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.
Rebecca (Bec) Smith, M.A., joined ABC in 2017 as the Human Resource Manager. She graduated from University of California, Irvine in 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology. During undergrad, Bec worked for a Fortune 500 company where she became interested in the intersection between Psychology and Business. She earned her M.A. in Industrial Organizational Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2016. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Business Psychology.
Bec has over four years of experience in the Human Resources. Bec’s interests are employee engagement and retention, rewards and recognition and workforce planning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Diana Moya, M.A., graduated from the University of La Verne in 2001 with a B.S. in Psychology. She has over fifteen years of experience working with children with autism and other developmental disorders with behavioral challenges. She began working with children with Autism in 2001 at Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention.
She joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2003 in the Inland Empire as a supervisor. She later completed her master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from National University. There she took an internship as a counselor for adolescents. She currently works in San Gabriel area as an Assistant Director.
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.
Roselie Kounlavouth M.Ed., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2015 and works in the Long Beach and Orange County regions. She started in 2010 as an Instructional Aide at a local school district in a special education preschool classroom. She continued to expand her experience as a Behavior Interventionist and her role as a Case Supervisor throughout the years. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from California State University of Long Beach in 2014. In 2016, she graduated with her Master’s in Education with an Emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University. As a BCBA, Roselie enjoys working closely with the families, clients, and other service providers to create meaningful changes in their daily lives.
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.
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.
Shameka Adams, M.S., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in September 2009. She earned her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Deaf Studies at California State University Northridge located in Northridge, CA.
Entering into the field of Autism was a new endeavor for Shameka. She was hired as a Behavior Interventionist and over the years due to her hard work and dedication, she has moved up within the company and now serves as the Supervisor of Staff Performance for the Los Angeles, Southbay, and San Gabriel areas.
In her current role as Supervisor of Staff Performance, Shameka 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.
Elizabeth Tracy, M.Ed., 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 Behavior Interventionist. She gained experience providing direct intervention to clients in both the home and school settings. She transitioned to her current role as an Associate 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.
Alex Hodjat M.Ed., BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2021 as a Clinical Supervisor. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He later received his Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University.
Alex's passion for the field sparked when he began at his first ABA agency in 2012. He has since then worked for non-public agencies providing ABA services across a multitude of settings including homes, schools, and centers as well as provided court approved services in a Juvenile Hall. In his current role as a Clinical Supervisor he provides on-going training and feedback to behavior interventionists regarding the implementation of programs, professionalism, and general accountability. Alex not only gets to continue working directly with clients but is able to share his knowledge and experience with the incoming therapist to the field and those seeking board certification. In addition to being a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, PEERS instructor and soon to be CPI instructor he has been fortunate enough to attend several seminars and hear from some of the world’s leading experts in the field of applied behavior analysis and autism. With this background Alex hopes to change the way education is delivered and promote independence for all clients in his care.
Jason Rue, SHRM-CP, joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2020 where he is currently the Human Resources Manager. Jason earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Chapman University in Orange, CA. He is a SHRM certified professional.
Jason is a disciplined, versatile HR professional with experience in all aspects of human resources management, who understands the value of and practices consistency, transparency, and process. Having worked with both large multi-state start-up companies and mature grassroots organizations, he is very familiar with developing and implementing HR strategies, systems, and procedures across various organizations. He is particularly experienced in the areas of performance management and coaching, training and development, and employee relations.
Irania Cespedes, B.A, joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2021 where she is currently the Human Resources Assistant. Irania earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from California State University, Los Angeles. Irania first gained her interest in Human Resources when she was promoted from Behavior Interventionist to Human Resources Assistant at her previous organization. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management at the University of Southern California. Having been a behavior interventionist, Irania is equipped with a background in ABA and can contribute that knowledge to her HR practices at ABC.
Evelyn Lemus M.S., BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2019 after becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Communication Studies from San Jose State University, located in San Jose, California. Later, she completed her Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Phycology, located in Los Angeles, California.
Evelyn first began her work in the field of autism in 2014 as a behavior interventionist. She has worked closely with parents, service providers and has gained experience providing direct intervention to clients in both the home and school setting. She has also gained experience as a trainer and supervisory role. Evelyn has a passion for working with individuals and strives to continue to put her knowledge into practice.
Kristen Ross 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.
Sophia A. Alcaraz, M.A., BCBA joined Autism Behavior Consultants in 2013 as a Behavior Interventionist in the South Bay area. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Saint Mary’s College of California in Kinesiology-Human and Health performance in 2013. In 2015, Sophia became a Senior Interventionist and in 2018 was promoted to a Field Trainer. In 2020, Sophia received her M.A. in Special Education from Arizona State University and currently holds the position of Clinical Supervisor at ABC.
Sophia began working with children with autism in 2011 and quickly fell in love with this population. In 2014, she worked 1:1 with children and their families both in the home and in the school settings. Since then Sophia has become passionate about the field of ABA and has attended conferences and workshops to continue to gain more knowledge in the field.
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.
Jacquelyn Mendoza, B.A., joined Autism Behavior Consultants in August 2015. She earned her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Political Science at Whittier College, located in Whittier, CA.
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.
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.