Autism Spectrum Instructional Resource ASpIRe

Staff +

Allison Gouris, M.Ed., BCBA Allison Gouris, M.Ed., BCBA
Co-Owner, Executive Director
allison.gouris@aspireaustin.com
Allison has 25 years experience working with children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. She has 11 years experience teaching in the public school system and has implemented Applied Behavior Analysis privately since 1999. Allison is co-founder of Autism Spectrum Instructional Resources, LLC (ASpIRe). Allison received her master of education from the University of Texas at Austin with a major in special education and an emphasis on autism/developmental disabilities and early childhood education. She received her bachelor of education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1987. Allison is a member of the Austin regional advisory task force to the Texas Council on Autism & Pervasive Developmental Disorders and has served as President of the Autism Society of Central Texas.
back to top
Kristi Swice, M.Ed., BCBA Kristi Swice, M.Ed., BCBA
Co-Owner, Executive Director
kristi.swice@aspireaustin.com
Kristi graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999 with a Bachelor in Psychology before returning to UT to complete her Master of Education with an emphasis on Autism/Developmental Disabilities and Early Childhood Education. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 17 years experience implementing Applied Behavior Analysis and has contracted with school districts to provide in-home training and Extended School Year services to children with autism. Together with Allison, she founded ASPIRE in 2005 to serve the increasing needs of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders in the Austin area. Kristi sits on the boards of William's Community School and the Autism Society of Central Texas and is a member of the regional advisory task force to the Texas Council on Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders.
back to top
Raschel Harbison Raschel Harbison
Director of Operations
raschel.harbison@aspireaustin.com
Raschel serves as the Director of Operations, overseeing the administrative and business aspects of ASpIRe. She has over 20 years of experience in Management and Business Administration. Raschel worked with AT&T for over 16 years in Administration and Human Resources Support, including managing the Disability, FMLA and Leave of Absence benefits and processes. Raschel has also been involved with community outreach and fundraising efforts as a Volunteer with various non-profits, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Central Texas, Livestrong, and Autism Society. She is a mother of two and enjoys running, live music and spending time with family and friends.
back to top
Laura Rojeski, Ph.D., BCBA Laura Rojeski, Ph.D., BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
Laura has been working with individuals with ASD and developmental disabilities for the past decade, and has been working with ASpIRe since 2012. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Hope College in 2007. She then spent two years working with the Peace Corps before entering graduate school at the University of Texas. Laura completed her Master of Education degree (2011) and Doctor of Philosophy degree (2015) in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities program within the department of Special Education. She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2012, and has experience with early childhood through adult ages in a variety of settings. Laura has worked as a direct therapist, as well as a supervisor where she has trained and supervised masters level students and overseen program development and implementation. She is passionate about helping children with ASD and developmental disabilities reach their full potential through a collaborative, multi-faceted and creative approach.
back to top
Suzanne Byrne, M.Ed., BCBA Suzanne Byrne, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
suzanne.byrne@aspireaustin.com
Suzanne is a passionate educator and advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities and has worked for ASpIRe since 2007. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin's Masters of Education program in special education, autism & developmental disabilities. In addition to her work at ASpIRe, Suzanne serves as founder & program director for William's Community School, a non-profit school serving children with unique learning challenges. Prior to moving to Texas in 2007, she worked with adults who had various developmental disAbilities in the capacities of Teacher, Medicaid Service Coordinator, Residence Manager, and Director of Training. Suzanne loves seeing children constantly rise above others' expectations and master skills that will improve and serve their lifelong happiness and safety. She loves her home in Texas with her wonderful husband, three lovely daughters, and four-legged family members.
back to top
Nicolette Sammarco Caldwell, M.Ed., BCBA Nicolette Sammarco Caldwell, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
Nicolette is a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Texas with a concentration in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and International Studies, Nicolette joined the Peace Corps where she taught special education in Ecuador for two years. She then earned her Masters of Education in Special Education at the University of Texas and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. In addition to extensive experience providing home-based behavioral therapy, Nicolette has over three years of experience supervising Masters level students in a behavioral based autism program. Her research interest centers around early social-communication interventions and using parent training to implement evidence-based practices for young learners with autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities.
back to top
Lauren Dooley, M.Ed., BCBA Lauren Dooley, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
Lauren is a graduate of Texas State University with a Master's Degree in Special Education, concentrating in autism, and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Raised in New York, she attended Geneseo State College in upstate New York, majoring in sociology and psychology, and became involved in Special Olympics. After college she came to Texas where she spent a year with Americorps doing disaster planning. After much consideration, she decided to follow her heart and pursue a career with children with special needs. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys spending time with her family, baking, traveling, and exploring.
back to top
Heather Gonzales, M.Ed., MAT, BCBA Heather Gonzales, M.Ed., MAT, BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
Heather is a doctoral candidate in the department of Special Education at the University of Texas, studying autism and developmental disabilities. She holds an M.Ed. from The University of Texas at Austin in the same area and an MAT in early childhood education from Trinity University. Heather is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has conducted behavior analysis for children with autism in the Austin area since 2010. Heather's research interest is the presentation and treatment of anxiety in individuals with autism who have limited verbal ability.
back to top
Kara Huss, M.Ed., BCBA Kara Huss, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
Kara is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and received her M.Ed. from the University of Texas at Austin with a specialty in autism & developmental disabilities. She received a bachelor's degree in special education from Baylor University and holds a teaching certification in all-level special education EC-12 as well as in general education EC-6. She loves working with children with special needs and is very passionate about doing everything possible to help them reach their full potential. She enjoys finding ways to teach each child in a way that meets their individual needs. Her love for children with special needs sparked while volunteering in a PPCD classroom in high school and she can't imagine doing anything else. She also gained experience providing respite care for families while in school as well as by working two summers at a camp for children with special needs and medical illnesses called Camp For All. In addition to her work at ASpIRe, Kara serves as the Director of Programs and Academics for William's Community School, a non-profit school serving children with unique learning challenges.
back to top
Enfys Lin, M.Ed., BCBA Enfys Lin, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
Enfys is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a graduate of University of Texas at Austin with a Master's Degree in Special Education, Early Childhood program. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and decided to study special education while doing volunteer work in a Child Development Organization with children with autism in Taiwan. She has five years of experience as an Assistant Teacher in a tutoring school working with 7th to 9th graders. In addition, Enfys has 2 years of working as a BCBA/Teacher at William's Community School, a non-profit school serving children with unique learning challenges here in Austin. She values individuality and loves working, learning, and playing with children.
back to top
Cayenne Shpall, M.Ed., BCBA Cayenne Shpall, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
Cayenne is a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Texas with a concentration in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Cayenne earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master's Degree in Special Education with concentrations in Autism and Developmental Disabilities from the University of Texas, Austin. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, with more than 5 years of experience working as an in-home and school behavior specialist specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis. Her research interests include interventions to increase appropriate, functional behavior skills and decrease challenging behavior for children with autism spectrum disorders.
back to top
Jaime Thompson, M.Ed., BCBA Jaime Thompson, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
Jaime is a graduate of Texas State University with a M.Ed. in Special Education and a concentration in autism and developmental disabilities. She also holds a teaching certification for Special Education EC-12 and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Her first experience helping children was as a volunteer tutor for elementary and middle school students while earning her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Jaime joined ASpIRe in 2009 and has worked with children across a variety of ages and functioning levels. She has experience in providing training and consultation services in school environments as well as implementing home-based behavioral therapy. The thing she loves most about her job is teaching children vital skills that improve their quality of life and help them connect with the world around them.
back to top
Hollie Wingate, M.Ed., BCBA Hollie Wingate, M.Ed., BCBA
Behavioral Consultant
Hollie is a doctoral student in the department of Special Education at the University of Texas with a concentration in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Hollie earned her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and her Master of Education in Special Education with a focus on Autism and Developmental Disabilities at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, with 10 years of experience working with children with autism and other disabilities both in the home setting. She has experience as a direct ABA therapist, as well as a supervisor where she has trained and supervised master's level students and overseen program implementation. Her research interests are potential environmental variables that evoke previously extinguished challenging behavior, functional communication, and food selectivity and food refusal.
back to top
Kathryn Brumbaugh Kathryn Brumbaugh
Behavioral Therapist
Kathryn graduated from the University of Kansas in 2013 with a Bachelor's Degree in Applied Behavioral Science, having a focus on early childhood education and intervention. She then moved to San Antonio and worked for The Shape of Behavior for a year and a half, attaining experience working with children with autism in a clinic setting. After deciding to move to Austin in early 2015, Kathryn joined ASpIRe as a Behavioral Therapist. In her free time she enjoys time with her niece, fitness and nutrition, cooking, and her dog Mac.
back to top
Katherine Gurecki Katherine Gurecki
Behavioral Therapist
Katie is a Masters Student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Texas with a concentration in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Katie earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Masters of Teaching for General and Special Education from the University of Virginia. She has 3 years of experience working with individuals with autism and other disabilities in grades K-5 in a classroom setting. She is working to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Her research interests include decreasing challenging behaviors and increasing appropriate behaviors and social skills with individuals with autism.
back to top
Ashley Lara Ashley Lara
Behavioral Therapist
Ashley is a graduate student in the Department of Education at Texas State University, studying Special Education with a concentration in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis. Ashley earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Edward's University in 2014. She became an advocate for individuals with autism early on, as one of her younger brothers is on the spectrum. Her research interest centers around increasing appropriate social behavior in adolescents and adults with autism and decreasing self-injurious behaviors in young children.
back to top
Claudine Lucena Claudine Lucena
Behavioral Therapist
Claudine has been working with ASpIRe since 2012. As an ABA Therapist, she has enjoyed having the opportunity to see her clients grow as she has gotten to know them and their families over the years. Originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Claudine graduated from The University of Texas in Austin in 2014 with her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science. In addition to her work with ASpIRe, Claudine is currently employed as Office Manager with Austin Family Institute, a local non-profit dedicated to providing affordable mental health care to children, families, and couples. She is currently completing her Master of Arts in Counseling at St. Edward's University with a dual concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Counseling. As a counselor, Claudine has an interest in working closely with families with a child or member on the autism spectrum within a family systems framework.
back to top
Ayesha Mela Ayesha Mela
Behavioral Therapist
Ayesha is a Master's student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Texas, studying Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She obtained her Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. There, she began an interest in autism through neurobiology electives taken. Ayesha also has an older sister with an intellectual disability and has further experience working with adults with intellectual and cognitive disabilities. She hopes to expand her experience and is interested in working with younger children with autism and becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
back to top
Thi Nguyen, M.Ed. Thi Nguyen, M.Ed.
Behavioral Consultant
Thi graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Special Education. She taught Elementary Life Skills for two years before moving to Austin to further her education. She received her M.Ed. from the University of Texas in Special Education and specialized in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. While currently teaching at William's Community School, a non-profit school serving children with unique learning abilities, she is pursuing her certification to be a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. When she's not at William's Community School or working with ASpIRe clients, you can find her playing the guitar, cleaning and organizing, participating in church activities, or participating in girl scouting activities.
back to top
Joanna Rubinstein Joanna Rubinstein
Behavioral Therapist
Joanna is a Masters student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Texas in the concentration of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Arizona in 2015. Joanna has experience as a direct therapist and is working towards becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
back to top
Laura Steensma Laura Steensma
Behavioral Therapist
Laura graduated from The University of Virginia (Class of 2014) with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She fulfilled some of her undergraduate credit hours in the Graduate School of Early Childhood Special Education. After graduating, Laura worked in an Outpatient Clinic serving children with autism and their families. As part of her job training, she completed the required coursework for Registered Behavior Technicians. Laura currently attends The University of Texas at Austin, where she is pursuing a Master of Education and specializing in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She plans to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Laura has a passion for working with children and their families. She is interested in the relationship between communication and behavior and the use of visual supports to facilitate communication.
back to top
Sara Trimborn Sara Trimborn
Behavioral Therapist
Sara is a Masters Student in the Department of Special Education at The University of Texas with a concentration in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Sara earned her Bachelor of General Studies in Applied Behavioral Science from The University of Kansas. She has had experience working with children with autism and other disabilities in home, clinic and research settings for the past 2.5 years and over 4 years of education in the field. She has had experience as a practicum student in the Kansas Early Autism Program, Graduate Research Assistant at KU, Direct Therapist in the Austin area, and a Volunteer at William's Community School. Her research interests include applied methods of skill acquisition with children with autism and other developmental disabilities, generalization of treatment and problem behavior, and preference and reinforcer efficacy of different attention types in children.
back to top