Meet Our ABA Therapists

Meet Our ABA Therapists

Emily Gibson

Team Lead Therapist & Support Group Facilitator
egibson@autismchicago.com
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Emily received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Governors State University, with a concentration in Mindfulness studies.  She is currently working toward her Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Counseling at Governors State University.  Emily has always had a passion for working with children and is a devout advocate for children with special needs.  As a Team Lead Therapist, she aspires to promote and enhance the proficiencies and well being of both child and family.

Danielle Helsel

Team Lead Therapist & Social Media Manager
dhelsel@autismchicago.com
Danielle Helsel

Danielle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Clinical/Counseling Psychology with a minor is Sociology at Saint Xavier University.  When studying for her undergrad, she took a class that focused on children on the spectrum and fell in love with the idea of helping children with autism.  She believes watching children grow beyond their parents’ expectations is the greatest feeling in the world, especially when she gets to be a part of that success.  She is planning on continuing her education to earn a Master of Arts in Applied behavior Analysis (ABA) with an Emphasis in Autism.

Jamie Kovalcik

Head of Training & Development and Team Lead Therapist
jkovalcik@autismchicago.com
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Jamie earned both her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Health Science at Governors State University. She has over five years experience working with children and adults with special needs. “My favorite part about working with children is being able to watch them laugh, play and really enjoy therapy time.” Jamie enjoys teaching children new skills that will help shape them for a lifetime. Jamie always strives to help make a difference in people’s lives, and she loves helping the children reach their goals while advancing their development.  Jamie is a Registered Behavioral Technician and has a VBMAPP certificate.

Jamie Schuld

Team Lead Therapist & Potty Training Coordinator
jschuld@autismchicago.com
Jamie 3

Jamie is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Applied Behavioral Science at the university of National Louis University.  Growing up with a brother on the Spectrum is what initially led Jamie into the field of ABA. Jamie is extremely passionate about helping children reach their fullest potential. “I am fairly new to ABA but my passion for this field continues to grow everyday while working with our kids.” She believes ABA is the foundation for the children to be successful in all areas of their lives.  Implementing a new way of learning through ABA’s unique approach to teaching has been an eye opening experience for her.  “I’m very excited to learn and grow along side with all the kids who I am so passionate about helping.  I learn something new from every child that I work with everyday. It is such an amazing thing to see when a child gains their own voice.”

Janelle Zukowski

Team Lead Therapist
jzukowski@autismchicago.com
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Janelle graduated with honors from Huntington University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Missions. Janelle’s passion for children with Autism began when her nephew was diagnosed at age 4. While pursuing her undergrad, she completed an extensive research project on Autism Spectrum Disorder and began her journey as a behavior therapist providing clinic-based therapy to children diagnosed with ASD in Northern Indiana and has recently relocated to the Chicago area where she joined our team. As a registered behavior technician, Janelle has worked with clients between the ages of three to thirteen, allowing her to experience an array of children on the spectrum. In her free time, Janelle enjoys traveling and sight seeing with her husband. She has plans to further advance her education in Behavior Analysis.

Adrienne Garcia

Therapist & Billing Administrator
agarcia@autismchicago.com
Adrienne-Garcia

Adrienne graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Adrienne is going into her second year in the ABA field.  She entered this field to pursue her passion and desire to help children and to have a successful influence on their lives.  Adrienne loves the rewards that are derived from working with the children, whether it’s a hug, a smile, or simply observing the positive effect this form of treatment has on them.  She is planning on continuing her education in the ABA field.

Renee Benjamin

Therapist
rbenjamin@autismchicago.com
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Renee graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Renee is currently working towards her Master’s degree in Psychology at National Louis University. After getting her Master’s, Renee plans on pursing her education and getting a PhD in neuropsychology. Renee has two years of experience, as a supervisor working with adults and the transition to children was everything she was looking for. Helping children has always been Renee’s passion and longtime dream. Renee continues to work on building strong and endearing relationships with the families and children of Applied Behavioral Consulting.

Ariana Romero

Therapist
aromero@autismchicago.com
Ariana-Romero

Ariana graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in the field of Speech and Hearing Sciences.  She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in speech and language pathology. Ariana has always enjoyed working with children, she is grateful that her love for working with kids led her to finding her current passion and career in ABA. She has fallen in love with ABA methods of teaching, but most of all she has fallen in love with all the amazing children whose lives she feels very lucky to be a part of. “Being a part of helping children excel in their lives makes me happy and I know that I chose the right path.”

Shannon Collins

Therapist
scollins@autismchicago.com
Shannon 1

Shannon graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and a minor in Sociology. She wishes to pursue a Master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Science. Shannon is new to ABA, and has spent this past year learning skills that will help her advance in this field. She has always enjoyed working with children; helping them to develop their skills and improve their quality of life. Shannon’s dedication to the program does not stop after work hours. She is always thinking of new ways to help her clients thrive. “I am grateful that these children are a part of my life. It is amazing to see how far my clients have come since I have started, and I am proud to be a part of the amazing teams that help them find their voice.”

Brian Durocher

Therapist
bdurocher@autismchicago.com
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Brian earned his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Human services from National Louis University. Brian is new to working with children on the autism spectrum. He enjoys working with children on the spectrum because of the immeasurable amounts of joy brought to his life when a child makes progress as well as attains happiness through his teaching and therapy. Furthermore, he really enjoys the challenges presented to him on a daily basis, because through a little bit of patience, the progress of these children is exponential.

Presley Fettig

Therapist
pfettig@autismchicago.com
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Presley earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Indiana University. She is currently working to get her Master of Arts degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with an emphasis in autism. Presley has always had an interest in working with children who have special needs and volunteered in the special education room during elementary school. During her time at Indiana University, her internship involved teaching children with autism social skills.  Presley is looking forward to working with children who have autism and helping them learn more skills!

Jillian Hentschel

Therapist
jhentschel@autismchicago.com
Jillian 1

Jillian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from North Central College, as well as a Master of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Psychological Assessment from National Louis University. ABA piqued her interest after she read a number of studies on the subject, all of which touted the method’s success. Eager to see it in action, she began working as an ABA Therapist. Now she marvels at the progress and accomplishments of the children with whom she works. She plans to return to school to study ABA in more depth and grow as a therapist.

En Pu Kuo

Therapist
ekuo@autismchicago.com
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Enpu earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Sociology. Enpu has a great passion for working with children, and she has numerous volunteer experiences with children. Her biggest motivation being an ABA therapist is seeing the growth of every child, step by step. Enpu believes every child is unique and special. She enjoys finding the special talents of each child and watching them grow.

DeAndre McLaurin

Therapist
dmclaurin@autismchicago.com
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DeAndre grew up in Joliet, Illinois. He graduated from Concordia University Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He then completely his Post-Baccalaureate certificate in Health Psychology from National Louis University. DeAndre has had many different experiences working with children. He has worked as a substitute teacher as well as kid’s dance instructor and DJ interactive performer. He enjoys working with children and helping to further their development in all environments. DeAndre is currently pursuing  his Master’s degree in Psychology and hopes to work as a sports psychologist for youth in the future.

Kristen Olson

Therapist
kolson@autismchicago.com
Kristen 1

Kristen received her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University and a Learning Behavioral 1 Specialist endorsement from University of Phoenix. When Kristen became a one on one aide for a student with autism, she knew she wanted to continue to work with children with special needs.  Since earning her LBS1 endorsement, Kristen has gained six years of experience working with children and adults with special needs. “My favorite part of being an ABA therapist is making such an impact on these kids lives.” Kristen loves watching the children learn new skills and reach goals. “Working with children with special needs is the most rewarding job!”

Janine Shalash

Therapist
jshalash@autismchicago.com
Janine 1

Janine graduated from Moraine Valley Community College with an Associates degree in Psychology. She is currently pursing her Bachelor’s degree in Clinical psychology at Lewis University. She is certified in basic life skills and CPR. She fell in love with the field after going through the experience of her younger brother being diagnosed with Autism at the age of two and watching him go through speech, occupational, behavioral, and developmental therapy. “Gaining the experience, I have the desire to help other children grow and be a part of their developments and positive lives.”  She strongly believes that ABA helps children grow and knows they will create a beautiful future. Thinking about what the children will learn from ABA is so rewarding.

Greg Simms

Therapist
gsimms@autismchicago.com
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Greg earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education from Benedictine University and is currently pursuing his Masters in Transition to Teaching at Calumet College of Saint Joseph. Greg has logged over 200 clinical hours in multiple Special Education classrooms as well as experience in an alternative classroom within the Valparaiso Community Schools system.  “My favorite part of teaching children is watching them take the information that is presented to them and have them use it in their own way”.  Greg’s spare time is also spent with children and young adults. Greg coaches 7th grade Football as the Offensive Coordinator and as the Freshman Head Baseball coach. Greg enjoys watching students learn and grow and develop not only on the field but also in ABA therapy.

Perla Vargas

Therapist
pvargas@autismchicago.com
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Perla grew up in the central rural area of Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Pre-Occupational Therapy from Concordia University Chicago. After graduating she began working as a paraprofessional aide to a young child with an emotional disability. It was this experience that motivated and interested her to enter the world of ABA. She is very passionate about working with children and is excited to learn more about the ABA field. “I am fortunate enough to have received this opportunity and cannot wait to help further the development of these amazing children.” Perla plans to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy and work with young children in an educational setting.

Meet Our Management Team

Tiffany Thomas

Program Manager
tthomas@autismchicago.com
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Tiffany graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Psychology. She has worked as a behavioral therapist for 4.5 years providing in-home ABA services to young children with autism. What she enjoys most about her job are the immediate rewards of watching young children grow and thrive within their natural environments; “I enjoy being able to observe the direct results of ABA implementation and team effort. I’ve witnessed firsthand how it can positively change lives of children and their families, and it’s so inspiring to be a part of it.” Tiffany is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Behavior Analysis & Therapy at Southern Illinois University to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Nina Koehler

Program Manager
nkoehler@autismchicago.com
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Nina Received her degree in Applied Behavioral Science from National Louis University.  Nina is very passionate about working with children with Autism and has over 7 years’ experience treating children in a variety of settings.  “In all my experience with different therapies and treatments, ABA has been a total game changer in terms of effectiveness” Nina has a brother with Down Syndrome and Autism.  “I searched for a long time to find the most effective form of treatment for my brother.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  This form of therapy wasn’t nearly as prevalent when he was younger, and how I wish it was.”  Nina is dedicated to helping families like her own and is very passionate about this form of therapy.  Nina is currently working towards her Masters in Psychology, upon completion of her Master’s program she will be pursuing her BCBA.

Joseph Mitchell

Project Director, BCBA
E-mail
Joseph Mitchell
Joseph Mitchell

Joseph Mitchell

Project Director, BCBA
jmitchell@autismchicago.com

Read About Joseph

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