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Team Biographies

Meet Our Administrative Team

CINDY BENNETT - DIRECTOR

Cindy attended Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO as a business major and has worked in finance since 1997.   Her first professional job was for a small manufacturer's rep company in the aerospace industry and her most recent position was as the Director of Finance for a global software company.  Cindy has also owned and managed a successful technology reseller since 2008.  At the Illinois Valley Autism Center Cindy utilizes her fiscal administration skills to ensure the facility runs efficiently while obtaining everything necessary for the childrens skill advancements.

BRUCE NORQUIST - DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES

Bruce brings with him 10 years of administrative, management, marketing, and human resources experience from the private sector. Bruce is a former operator of two different corporate restaurant franchises. Bruce left the operational execution of corporate restaurants in 2016 and joined our team in November of 2017. He brings with him the unique experience of growing up as a child with a parent who ran a special needs facility and possess the necessary skills and understandings to assist our team as the Director of Human Resources as they provide ABA therapy to our clients. Bruce is a graduate of La Salle Peru Township High School and attended Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Illinois.

                                                                                                                                         

Meet Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts:

 

NICOLE K.

BOARD CERTIFIED BEHAVIOR ANALYST (BCBA) LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR (LPC)

Nikki is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Professional Counselor.  She graduated from Lewis University with her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and School Counseling. Nikki completed a Post-Master’s degree certificate program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis. Nikki has been working in the field for over 4 years and certified in CPI.   Her area of expertise is in staff and parent training, implementing discrete trial teaching, program development, applied behavior analysis support in residential and workshop settings. 


DANIELLE Z.

BOARD CERTIFIED BEHAVIOR ANALYST (BCBA) 

Danielle earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from DePaul University and her masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from Ball State University. She has been working with children with autism since 2012 and has experience implementing the principles of ABA in a variety of settings, including school, clinic and home. Danielle enjoys creating skill acquisition programs for her clients as well as seeing their progress during sessions. In her spare time, she enjoys riding and showing her horse. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Meet Our Registered Behavioral Technicians!

EMILY U.

Emily earned her BS in 2012 from Illinois State University.  She took a number of courses in child development, psychology, communication disorders and behavior interventions.  Emily is also fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and has experience tutoring children that are deaf or hearing impaired.  Emily loves her position as a Registered Behavioral Technician because she enjoys motivating and captivating each child's play skills in a natural setting and watching their social skills flourish.

JESSICA J.

Jessica attended Mid-Continent University where she graduated with a BS in Psychology.  She went on to obtain her MA in Human Services from Capella University in 2012.  Jessica has specialized in the area of Mental Health.  She has provided personal care to individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness by teaching and assisting with activities of daily living, working one on one to improve socialization and has provided individual and group counseling services to children and adults.  Jessica is currently preparing to test for her LCP and leads our Social Skills Group.  What Jessica enjoys most about her position is that she knows each day she works with a child makes a major difference on their quality of life.

ALI S.

RACHEL C.

Rachel earned her BS in 2014 from Illinois State University.  She took a number of courses focusing on communication disorders, teaching strategies and has 149 hours of clinical experience in an individualized general education setting.  She has worked as a paraprofessional at a junior high level and is now excited to be apart of the differences we are making locally. Rachel's favorite part about being a behavior technician is seeing how personalized and tailored each learner's program is for their specific needs.

TRICIA L.

Trisha attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, WI where she graduated with a BS in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) in 2013.  She took a number of courses focusing on the development. and lifespan of an individual.  Her previous work experience was working as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (QIDP) severing adults with intellectual disabilities in a house setting with the main goal of providing and teaching activities of daily living so they become more independent.  Trisha loves her position as a RBT because she gets to work 1:1 with each child and especially likes the NET environment that engages the child in a play therapy aspect.  She loves seeing the children's skills heighten and expand!

 

AMBER R.


SELENIA A.

 

CHELSEA R.

 

JESSICA H.

 

AIDA I.

CLAIRE C.

Claire graduated from Ottawa Township High School in 2011. Upon graduation, Claire immediately began working as the Shelter Services Director for a non profit agency that assists survivors and their children fleeing from domestic violence. Claire's passion for helping others succeed led her to the Illinois Valley Autism Center. Claire's favorite part about working for the Illinois Valley Autism Center is building meaningful relationships with her clients and their families.

CASEY L.

A personal note from the director...

This Center means a great deal to me because autism has a deep personal connection.

My son appeared to be progressing typically since he was hitting his developmental markers although noticeably later than my daughters.  He was even linking words together as expected but somehow during those early years his words diminished while his babbling increased.  When we became concerned we were continually told by professionals that boys often talked later than girls--not to mention he had two older sisters to speak for him!  That answer would calm our fears but we could never quite shake the feeling that something was different.  We ended up independently taking him to two different hearing professionals neither thought he had a hearing problem even though it was too difficult for them to obtain a complete test with our little guy.  We also placed him into speech therapy but it was soon apparent that he needed something more than a thirty minute session twice a week.  We were growing alarmed at how distant he was compared  to other children his age and that drove us to an exhausted search for understanding and assistance often until two in the morning!  

And that led us to ABA...

The first time we saw Applied Behavior Analysis in practice we immediately felt hope.  It was intense, it was fun and I felt it was exactly the therapy we were looking for!  We began ABA the next week and since then my son's language has improved dramatically, his academic skills are amazing and his socialization has begun to blossom!    It's been a journey and has led to the Center in Peru being opened where I'm happy to help and support other families facing similar struggles.