In 2001, Autism Behavior Consultants (ABC) was founded by Laura (Roberts) Haneline and has been providing intensive behavior intervention to families in the L.A., San Gabriel Valley, and Inland counties. Laura has taken advocacy to the next step, by becoming one of the founding board members of LA FEAT. Having previously held the position of co-founding member of the South Bay GFCF group, which is now the South Bay chapter of TACA (Talk About Curing Autism), as well as a past member of the Autism Society of Los Angeles.
In 1998, Laura's son "Nicky", at the age of 3, was diagnosed with autism. Due to the limited number of agencies and long waiting lists in the area, Laura was unable to find a clinic based program for her son. With limited options, Laura and several other parents developed a workshop model program that ultimately formed Autism Behavior Consultants.
Due to her son's lifetime disability, Laura is currently exploring transitional services for both adolescents and adults. The journey of her son's development has given her the opportunity to meet amazing parents and build lifetime relationships. Laura's greatest gifts are sharing her personal experiences, knowledge, and resources.
Heidi Montague, LMFT, BCBA, joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2004. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Biology and Psychology at Loyola Marymount University, located in Los Angeles, California. She later completed her master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California.
Heidi began her work in the field of behavior analysis in 1999 as a behavior therapist in the Los Angeles area. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she worked for the Minnesota Autism Center (formally known as F.E.A.T. of MN) as a senior behavior therapist. Upon returning to California in 2004 to attend graduate school, Heidi join the ABC as a case supervisor. She then moved to Clinical Director and now serves as the Executive Clinical Director at ABC.
In her role as Executive Clinical Director, Heidi works closely with the administration and clinical teams as they navigate the complexities of providing behavior analytic services across a variety of settings, delivery models and funding sources. She is passionate and committed in leading ABC to provide high quality and ethical treatment to their consumers.
Nickie Lau M.S., BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2002 after graduating from University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in Sociology. Her interest in the field of ABA begin in 2001 when she attended a behavior modification course taught by Dr. Ivar Lovaas. Nickie was later accepted into the Applied Behavior Analysis program at California State University, Los Angeles, where she received her Master of Science in Counseling under the mentorship of Dr. Michele D. Wallace, Dr. Randy V. Campbell, and Dr. Henry Schlinger.
Currently, Nickie is the Regional Director of Los Angeles, predominantly covering the San Gabriel, South Bay, and Long Beach areas. As the Regional Director, she works closely with the Executive Clinical Director on programs to increase organization health through business and clinical operations management. Some of her other responsibilities include providing mentorship and on-going training to BCBAs, BCBA supervisees, as well as those who are seeking to enter Masters programs.
Nickie continues to avidly attend ABA conferences and webinars to remain updated with research and trends in the field. She has presented at the California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA) conferences on topics of training, supervision dilemmas, and compassionate care. She maintains active memberships at different professional associations including CalABA, ABAI, APBA, CCBA, and CASP. She has held the volunteer position of Public Policy Chair on the Board of Directors at the California Consortium of Behavior Analysts (CCBA) since 2015 and has recently transitioned to the Marketing Chair. Additionally, she volunteers her time with the Latino Association for Behavior Analysis (LABA) to support their mission of disseminating evidence-based practices to both students and practitioners.
Carshena Tronnes M.A., BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2004 and is currently the Regional Clinical Director of Inland and Orange County. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English Literature from University of Oregon, located in Eugene, Oregon. She later completed her Master’s degree in Teaching from National University in La Jolla, California.
Carshena began her work in the field of autism in 2001 as a behavior interventionist. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree, she moved to California and began working in the field of ABA. She gained experience working in an interventionist and supervisory role. In her current role as Regional Director, Carshena’s caseload encompasses the Inland Empire. Her role includes overseeing the implementation of behavior intervention services for her clients in the home and school settings, designing and implementing trainings for ABC’s Case Supervisors, conducting training workshops for employees and parents, and overseeing client programs.
Nancy Valdivia, B.A., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2023 where she is currently the Human Resources Assistant. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Psychology and Criminology, Law and Society at University of California, Irvine.
In her role as an HR Assistant, Nancy supports the HR department by helping ensure the smooth operation of employee-related processes. Transitioning from a background in education, Nancy holds a steadfast commitment to learning and growing within the Human Resources field, all while contributing to the mission of Autilsm Behavior Consultants.
Ezinne Ugwuoke, B.S., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2022 where she is currently the Human Resources Assistant. Ezinne completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology Form Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA. She is currently in school completing her Master in Business Administration.
Sandra Cazares M.S., BCBA has been working at Autism Behavior Consultants since its inception in the fall of 2001. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Developmental Psychology. She received her Master’s of Science in Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles with an option in Applied Behavior Analysis.
During her undergraduate studies at UCLA, Sandra discovered the world of autism while working for a workshop family under the supervision from staff working at LIFE (Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention). She enrolled and completed the behavior modification courses taught by Dr. Ivar Lovaas and his teacher’s assistants and interned at LIFE before graduating from UCLA. There, she gained skills as a behavioral therapist as well as the role of supervisor. Sandra became an independent consultant after graduating in 2001 and worked with families in the South Bay.
Sandra currently serves as the Director of Staff Development as well as holding duties of a Clinical Director. She oversees ABC’s employee training and performance evaluation processes. As a Clinical Director, she provides services predominantly in the San Gabriel and Long Beach areas. Some of her responsibilities include providing individualized programming based on each of her client’s needs, teaching employee training workshops, providing on-going training to staff and parents, writing initial assessments, quarterly and monthly reports, conducting employee reviews and directing monthly team meetings.
Amanda Carrillo M.Ed., BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2017 as a Clinical Director in the Inland Empire. She received her Bachelor's of Arts degree with a major of Liberal Studies for Teaching from Chapman University in Orange, California. She later completed her Master’s degree in Special Education Consultation and Collaboration with an emphasis in Autism from Arizona State University.
Amanda began her work in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis in 2005 as a behavior interventionist working 1:1 with children with autism in schools and homes. Her love for ABA grew and she decided to pursue a career as a BCBA in 2010. After completing her Master’s program in 2011, Amanda worked as a Program Director for a behavior management Day Program for adults with Developmental Disabilities in Anaheim, CA. Here she worked with the adults on decreasing problem behaviors to allow greater success in community integration and employment. Amanda is also a proud wife and mother. She has three children, one of which is on the Autism Spectrum. She is passionate about working with individuals of all ages and celebrating each and every success!
Julia Rifa, M.A. joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2009 as a Behavior Interventionist. She started working with children with special needs in 2001 by teaching private swim instruction classes. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from California State University, Dominguez Hills in hopes of becoming a therapist. She went on to earn a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Psychology from CSUDH and took additional courses in marital and family therapy.
As a BCBA, Julia has found a passion and dedication in helping children and families reach their full potential and reaching meaningful outcomes in their lives.
Amy Lane, MA, BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2008 where she is currently a Clinical Director. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles. She completed her BCBA certification through Florida Institute of Technology’s online program. Amy began her career in mental health on the East Coast where she worked with adolescents and young adults suffering from depression, bi-polar disorder, ADD and ADHD. She continued to explore this field by providing group and individual counseling to adults in a live-in rehabilitation facility in Anaheim, CA. After these years of providing mental health services, Amy has found her passion in providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to children with Autism and related disorders.
She began her ABA work as a one-to-one behavior interventionist in home and school settings. She quickly became Case Supervisor, managing a variety of cases. Amy is now a Clinical Director in the Inland Empire where she creates and oversees programming, provides ongoing training to staff, conducts assessments, and works closely with her clients, their families and teachers.
Maggie Paul, M.Ed., BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2008. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University Pomona with a BA in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work. She completed her Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Applied Behavior Analysis through Arizona State University in 2018.
Through her undergraduate studies, she discovered an interest in helping families. While working in home-based programs as a behavior interventionist, she found that creating and implementing programs that are modified to fit the individual as well as effective parent training techniques are necessary to provide the opportunity for growth. Her interest in working with children, as well as the other individuals involved in their lives, lead her to become a Case Supervisor in 2011 and later a Clinical Supervisor in 2019.
Elizabeth Trujillo, M.Ed., BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2012. Currently, she is an Associate Clinical Supervisor servicing the Inland Region. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Psychology and Sociology from California State University, Fullerton. In 2018, she graduated from Arizona State University with her Master in Education in the Curriculum and Instruction of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Elizabeth started her career in field of ABA when she joined ABC as a Behavior Interventionist. She gained experience providing direct intervention to clients in both the home and school settings. She transitioned to a Clinical Supervisor working collaboratively with her colleagues and other providers. Her role includes implementing individualized programs, overseeing and providing program specific training to the teams of Behavior Interventionists, and consultation to parents, teachers and paraprofessionals within in the home and classroom setting. Elizabeth has a passion for working with her clients and strives to make a meaningful difference in their lives by providing quality treatment.
Ann Choi, M.A., BCBA began her career at Autism Behavior Consultants in July 2014. She earned her BA from University of California of Riverside in Psychology and Music in 2013. She then received her M.A. in Teaching with a Specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2017.
Ann joined ABC as a Behavior Interventionist and has since then expanded her experience throughout the years in providing direct intervention to clients in both the home and school settings as well as training new staff to provide direct services. In 2021, she became a Clinical Supervisor. She is passionate about the work she is doing in the field of ABA and hopes to continue to grow at ABC. She strives to create meaningful changes in the lives of families, clients, and other service providers by providing quality service.
Mariko Kobayashi, M.A., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2015 after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in Integrative Biology and minored in Nutritional Science. She then received her Master of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis in August 2020 from Arizona State University.
Mariko began her work in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis as a Behavior Interventionist, working directly with clients in the school and home setting. She then became a Field Trainer, providing initial and ongoing training for staff and parents.
Currently, Mariko is an Associate Clinical Supervisor at ABC, working with clients in the South Bay and Long Beach areas. Mariko is also one of ABC’s Crisis Prevention Institute instructors, teaching over 75 staff members critical non-violent techniques when working in crisis situations. She continues to enjoy providing quality services and creating a meaningful impact on the lives of clients and families.
Gordon Wurtman, M.A. joined the Autism Behavior Consultants family in 2015 as a Behavior Interventionist working in the Long Beach and South Bay regions. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University Bakersfield in 2014. Gordon received his Master of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University in 2020.
Gordon’s interest in working in the field of education began with an internship for a child development class as part of his undergraduate studies. Here he learned the significance of individualized approaches for different learners. In 2019, Gordon continued his growth in the field of ABA by supporting staff and clients as a Field Trainer. Gordon currently is an Associate Clinical Supervisor at ABC and enjoys seeing how current research can be used to better support his clients while working as a team that can include Behavior Interventionists, teachers, parents, Field Trainers and his Regional Director. Gordon plans to continue his growth in ABA by regularly attending seminars and continuing education events.
Fiona Lo, M.S., BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2022 as a Clinical Supervisor. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Irvine, where she double majored in Psychology and Social Behavior and Criminology, Law, and Society. She later earned her Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis at National University.
Fiona began her work in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis in 2015 as a behavior therapist directly working with her clients in various settings such as the home, clinic, and school base. Over the years, as her experience grew, so did her love, passion, and commitment to the field. Fiona strives to help her clients overcome barriers while teaching the skills necessary to gain independence, and she does so by focusing less on disability but rather everyone’s abilities to learn and grow so long as they are provided the right tools. Through learning to adapt to each of her clients’ unique and individualistic needs, Fiona is dedicated to bridging the gap to create meaningful behavior change through quality treatment and care for the clients and families she serves.
Hope Vargas, M.A., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2005 as a behavioral interventionist/case supervisor and eventually she became a trainer for the Inland area. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2005 with a B.A. in Family and Consumer Science: Child Development and Family Studies. During her undergraduate work, she began working with children with Autism as a behavioral interventionist. She earned her Master’s degree in 2014 from National University, San Diego. Currently, Hope is an Assistant Clinical Director with ABC and provides services to families in the Inland Empire. She loves working with children and their families to improve their overall quality of life.
Encanto Fonseca, M.Ed., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2010. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Adolescent Studies from California State University of Fullerton. She currently in school completing a Master of Arts in Education at the University of Phoenix.
Encanto began her work in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis as a Behavior Interventionist working 1:1 with children with autism in schools and homes. She then went on to become a Case Supervisor for 6 years, when she expanded her experience with adolescents and adults. Currently, Encanto is a Supervisor of Staff Performance with ABC where she provides staff training, performance evaluations and new hire mentorship to our Inland office.
Dasha Smeirat, M.Ed. joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2010 as a Behavior Interventionist in the Inland Empire. She is currently an Associate Clinical Supervisor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Black Studies from the University of California of Santa Barbara in 2010. Dasha later obtained her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University in 2018.
As a Behavior Interventionist, she enjoyed working one to one with the children and was rewarded with their progress and successes. In April of 2015, she became a Case Supervisor and began to manage her own caseload. Her responsibilities consist of ongoing training of behavior interventionists and new hires, intensive parent training, implementation of treatment protocols and program development. In addition to this, she also collects and analyzes data to ensure overall quality and consistency of service provision by writing up monthly clinical reports and progress reports. She actively collaborates with team members and other service providers to ensure the best possible treatment plans for her clients.
Kristen Kennedy, M.A., began her career at Autism Behavior Consultants in 2011. She earned her B.A. from California State University San Bernardino in Psychology in 2010. In 2018, Kristen received her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (and was awarded Clinical Mental Health Counseling student of the year) from the University of Redlands, where she completed practicum hours with at-risk populations of children and adults, with a variety of mental health challenges. Currently, she is an Associate Clinical Supervisor in the Inland Empire and San Gabriel Valley.
Her ABA career began when she joined ABC as a Behavior Interventionist. She quickly discovered her passion for making a difference in children's and families' lives in the field. Kristen became a supervisor in 2013 and has worked with a variety of individuals and families. She is passionate about providing the best possible care, on an individualized basis for all clients, and takes pride in the relationships she builds and has built in her time at ABC.
Jacqueline Sanchez joined Autism Behavior Consultants in January of 2016, she is currently an Associate Clinical Supervisor for the South Bay region. Jacqueline received her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Psychology from California State University Northridge in 2015. In 2018 she graduated from Arizona State University with a Masters in Education in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Throughout her years at ABC Jacqueline has transitioned from a Behavior interventionist to a Field Trainer and is now in her current role as an Associate Clinical Supervisor. Her most recent role includes collaborating closely with her Regional Director, as well as other Supervisors and Field Trainers; continuous training with Behavior Interventionists on her teams, implementing individualized programs for her clients, and both parent/teacher consultations. Jacqueline has such a passion for the field of ABA and the clients that she works with, she hopes to continue to provide a meaningful service that executes change in behavior and the lives of many families.
Marissa M. Morales, M.S. joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2015. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from California State University of San Bernardino. She then received her Masters in Science at National University in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2019. Currently, she's an Associate Clinical Supervisor for the South Bay area.
Marissa began working at a non-public school as an instructional aide where she worked closely with school counselors and special education teachers. She worked directly with students with learning and behavioral challenges. She enjoyed working in the schools and wanted to narrow her focus into working with behavioral challenges in the school.
In 2015, Marissa joined ABC as a Behavior interventionist in the San Gabriel area. She has since expanded her knowledge throughout the years providing direct intervention in the schools and in the home setting. Marissa later became a field trainer then Associate Clinical Supervisor and made her way to the South Bay area. Since then, she has enjoyed starting new cases and training staff on her teams to provide quality service at ABC. As she continues to grow in the field, she hopes to create and build more positive relationships with other service providers.
Jacquelyn Mendoza, M.A., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in August 2015. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at Whittier College, located in Whittier, CA. She went on to earn her Master of Arts in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis at Arizona State University.
Jacquelyn joined ABC as a Behavior Interventionist and has since then expanded her experience throughout the years in providing direct intervention to clients in both the home and school settings as well as training new staff to provide direct services. In 2021, she became the Supervisor of Staff Performance for the Los Angeles, Southbay, and San Gabriel areas.
In her current role as Supervisor of Staff Performance, Jacquelyn provides staff training and performance evaluations. She further supports staff development by coaching and enforcing policies and procedures to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. She has a passion for developing personal growth opportunities in our staff as they provide ABA services in the school, home, and community.
David Martinez, M.S., BCBA joined ABC in March of 2016 as a Behavior Interventionist. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Cal State LA. David furthered his education at Cal State LA by obtaining his Master of Science in Counseling with a focus in ABA. Shortly after, he obtained his BCBA.
During his undergrad studies, he worked as a tutor for kids whose first & primary language was Spanish. It was during this time that he witnessed firsthand what ABA is and its effectiveness. This sparked his interest in ABA. Since then, David has been with ABC continuing to grow and serve the clients with whom he work. He started as a B.I, transitioned to Field Trainer, and is now an Associate Clinical Supervisor. He is passionate about providing meaningful and lasting services on an individualized basis.
Patricia Saint-Felix, M.A., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2016 as a behavioral interventionist where she found her passion while working one-to-one with the children. Later in 2019, she became a field trainer for the inland area where she helped to train staff on cases and provided additional support when needed. She graduated in 2012 from Florida International University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. She earned her Master in Arts degree in Special Education with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis in 2022 from Arizona State University. Currently, Patricia is an Associate Clinical Supervisor with ABC and provides services to families in the Inland Empire.
Melissa Shimizu, M.Ed., BCBA, joined Autism Behavior Consultants in September 2016, serving the South Bay area. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach, receiving her Master’s in Public Health in May 2016. After finding her passion with ABC, she received her Master’s in Education, emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis in December 2019.
Melissa has worked her way up to Associate Clinical Supervisor, having served as a Behavior Interventionist and Field Trainer at ABC. She works closely with school professionals and parents, providing services in the school and home settings. Melissa hopes to continue to grow at ABC, executing quality, fun, and meaningful behavior change.
Claudia Casillas, M.S., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2017 as a Behavior Interventionist after graduating from California State University, Dominguez Hills where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Child Development. She went on to receive her Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from National University in 2020.
Claudia's interest in working with children began in high school where she volunteered at many children's programs. She began her career in Applied Behavior Analysis with ABC as a Behavior Interventionist working directly with clients in the school and home setting. She then worked as a Field Trainer providing training for staff and parents. Claudia currently works as an Associate Clinical Supervisor, providing ABA services in the South Bay and Long Beach areas. She works closely with ABC's clinical team, field trainers, and interventionists to provide quality services to clients and their families.
Antoinette Delgado, M.A., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2018 as a Behavior Interventionist in the Inland Empire. She obtained her bachelor's degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science. Antoinette then received her Master of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis in 2020 from Arizona State University. In 2019 Antoinette was promoted to a Field Trainer and is currently an Associate Clinical Supervisor.