Meet Our Clinical LeadershipExperience, Integrity, Empathy – the AHSS Team
Erica P., MS, BCBA – Chief Clinical Officer
Erica holds a BA in Psychology from Bradley University and an MS in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University. In addition, she is certified in Picture Exchange Communication System (Pyramid) and as a Quality Behavioral Solutions (QBS) Safety Care Trainer.
Erica joined AHSS as a BCBA for the Northwest region in 2013. She was quickly promoted to LBCBA for the newly established Far Northwest Region; and then to Network Director for all the north regions. She has experience as an in-home therapist, applying the principles of ABA and implementing discrete trial training procedures. She also worked as a behavior analyst with Trinity Services in the Northwest Chicago suburbs, where, in one case, she taught functional communication skills to an individual with autism that reduced target behaviors from 200 per month to 10.
Erica has worked with children, teens and adults and is particularly good at reducing difficult behaviors.
Amber R., MS, BCBA – South Network Director
Amber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a BA in Psychology with an English Minor and a MS in Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis specialization. Her master’s thesis was managing the positive and negative inner behavior of adolescents through fluency training.
She has worked in the field of behavior analysis for the past seven years, achieving her Board Certification in 2010.
She has worked with adolescents and young adults ages 5-21 within a special education day school for students with autism and other disorders and within a residential treatment facility.
In addition to conducting functional behavior assessments and writing individual behavior intervention plans, she has also taken part in the collection and preparation of data, meeting and coordinating with multi-disciplinary therapy teams, and arranging employment orientations.
Amber is well respected by our clients for her knowledge, energy, and leadership of her collaborative teams.
Megan F., BCBA – North Network Director
Megan graduated from Florida State University in 2002 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Sociology She then attended Southern Illinois University and received her M.S. in Behavior Analysis and Therapy in 2005. Megan became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2006.
Prior to joining AHSS, Megan worked in various settings as a BCBA including: a therapeutic day school for children with autism; residential facilities and day treatment programs for adults with disabilities; and centers that provided in-clinic and home-based services for children with autism and behavior disorders.
Megan has articles published in three journals and has presented research at six conferences, including the International Conference of the Association for Behavior Analysis in Campinas, Brazil.
Celeste P. – Training Manager
Celeste Plautz received her degree in Biology from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL. She has worked with and applied foundational behavior principles since 2005. Her work in behavior started by using positive reinforcement strategies with marine mammals at John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. In 2011, Celeste decided to join our staff and apply her knowledge and experience in behavior to children with autism. Having a passion for both shaping behavior and working with kids she enjoyed this transition.
In 2013 she was promoted to start our CTM Training Department, taking point on all frontline staff orientations and certification classes. She has since developed the department to six full time staff members across all three of our markets (Illinois, Michigan, and Colorado). Every year she is amazed at AHSS’s growth and connectedness as a whole, and we’re so grateful she has been and continues to be an integral part of our mission to empower progress.
Stephanie B. MA, BCBA – Director of Quality, Research, & Privacy
Stephanie Bates, M.A., BCBA has worked in the field of Behavior Analysis since 2005 when she began providing in-home therapy services under the direction of a BCBA and an SLP. She went on to receive her Masters degree from Western Michigan University, where she continued working in the home setting as well as working in the school context and with adults in residential and day treatment programs. Upon moving to Illinois, her clinical work focused more specifically on children and adolescents with significant challenging behavior, both in home and center contexts. She also expanded her staff training repertoire by partnering with school districts to provide professional development and student-specific supports.
Stephanie has been with AHSS since 2013 in various roles and joined our Training Team as the Training BCBA in 2016. Stephanie’s current role with AHSS is another step toward her growing interest in applying her behavioral knowledge to staff training and larger organizational systems.
Dr. Marrea Winnega., BCBA – Director of School Consulting
Marrea earned her PhD in Psychology from UIC where she also serves as Assistant Professor. Dr. Winnega is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with more than 25 years experience working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Marrea is both a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a BCBA with particular expertise in implementing ABA programs in classroom environments. She is an expert in Verbal Behavior and developing communication skills in children with autism and has taught numerous workshops and courses on evidence based ABA methodologies. She has also published articles in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Journal of Mental Deficiency. She has been an invited speaker at numerous professional conferences on autism. Dr. Winnega earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with Honors, Cum Laude from Loyola University as well as a certificate in Behavior Analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Dr. Tracy Crowe – Manager of Center Based Clinical Operations
Tracy is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist with 14 years of experience supporting children on the Autism Spectrum and their families. She completed her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Iowa, a Master’s of Special Education in Autism/ABA at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a PhD in Communication Science and Disorders also at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Before coming to AHSS, Tracy worked collaboratively with a variety of professionals in home, school, and clinical environments. At the Thompson Center for Autism in Columbia, MO, she served on multidisciplinary diagnostic and intensive behavior intervention teams. On these teams, she worked closely with BCBAs to design intervention protocols focused on increasing expected means of communication. Tracy also worked as a District-Wide Autism Support Specialist in a large public school system where she helped design behavioral programming for mainstreamed students as well as directly supported five Autism-specific classrooms utilizing ABA techniques.
Kim P., BCBA – Manager of Clinical Quality Assurance
Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Carleton College and a Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She first gained a passion for providing special assistance and supports when she worked as an English teacher and curriculum designer in Suwon, South Korea for two years.
Prior to joining AHSS, Kim’s practicum at The Chicago School included working as a behavior analyst for adults in day and residential settings as well as working intensively on in home programs. Since 2010, she has been a behavior therapist, providing one-on-one ABA therapy to several children under 8 years old with autism, implementing programs, collecting data and making data-based decisions, selecting and creating targets for acquisition, finding and creating materials and performing task analyses. She became a certified behavior analyst in May, 2012.
Kim has a passion for creating the energy and interaction with children on the spectrum that helps them achieve their full potential and has been achieving tremendous results with her clients.
Lisa Dworkin, MA, BCBA – Clinical Quality Consultant
Lisa Dworkin MA, BCBA graduated Magna Cum Laude from Macalester College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and holds a Masters in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from the Rehabilitation Institute at Southern Illinois University, one of the first programs devoted solely to the study of applied behavior analysis.
Lisa studied under Nate Azrin, Ph.D and Anthony Cuvo, Ph.D in the late 1970s and has a historical perspective of the growth and efficacy of ABA services. Lisa has more than 30 years of experience designing and managing behaviorally-based programs, both at an individual level and at a systems level, to effectively support people with developmental disabilities.
She is knowledgeable about all aspects of autism and developmental disabilities and has a passion for supporting staff to provide excellence in behavioral interventions. She has worked both inside and collaboratively with organizations including Glenkirk, Countryside Association for People with Disabilities, The Family Teaching Project, and various local and regional mental and behavioral health agencies.
Lead Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)
Claudia R., MS, BCBA – IL Southeast Region Lead
Claudia has great experience as both an ABA Instructor and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Beyond her years of experience as a BCBA in Illinois, where she has collaborated with teachers to write IEPs, conducted skills assessments and functional behavior assessments, written behavior plans and trained staff members in dealing with challenging behaviors as well as implementing academic and social programs for children with autism, Claudia has worked as an ABA instructor in Massachusetts, Texas and Lima, Peru.
She also proudly participated in the opening of the first Charter School for Children with Autism in New York. Prior to joining AHSS, she worked in the Chicago area at Giant Steps Therapeutic Day School and North Shore Pediatric Therapy. Claudia brings a positive energy to her work and delivers great results for her clients.
Claudia holds a BS in Applied Behavior Analysis from University of North Texas, along with a MS in Behavior Analysis from Simmons College. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Colleen M., MS, BCBA – IL Rockford Region Lead
Colleen McChristie graduated Cum Laude from Maryville University-St. Louis in 1991 majoring in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She earned a Master’s in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University in 2009.
Colleen has been a BCBA since 2009. She is also a licensed teacher in the State of Illinois. She holds licenses to teach Elementary Education (Type 3) and Early Childhood Education (Type 4) in the State of Illinois.
Prior to coming to Autism Home Support Services, she has worked in a variety of settings: schools, daycare centers, residential facilities, and in private homes. She has worked with both children and adults of all ability levels. Areas of interest include reducing problem behavior, teaching communication skills, working with Early Learners, and teaching Social Skills.
Colleen is Program Lead for our Rockford region, and we are so proud to have her on our team!
Jennifer R., BCBA – IL Southwest Region Lead
Jen received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Davis, with a double minor in German and comparative literature. She received her Master’s of Education degree in Instruction and Curriculum from Arizona State University.
Jen has been working in the field of ABA since 2006, first as a direct therapist and then as a case manager for in-home ABA. She became board certified as a BCaBA in 2009 and then as a BCBA in 2013. Jen has experience primarily with running in-home ABA therapy with kids ranging from ages 2-12 and has provided services across multiple states. She has experience ranging from very early verbal behavior intervention to high intensity behavior programs.
Jen began working as a BCBA for AHSS in 2014 and in 2017 she moved into the lead BCBA position for the southwest region.
Johnna S., BCBA – IL North/Northwest Region Lead
Johnna Soler holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Illinois at Springfield, as well as a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is currently working on her doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Prior to becoming a BCBA, Johnna worked as a Middle School Math teacher and as an in-home line therapist for children with Autism. After becoming certified, Johnna has utilized behavior analysis to train parents and therapists, teach preschool and elementary students, and to teach adults enrolled in courses to become BCBAs.
In August 2013, Johnna joined Autism Home Support Services to provide school consultations and supervise in-home programs for children with Autism. Johnna continues to provide these services in addition to supporting other BCBAs and clinical team members in the North/Northwest Region of Chicago.
Lyndsay S., BCBA – IL West Region Lead
Lyndsay Sarra is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who received a Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation Services in 1999 and a Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2003 from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Before accepting the role as a BCBA and Lead BCBA at Autism Home Support Services in October of 2014, she spent her time as the Lead BCBA at a therapeutic day school for children with autism. She also served as a BCBA and the Director for Applied Behavior Analysis Services for a private therapeutic clinic.
Lyndsay also spent eight years working as a Behavior Consultant for several school districts in North DuPage County. While working in the school system, she received a trainer certification in the MANDT physical management system. Prior to her time working in the public schools, she worked with adolescents and adults with traumatic brain injury and for the State of Illinois serving parents that were indicated and substantiated of abuse and neglect.
Lyndsay is passionate about supervising students pursuing a behavior analysis certification, working with families, and collaborating with other therapeutic disciplines. She also has extensive experience in consulting and training school professionals.
Nathalie D., BCBA – IL South Region Lead
Nathalie graduated from the Bradley University with a BS in Psychology, a Minor in Sociology, and an MA in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University. She has been a practicing BCBA since 2004 and has been working within the field of behavior analysis since 2002. Nathalie has devoted her career to providing services to children and adults on the autism spectrum.
Prior to working at AHSS, Nathalie was the Lead Behavior Analyst for Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic Schools overseeing behavior services at the therapeutic schools and adult vocational programs.
Nathalie brings experience in conducting functional behavior assessments and skills assessments, writing behavior intervention plans, as well as implementing, developing, and training others in discrete trial procedures and is trained in PECS and TEACCH.
Kristin H., BCBA – MI North Region Lead
Kristin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and her Master of Arts degree in Psychology from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Her master’s thesis, The effect of outdoor activity context on physical activity in preschool children was published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
During and post-graduate school, Kristin gained clinical experience working within multiple school districts in California. Prior to joining the AHSS team, Kristin spent more than three years working as a research coordinator at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research at Stanford University School of Medicine. Here, she managed research studies focused on understanding the pathogenesis of severe problem behavior shown by individuals with genetic disorders.
Throughout and beyond our expansion into Michigan, Kristin has continuously provided support and a strong sense of teamwork and community. Needless to say, she’s an invaluable member of the AHSS family!
Lynnae M., BCBA – CO Lead
Lynnae has nearly six years experience working with children and adolescents with Autism as a BCBA, Mental Health Therapist, Behavioral Therapist and Care Provider. She was recently a BCBA for North Shore Pediatric Therapy and a volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse.
She has created and updated Verbal Behavior and Discrete Trial Training programs and provided ABA services to those with Autism and related disabilities. Lynnae also has training in sign language.
Lynnae holds a BS in Psychology with a minor in Child Development and Family Science from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, and an MS in Educational Psychology – Community Counseling from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Milwaukee, WI.