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is an excellent source when attempting to locate a Behavior Analyst. All board certified individuals have been through rigorous coursework/supervision and have passed the certification exam. When selecting a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) it is important to ensure that they have an extensive background/experience with Autism and are familiar with developing intensive ABA programs for children on the spectrum.

Here are a few points that parents should consider when selecting an ABA program.

  • ABA programs / interventions should be directed by professional behavior analysts and preferably those who are certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. The chosen individual should also have training and experience in the field of behavior analysis and Autism (Usually a master’s or PHD in psychology)
  •  The chosen ABA program must have all the features described above.
  • Parents should be able to participate in the training sessions.

Resources on ABA practitioners:

www.BACB.com

www.apbahome.net

www.behavior.org/autism

Carolina Center for ABA opening new locations

The Carolina Center for ABA & Autism Treatment is opening two new clinic locations this month.  They will be located in Fayetteville, NC and Charlotte, NC.   Please see website for location address at http://www.carolinacenterforaba.com.

Local News

North Carolina Legislature came back in session on Wednesday, January 26.

We will continue to post updates as they revisit Autism insurance legislation.

Our Services

Our Services

All services performed by “Board Certified” or “Board Certified Eligible” individuals under the guidance of NC Licensed Psychologists.

Consultation

All Consultation services are provided in the child’s home or within the clinic setting (depending on preference). Home based services are available throughout North Carolina. On-site services are provided at our clinic setting in Cary. Consultation services are performed by a Board Certified Consultant under the guidance of a NC Licensed Psychologist. Services include, but are not limited to, program planning, direct supervision/training of program staff, program updates and group training/seminars. Consultation can be performed without the employment of a tutor.

Private Consultation Requirements

Non-Tricare clients are required to have a minimum of 2 hours of consultation each month. However, it typically takes approximately 4 hours a month to run a good program that meets all the needs of the child and the family.

TriCare/ECHO Authorized Services

All services are performed by a Board Certified or Board Certified Eligible individuals under the guidance of a NC Licensed Psychologist. The Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) is a supplemental program to the basic TRICARE program. ECHO provides financial assistance for an integrated set of services and supplies to eligible active duty family members (including family members of activated National Guard or Reserve members).

Eligibility for TriCare Autism Demonstration Project:

  • Age 18 months and older
  • Registered in the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)
  • Diagnosed with one of the following:
    • Autistic Disorder (AD)
    • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)
    • Asperger’s Syndrome (AS)
    • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS)

Note: If diagnosed before this demonstration began (March 15, 2008), children do not need to be re-diagnosed.

To inquire about TriCare programs please speak to your local TriCare representative. You must be preapproved through ECHO prior to beginning services.

Standard ECHO Program

Board Certified Consultants provide upwards of 25 hours per month of pre-authorized services. Services include, but are not limited to, programming, training, tutoring and consultation. Creative Consultants submits claims for services and families are responsible for their pre-determined, monthly co-pay.

ECHO Demonstration Project

Functional Language Tutors provide intense 1:1 training under the direct programming of a Board Certified Consultant. Consultation and family training are provided in conjunction with 1:1 Tutoring. Both clinic-based and home-based services are available. All services must be pre-authorized by Tricare/ECHO. Creative Consultants submits claims for services and families are responsible for their pre-determined, monthly co-pay.

Our Team

Owner/Director

Denise Freeman DeCandia / BCABA

Denise discovered her passion for working with children with Autism when hired as a lead therapist for several programs in Albany, NY. She moved to NC in 1997 where she took a management position which allowed her to create and manage Functional Language Programs for children statewide. In 2003 she joined the Board of Directors at The Mariposa School for Children with Autism. She spent the next 4 years as Program Director of the school where she created and managed on-site programming, consulted with school districts/families across the country, and conducted on going seminars for parents and professionals. In 2006 Denise ‘handed over the reigns’ to the well-trained staff at The Mariposa School and sought to open a consulting company for children who were better served by clinic-based and home-based programs. Creative Consultants was formed and a team of highly respected Consultants/ Trainers joined the team shortly after its conception. Her mission is to serve those children/families that need the services the most. She enrolled Creative Consultants as a Tricare/ECHO provider, allowing military families to receive services at little to no cost to them. She is an advocate for affordable services and works diligently in the efforts to secure coverage for services through private insurance. She is dedicated to providing intense, individualized, quality services and looks forward to many more years of serving the Autism community.

Consultants

Monique Baker / BCABA

Monique is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri with a BS in Early Childhood Special Education. Monique began working with children with Autism and related disorders in 1999 doing in home and school programs, first as a tutor and then in 2003 as a consultant under the supervision of a BCBA. Monique completed her BCaBA coursework from FIT and is now a board certified consultant for Creative Consultants.

Brenn Linens, BCABA

Brenn graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She completed her BCABA course work with the University of North Texas. Brenn has been working in the Applied Behavior Analysis field since October 2003 when she joined The Mariposa School for children with Autism. She held several positions at Mariposa: one on one therapist, lead instructor, assistant program director, and program director. Brenn joined the Creative Consultants team in July of 2007 and is the lead Consultant for families in Wake County and the surrounding areas

Katrina Johnson, MS, BCBA, LPA

Katrina Johnson is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a North Carolina Licensed Psychological Associate. Katrina graduated from Elon University in 2004 with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Human Services. In 2008, she obtained her master’s degree in Child Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from East Carolina University and became licensed as an LPA. As a graduate student, Katrina presented research at numerous conferences in Florida and North Carolina and served as the student representative for NCABA in 2006. Following graduation, she worked as a behavior specialist at the May Institute in Georgia and became certified as a BCBA in 2010. Since 2003, Katrina has had experience working in group homes, in-home programs, schools, community and parent workshops, and clinics where she conducted psychological and educational assessments, as well as provided therapy for children and adolescents with Autism, ADHD, behavioral problems, and Learning Disabilities.

Leigh Mahan, BCABA

Leigh is a graduate of Anderson University with a BS in Biology and a double minor in Psychology and Chemistry. Leigh began working with children with Autism in June 2002 within home ABA/VB program settings. After graduation, Leigh joined the staff at the Mariposa School. She served the school as an Instructor I, Instructor II, and Lead Instructor. Leigh completed her coursework for her BCABA via the University of North Texas and received her certification in March 2007. She joined the Creative Consultants team in June 2007.

Ashley Petty

Ashley graduated from Nova Southeastern University in 2008 with a BS in Psychology. She is originally from Dallas, Texas but moved to North Carolina after high school to go to UNC-Asheville. Ashley began working with children with Autism in 2004 when one of her relatives was diagnosed. She worked in in-home programs for two years and spent a summer working at Camp Royall, a TEACCH based summer camp for people with ASD. She moved back to Dallas in 2006 and began working at a verbal behavior and applied behavior based center for children with autism. There she learned the importance of mand training and taught children to speak using vocals, sign language, and selection based communication systems. Ashley completed her coursework for the BCABA examination through Florida Institute of Technology and was certified as an assistant behavior analyst in August, 2009. She has been working with Creative Consultants since March, 2009.

Betsy Pippin, MS, BCBA, LPA

Betsy is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Psychological Associate, with accreditations obtained in December 2003 and July 2004, respectively. In 1998, Betsy earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In 2003, under the Direction of James M. Johnston, she earned a M.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis in Developmental Disabilities from Auburn University. Post-graduate, Betsy returned to North Carolina and started as a Staff Psychologist at Murdoch Developmental Center. Since that time, Betsy has primarily worked as the Staff Psychologist for the STARS (Specialized Treatment for Adolescents in a Residential Setting) and BART (Behaviorally Advanced Residential Treatment) programs at Murdoch, serving individuals statewide that have developmental disabilities and who demonstrate extreme and dangerous forms of aberrant behavior. Betsy has experience with intellectual and adaptive assessment, design of behavioral techniques, monitoring of behavior intervention plans and client behavior, staff training, and overall program consultation. Betsy joined the Creative Consultants team in July 2009 and provides oversight of behavior programming, as well as supervises the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts.

Callie Plattner, MS, BCBA, LPA

Calandra “Callie” Plattner is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Psychological Associate with accreditation obtained in March 2008 and November 2008 respectively. Callie obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Elon University in 2006. She then went on to complete her master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with a concentration in Developmental Disabilities from Auburn University in 2007. While obtaining her master’s degree, Callie worked as a Behavior Analyst for East Alabama Mental Health/Mental Retardation. Post-graduate, she returned to North Carolina and has worked as the Staff Psychologist for the PATH (Partners in Autism Treatment and Habilitation) program at Murdoch Developmental Center. Overall, she has worked in multiple settings including school consultation, 1:1 in-home therapy, group homes, workshop training for staff and parents, as well as presenting research at a number of professional conferences. Callie joined the Creative Consultants team in 2009 and provides oversight of behavior programming as well as supervises the Board Certified Associate Behavior Analysis. Callie is also on the board of the North Carolina Association of Behavior Analysts.

Katie Cole Strathmann, MSW, BCBA

Katie Cole Strathmann is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has worked in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis since 2003. She has been board certified since August of 2007. Katie began her career in ABA working as a 1:1 Therapist on an ABA team for children with Autism in Pennsylvania. After earning her Masters in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh, Katie began her Behavior Analysis coursework at The University of North Texas and worked alongside several Board Certified Behavior Analysts developing ABA programs for children with Autism. Katie worked as a consultant for children with Autism in Pennsylvania for 1 year before relocating to North Carolina, to work at The Mariposa School. At Mariposa, Katie worked as a 1:1 Instructor and then as a Program Director, for 3 years, designing and implementing programs with a strong Verbal Behavior component. She has since joined the team at Creative Consultants and continues to develop and implement ABA programs within a framework of Verbal Behavior.

Kimberly Tyler

Kim is a graduate of the University of North Carolina with a double major in Psychology and Recreation and Leisure Studies. She began working with children with Autism in 1998 in a home ABA program. She taught 5 and 6th grade special education in a public middle school for a year before joining the staff at the Mariposa School as a therapist in 2003 where she practiced Verbal Behavior. She worked as an instructor, assistant program director, and later as a program director in the 3 years employed at the Mariposa School. In December of 2005, she finished her coursework for the BCABA program through The University of North Texas and became certified in March of 2006. She has been with Creative Consultants ever since.

Tutors

Sara Carbone

Sara graduated from Elon University in 2008 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. She began working with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the Mariposa school in April of 2008. At the Mariposa School she provided one-on-one instruction focusing on the principals of Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior strategies for two years. Sara became part of Creative Consultants team in July of 2008. She is currently pursuing her BCaBA from the Florida Institute of Technology and a Masters degree in Speech Pathology at Eastern Carolina University.

Ashley Chastain

Ashley graduated in 2007 from Elon with a BA in Special Education and Elementary Education. While working as a CAPP worked for children with Down Syndrome she had the opportunity to observe ABA therapy sessions and became interested in ABA. She has also worked as a first grade teacher and as a fourth grade teacher in an inclusion classroom. In 2010 she became a tutor for children with autism and came on board with Creative Consultants. She is working towards a Masters in Education which she will receive in May of 2011. Ashley will also complete her BCBA requirements from Penn State in December 2011.

Suzanne Derby

Suzanne received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Smith College in 2006. It was there that she first began working directly with children with autism however she had been working in early childhood education since high school. After graduating she came back to North Carolina and started working at The Mariposa School for Children with Autism where she also began course work to become board certified. After leaving Mariposa she worked privately as a Verbal Behavior therapist while also working to get a dual master’s degree in Social Work and in Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was through her master’s program that she came to Creative Consultants initially to meet the field practicum requirements for her degree and now as a full-time tutor. She is currently finishing her BCBA coursework through the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and expects to sit for her board exam in the Spring of 2011.

Mackenzie Eckard

Mackenzie Eckard is currently seeking her undergraduate degree at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She will graduate in May 2011. She is pursuing a degree in Psychology with a Concentration in Clinical Counseling and a Minor in Art. She has been doing ABA privately contracted since August 2009. She plans to get a Master’s degree when she graduates and begin her BCBA coursework. She joined the Creative Consultants team in August 2010.

Christina Erben

Christina Erben is a graduate of Methodist University in North Carolina with a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication and a Minor in Art. Prior to working with Creative Consultants she has worked with The Autism Society of North Carolina, Easter seals, The Arc of Cumberland County, and Team Daniel to provide Developmental Therapy and CAP Services. She has been employed at Creative Consultants since September 2009. She will be enrolling in Graduate School in the Spring of 2011. She is currently enrolled at the Florida Institute of Technology to complete BCaBA coursework and will begin BCBA courseowork after enrolling in Graduate School. Christina is planning on taking the BCBA qualifying exam in 2012.

Heather Faber

Heather Faber is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s in biology with a minor in psychology. After graduating in 2005, she worked as a mental health case manager implementing person centered plans with adult and adolescent clients. In 2007 she enrolled full time in the Master’s of Social Work (Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse) program at Fayetteville State University. At this time she began to work with children with autism at The Autism Society of North Carolina. She assisted children in learning functional language, socialization, and life skills allowing them to become more independent. In May of 2009, Heather graduated with a Master’s in Social Work.. She is currently continuing her education at The University of North Texas, where she is completing BCBA coursework. Heather plans to take the BCBA exam in May 2011. Heather has been employed at Creative Consultants since January 2009.

Sharonda Ferguson

Sharonda is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a major in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. She began working with individuals on the ASD Spectrum in 2000 as a 1:1 at the Autism Society of North Carolina. She supported adults and children in developing functional language, socialization, and life skills. Since then, she has held positions within the organization as a Community Services Supervisor and Community Services Coordinator in which she developed, coordinated, and implemented person centered plans. Sharonda graduated from Webster University in 2008 with a MA in Mental Health Counseling and will be working on obtaining her LPC. In the fall of 2009 she will begin her coursework to obtain her BCBA through Penn State University. Sharonda joined the Creative Consultant team in June 2009.

Katie Finnegan

Katie is a graduate of the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin with a B.S. in criminal justice. After working in the juvenile division of the Milwaukee Police Department, Katie decided to pursue her master’s degree in special education. During that time she worked for the Early Autism project in Wisconsin as a Behavioral Therapist providing in-home therapy with children along the Autism Spectrum. Katie recently moved to Fayetteville NC with her husband as he is stationed there at Ft. Bragg. Katie joined the Creative Consultants team in May of 2009 and is working to complete her BCABA coursework through the Florida Institute of Technology.

Rachael Herring

Rachael attended the University of NY at Oswego for her undergraduate work in Secondary Education. She moved to NC in 2003 and began educating herself in ABA/Verbal Behavior. She took a position where she was an ABA tutor for children with Autism, working under the direction of an ABA Consultant. She joined the Creative Consultants team in January of 2008 and will begin BCABA coursework in 2009.^

Melissa Holt

Melissa graduated summa cum laude from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and became part of the Creative Consultants team in August 2010. In addition to working with children on the autism spectrum, Melissa is the mother of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome. She is also a fluent Spanish speaker.

Kyle Jones

Kyle graduated from Penn State University with a BS in Elementary Education. He is currently working to complete his BCABA coursework through the Florida Institute of Technology. Kyle first began working with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in 2007 as a Therapeutic Staff Support worker in Pennsylvania school-based settings. In 2008, Kyle moved to North Carolina and worked as a 1:1 therapist at the Mariposa School for Children with Autism and at A Small Miracle as a habilitation technician. Kyle joined the Creative Consultants team in January of 2010.

Kim Piper

Kim is a graduate of the University of Montana/Bozeman with a B.S. in Film and Television Production. She worked in the Montana public school system for two years assisting with the implementation of speech and language services to children between the ages of 3-21 and with a broad range of disabilities including Aspergers, Down Syndrome, and Autism. As a military wife, Kim was transferred with her husband to southern California and continued to work in the public school system. She had the opportunity to spend three years assisting in an Autism specific-ABA infused grade school classroom. Now in North Carolina, Kim is working to complete her BCABA coursework through Penn State University and has joined the Creative Consultants team in January of 2009.

Felicia Stokes

Felecia graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with double major in Psychology and African American Studies. She has also completed her coursework for certification in Special Education General Curriculum K-12. She has worked with individuals with autism since 2001. Her career started in group homes in which she facilitated development of social, life, and vocational skills. She has also worked with children with Autism in the school setting, as well as, Maripos. in a summer program focusing on social skills. She will begin her coursework to become a certified BCABA in October 2010.

Amy Wilhelm

Amy graduated from Penn State University in 2003 with a B.S. degree in Psychology and Anthropology. She began working with children with Autism and other disabilities during her time at Penn State and have been ever since. She moved to North Carolina in 2004 to begin working at the Mariposa School for Children with Autism. While at the Mariposa School, She was an Instructor I and an Instructor II. She has finished her coursework for her BCABA which was completed through the University of North Texas. Amy began working with the team at Creative Consultants in August of 2009.

Front Office

Rosanne Jones

Rosanne relocated from Long Island, NY in 2007. She came to NC to join her four daughters, and her wonderful grandson. Since relocating to NC she has welcomed two more grandsons into her family. She has been the Office Manager for more than a year now, and is very excited to be a part of the team. She loves the atmosphere at the Creative Consultants Clinic, and adores all the children and families that she has contact with. Her role allows her to support all Creative Consultants staff and the families in which they serve.

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