Autism Spectrum Instructional Resource ASPIRE

STAFF


Allison Gouris, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA Allison Gouris, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Co-Owner, Executive Director

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.

Kristi Swice, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA Kristi Swice, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Co-Owner, Executive Director

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 20 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.

Raschel Harbison Raschel Harbison
Director of Operations

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.

Kristina Poarch Kristina Poarch
Administrative Assistant

Kristina received an Associate's Degree in Business Administration from Austin Community College in 2016. She has worked in the medical industry for 10 years, the majority of which was spent as a Medical Assistant. As a Medical Assistant she loved working with the patients and helping with their needs. Seeking to gain knowledge and experience in other areas of the industry, Kristina became an Administrative Assistant for a healthcare quality improvement organization. Bringing her love of working with people and administrative experience, Kristina joined the team here at ASPIRE in 2019 as an Administrative Assistant. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, listening to music, trying new cuisine around the Austin area, and traveling. Kristina also loves to spend time with family, friends, her fiancé and her soon to be step-son.

Laura Rojeski, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA Laura Rojeski, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Behavioral Consultant

Laura has been passionate about working with individuals with ASD and developmental disabilities since 2005 when she first started working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. 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 became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2012, and has been working at ASPIRE ever since. She has experience working with early childhood through adulthood in a variety of settings, including home, clinic, community, and school consultation. Laura has worked as a direct therapist, as well as a supervisor, where she has trained and supervised entry level therapists starting out in the field, through masters level students pursuing their BCBA. She has experience with a variety of assessments, program development and implementation, and parent training through both in-person and teleconferencing modes. She is passionate about helping children with ASD and developmental disabilities reach their full potential through a collaborative, multi-faceted, and creative approach. Laura also lectures part time at the University of Texas, furthering the education of today's youth on the topics of disability and special education.

Michelle Kuhn, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA Michelle Kuhn, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Behavioral Consultant

Michelle has over 15 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities and their families. She received both her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies and her Master of Education in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Illinois. After many years working in Chicago, she moved to Austin and completed her Doctor of Philosophy in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities program within the department of Special Education at the University of Texas. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has worked in a variety of settings including in-home and in-school as a behavioral and developmental therapist, coordinator of an autism resource center, BCBA supervisor, and parent trainer. Additionally, Michelle has presented training and research across the country. Her research interests include parent and staff training, the use of technology as a platform for training, as well as play development in early childhood and social skill development across the lifespan. She loves spending time with her husband and two wonderful children; enjoying all that Austin has to offer!

Suzanne Byrne, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA Suzanne Byrne, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Behavioral Consultant

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.

Jaime Marion, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA Jaime Marion, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Behavioral Consultant

Jaime graduated from Texas State University with a M.Ed. in Special Education and a concentration in autism and developmental disabilities. She began helping children by tutoring elementary and middle school students while earning her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Jaime has 10 years of experience working with children with autism across a variety of ages and all levels of functioning. She has provided 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 skills that improve their quality of life and help them connect with the world around them.

Kara Huss, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA Kara Huss, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
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. 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 also serves as the Director at William's Community School, a non-profit school serving children with unique learning challenges.

Lauren Dooley, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA Lauren Dooley, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Behavioral Consultant

Lauren is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a Master's Degree in Special Education-Autism from Texas State University and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology/Sociology from SUNY Geneseo. Working for ASPIRE since 2012, she has a passion for helping children and adolescents with special needs, alongside their families, achieve their goals and dreams. This stems from her past working with adolescents through high school and college. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 sons, hiking, camping, traveling and exploring.

Cayenne Shpall, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA Cayenne Shpall, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
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 10 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.

Nathan Pullen, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA Nathan Pullen, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Behavioral Consultant

Nathan has worked with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and developmental disabilities since 2007. He completed his undergraduate education at Baylor University, and is a graduate of Texas State University with a M.Ed. in Special Education and a concentration in autism and developmental disabilities. He also holds a teaching certification for Special Education EC-12, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and a Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA). Nathan joined ASPIRE in 2011 and has worked with children across a variety of ages and levels of support need. He has taught special education in a public school setting, and continues to work providing behavioral services to students in the public school system across all grade levels. His research interests include vocational training for individuals transitioning to adulthood, as well as school and classroom based behavioral interventions.

Jill Parkin, MA, BCBA, LBA Jill Parkin, MA, BCBA, LBA
Behavioral Consultant

Jill became a Behavioral Consultant for ASPIRE in 2016 after moving to Austin from the Boston area. She is a retired public school Special Education Administrator. Jill completed her Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at Northeastern University in Boston and a Graduate Certificate in Autism at the University of Albany in NY. She has been working with individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental health challenges for over 40 years. Jill has served children and their families while working in private ABA day and residential schools, public school districts, educational collaboratives, and family homes. Jill appreciates coming full circle from school administration to again working directly with children. Jill's specialty area is the development and use of errorless teaching procedures. Jill enjoys the music of Austin and sharing adventures with her grandson.

Liz Rodriguez, M.Ed. BCBA, LBA Liz Rodriguez, M.Ed. BCBA, LBA
Behavioral Consultant

Liz Rodriguez received her Bachelors in Communication Disorders and a Masters in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with training in early intervention and especially interested in language development. Outside of working with ASPIRE, Liz enjoys spending time with her twins girls, dogs, and husband. Liz has been working with children with special needs for the past 10 years throughout PA, LA, and Austin.

Kathryn Brumbaugh, M.Ed. Kathryn Brumbaugh, M.Ed.
Behavioral Therapist

Kathryn graduated from Texas State University in 2019 with a M.Ed. in special education and a concentration in autism/ABA. She received a Bachelor's Degree, from the University of Kansas in 2013, in applied behavioral science with a concentration in early childhood education and intervention. She has been with ASPIRE since 2015 and has experience working in homes, clinics, and educational settings. She enjoys visiting family, traveling, reading, fitness, nutrition, and spending time with her dog Mac.

Christy Baez, M.Ed. Christy Baez, M.Ed.
Behavioral Therapist

Christy received her Bachelors degree in Special Education from The University of Texas in 2005. She holds a teaching certification in all-level special education EC-12 as well as in general education EC-6. She has been a teacher in an Early Childhood Education classroom for 14 years and has worked with ASPIRE since its beginning in 2005. She earned her graduate degree from Texas State University with a M.Ed. in Special Education and a concentration in autism and developmental disabilities (2012). She absolutely loves working and playing with kiddos while helping them to grow and learn. In her free time, Christy enjoys spending time with her dogs, attending concerts, and traveling around this beautiful world.

Cat Rodriguez, M.Ed., RBT Cat Rodriguez, M.Ed., RBT
Behavioral Therapist

Cat is a graduate from Texas State University, where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education in 2012. A year later, Cat continued on to obtain her Master's Degree at her alma mater and received her Master's in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education in 2017. During her Master's program, Cat found her passion working with children with autism and developmental disabilities, motivating her to pursue a career in Applied Behavior Analysis. She has 11 years of experience working with children in a variety of settings and is currently a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) working towards her certification as a BCBA. In her spare time, Cat enjoys listening to music, spending time with her family, running, traveling and exploring new places.

Morgan Yarbrough, M.Ed. Morgan Yarbrough, M.Ed.
Behavioral Therapist

Morgan is an Austin native and a graduate of Texas State University with a Master's Degree in Special Education, concentrating in Autism. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Communication Sciences and Disorders. After graduating from UT, she began working for ASPIRE where she had the opportunity to learn and grow as a behavioral therapist. She then decided to pursue a career in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and began her Master's Degree at Texas State. Outside of the clinic, Morgan teaches a variety of Latin dances and during the summer she enjoys teaching swim lessons to children with special needs.

Emily Sarrat, MSW, RBT Emily Sarrat, MSW, RBT
Behavioral Therapist

Emily Sarrat graduated from New York University with Master's Degree in Social Work. Emily has over 10 years experience working with children and teens in various settings, ranging from running groups for at-risk youth to implementing parent-child enrichment programs to managing services for kids with disabilities whom have been in the foster care system. Emily is Registered Behavior Therapist and has been working at Aspire since March 2017.

Amelia White, M.Ed., RBT Amelia White, M.Ed., RBT
Behavioral Therapist

Amelia is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a M.Ed. of Special Education concentrating in Early Childhood Education. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 2014 with a bachelors in Special Education she began her career working as an in home ABA therapist for Crescent Child Development Services in Charleston, South Carolina. It was in this job she found her passion in the 1:1 nature of ABA and that of working with children with Autism. After 2 years in the job she moved to Austin to begin the pursuit of her BCBA. While in graduate school she worked as a behavioral therapist for Bluebonnet Community Trail Services for a year. Upon graduating in 2017 she began her job as behavioral therapist at ASPIRE. She has been a Registered Behavior Technician since 2016. In her spare time, Amelia enjoys running Lady Bird Lake trail, eating yummy foods, and taking advantage of all the live music that Austin has to offer.

Courtney J. Kleiber, M.Ed., RBT Courtney J. Kleiber, M.Ed., RBT
Behavioral Therapist

Courtney is a passionate, solutions-oriented behavioral therapist with five years+ experience enhancing the lives of children and young adults with autism and developmental disabilities. She was selected to study under Dr. Ivar Lovaas (one of the original pioneers of ABA) while attending the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She holds dual degrees in Psychology and Anthropology from UCLA. Courtney received a M.Ed. with a concentration in Autism and Developmental Disabilities (A&DD) from the University of Texas, Austin in 2018 where she graduated with highest honors. Courtney is preparing for the BCBA certification and BACB examination in November, 2019.

Rachael Cilek, RBT Rachael Cilek, RBT
Behavioral Therapist

Rachael graduated from Texas State University in 2015 earning a Bachelor's in Psychology. After college she worked with adults with special needs providing in-home assistance before coming to ASPIRE in 2017. She is a Registered Behavior Technician, providing in-home ABA services. She is currently completing her Master's Degree at Texas State University, pursing a Masters in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism/ABA, in the hopes of becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Jerrica Butler, RBT Jerrica Butler, RBT
Behavioral Therapist

Jerrica is a Texas native that graduated in 2014 from Southwestern University with a Bachelors in Psychology. She comes from a lengthy background working with kids in mentoring through after school and summer camp settings before finding a passion for kids with special needs and ABA in 2015. She currently is an RBT and is looking to begin Masters coursework to work towards becoming a BCBA. In her free time she's most likely hanging with her animals, spending time with family and friends, painting, baking or going on about anything Harry Potter related.

Tess McCormick, RBT Tess McCormick, RBT
Behavioral Therapist

Tess graduated from Radford University in 2015 with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. After graduating she worked for the local government in Blacksburg, VA as a case manager for children with disabilities. Tess moved to Austin in spring of 2017 and started with ASPIRE where she now provides in-home ABA services as a Registered Behavior Technician. She is currently completing her Masters in Special Education with a concentration in Autism/ABA at Texas State University with the goal of becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Ayontè Albert, RBT Ayontè Albert, RBT
Behavioral Therapist

Ayontè has been working with children with autism and other developmental disabilities since 2016. She earned her Bachelors of Science from Southeastern Louisiana University in 3 years. During her sophomore year, she was given the opportunity to fulfill her passion to work with children and their families in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While working and attending school full time, Ayontè was able to demonstrate her studies and implement them in her work as a behavioral therapist. During her last year of undergrad, she presented a research project to the therapists at the clinic on the importance of pairing with individuals with ASD. This research trained the therapist to build rapport with clients and aided in having more successful therapy sessions at the clinic. Ayontè moved to Austin in September of 2018 and received her Registered Behavior Technician certification four months later. She has plans to continue her education and receive her Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis. During her free time, she enjoys hiking and swimming with her husband and two dogs.

Rebecca Dunagan, RBT Rebecca Dunagan, RBT
Behavioral Therapist

Rebecca graduated from Austin Community College in 2018 with an Associate of Applied Science in Addiction Counseling. She plans to continue her education in Criminal Psychology. Rebecca started working with ASPIRE in the summer of 2016 and provides in-home ABA services as an RBT. She is currently studying improv, writing, and acting. Her passion is to create more artistic outlets to those in varying situations and/or disabilities. She loves to spend her time performing on stage, baking, and hanging out with her pet bird.

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.

Katie Lin Katie Lin
Behavioral Therapist

Katie Lin was born in Taiwan and came to the United States about 6 years ago. Katie received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Washington in 2016. She is currently attending University of Texas at Austin for her master's degree in Autism Developmental Disabilities program. She has worked in a variety of settings, including private school, home, clinics, and community-based therapy. She is very excited about her plan to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). During her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, watch movies, and cook. She enjoys spending time outdoors. She loves to travel and explore, and she hopes to fulfill her dream of traveling around the world someday.

Abby Mosing Abby Mosing
Behavioral Therapist

Abby is a compassionate, enthusiastic therapist who has over 8 years of experience working with children and young adults with autism. Growing up with a sibling who is on the autism spectrum has been her biggest blessing and inspired her to pursue a career helping people with autism and developmental disabilities. Abby graduated from Reed College in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics with a focus on language development and formal grammar. She has volunteered at William's Community School and worked for three summers as a counselor at Ramapo for Children, a summer camp for youth with autism and related disorders. Abby treasures each of her clients, and she loves teaching them new skills so they can grow and succeed in life. She has great passion for the field of ABA and aims to earn her Master's in Special Education in the near future.

R.Lynne Gage R.Lynne Gage
Behavioral Therapist

Lynne graduated from North Greenville University and Converse University in South Carolina with a major in Special Education and a minor in Psychology with a BA Degree. She started her Professional Career at Shriners Hospital for Children, with Orthopedic and other medical issues for 10 years. She has worked at several group homes for children with mental and medical needs. She currently also works for AISD with Life Skills Classes, helping students with Social and Behavioral Issues and SCORES students with Autism. She works with Parent In-Home Training and Student In-Home Training. She is an Advocate for children and their parents. Lynne enjoys working with children with unique and awesome personalities. And she enjoys traveling with her family and taking care of her animals.

Rebecca Brennan-Luna Rebecca Brennan-Luna
Behavioral Therapist

Becca has worked with children with special needs including Autism and Down Syndrome in a daycare setting and as a Paraprofessional Educator. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies, and she is pursuing a Master's Degree in the field of Autism and Special Education. She is very passionate about helping children in need, through her work, and as a foster parent. She lives with her wife and dog.

Jenna Banda Jenna Banda
Behavioral Therapist

Jenna Graduated In 2019 from Texas State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and is continuing her education in Applied Behavioral Analysis. She has experience working with different age groups of all functioning levels. Jenna also enjoys volunteering which sparked her journey in working with individuals with special needs. Born and raised in Austin, Jenna enjoys outdoor activities, attending concerts, and enjoys the company of her friends and family, including her dog.