Meet Our ABA Therapists

Meet Our ABA Therapists

Emily Gibson

Team Lead Therapist & Support Group Facilitator
egibson@autismchicago.com
Emily 1

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
Jamie 2

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

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!”

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.

Greg Simms

Therapist
gsimms@autismchicago.com
Greg 1

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.

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.

DeAndre McLaurin

Therapist
dmclaurin@autismchicago.com
Capture

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.

Loan Huynh

Line Therapist
lhuynh@autismchicago.com
Loan Huynh

Loan graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology. She is just beginning her work with children on the autism spectrum. She entered the ABA field because she wants to help clients and foster life skills that will lead to their most successful lives. Loan enjoys the teaching process and is already finding reward in seeing the progress that the clients make from session to session. She is inspired by the groundwork laid by the parents and the therapists at ABC. She is driven to develop her own skills to be a better therapist and become a bigger part of the clients’ growth. Loan is interested in pursuing a Master’s of Social Work so that she can continue to advocate for others.

Tiffany Czochara

Line Therapist
tczochara@autismchicago.com
Tiffany Czochara

Tiffany graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Science with a concentration in speech – language pathology. She will be pursuing her master’s degree in speech – language pathology this fall at Saint Xavier University in hopes of working as a pediatric speech pathologist. Tiffany is fairly new to working with children on the spectrum outside of a speech therapy setting however; she has always enjoyed working with kids. In college she worked as a childcare assistant, nanny and volunteered in a preschool and second grade classrooms. She is grateful to be able to have this experience to witness the progress each child makes through ABA therapy. Whether it is as an ABA or speech therapist, Tiffany wants to positively impact the lives of the children she works with.

Jessica Pecak

Line Therapist
jpecak@autismchicago.com
Jessica Pecak

Jessica graduated with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Concordia University Chicago. Although she is new to working with children on the spectrum, Jessica has recently discovered the ABA field and fallen in love with the idea of helping children develop the skills they need to lead happy and fulfilled lives. Jessica enjoys going to work everyday because she loves seeing her clients’ smiling faces and their eagerness to work. She believes every child is special, and it is important to give them the tools they need to be able to express themselves and grow in their own special way. She believes that a fun work environment allows the child to feel more at ease, and opens up the opportunity for expression of creativity.

Brenna Matykiewicz

Line Therapist
bmatykiewicz@autismchicago.com
Brenna Matykiewicz

Brenna earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminology and is continuing her education to earn her Masters in Statistical Analysis and Criminological research.  She spent over five years living in Munich, Germany as a nanny for children of all ages, and through that experience, she realized how rewarding working with children is.  She loves making a difference in the lives of the families and children she works with and seeing the progress that they make through ABA therapy.

Khushbu Dalal

Line Therapist
kdalal@autismchicago.com
Khushbu Dalal

Khushbu earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish and Neuroscience at Loyola University Chicago. She has always had a passion for working with children and has worked with them in various settings throughout her career. Khushbu currently works with the Department of Juvenile Justice and hopes to continue to make a difference in the lives of children. Khushbu is new to ABA, but in her short time has gained invaluable skills and admiration for the strength and love each child possesses. She believes that each child should be given hope and through ABA each child is able to find their own voice.

Meghan Condon

Line Therapist
mcondon@autismchicago.com
Meghan Condon

Meghan received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Northern Illinois University. She has always been drawn to the field of psychology and became interested in ABA after working with children on the spectrum in a childcare setting. Her favorite part about working with children is seeing them learn and develop in their own individual way. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree either in Applied Behavioral Analysis or Occupational therapy and continue to work with children on the spectrum.

Sarah Brandt

Line Therapist
sbrandt@autismchicago.com
Sarah Brandt

Sarah earned her Associates in Arts at Moraine Valley Community College and is currently in pursuit of her Bachelors in Psychology at National Louis University. She was a caregiver for two boys prior to joining ABC, a 5 year old and his 4-year-old brother with Autism, pre-diagnosis. She went through the entire diagnosis process with the family, parents, and child. The progress that everyone has made since then, including all its ups and downs in between, is what makes her strive to be a great therapist and to be there helping families on their own journey. She hopes to bring joy as well as progress to multiple families and most importantly the children in their lives. She loves playing with the kids but most importantly she enjoys being able to teach new things to them in fun and exciting ways!

Portia Shirani

Line Therapist
pshirani@autismchicago.com
Portia Shirani

Portia received her Bachelors of Science degree in Biomedicine from National University of Health Sciences and also holds a Doctorate of Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West with a specialty in Functional Medicine. After graduating with her Doctorate, Portia worked both as a Chiropractor and Senior ABA therapist. She was able to implement her expertise utilizing her clinical skills as well as applying therapy to her clients on the spectrum. Portia witnessed extraordinary development and milestones as she worked on incorporating ABA therapy with her clients. The ability to help her clients in real time and see results provided her with great satisfaction at the end of the day. In turn Portia is currently completing her Masters degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis in hopes to combine her specialties to help promote the growth and development of children with Autism to live their best quality life.

Meet Our Management Team

Tiffany Thomas

Program Manager
tthomas@autismchicago.com
Tiffany 1

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
Nina 1

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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