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Team Biographies

NICOLE KOREN,  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. 


EMILY U.,  REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN (RBT)

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.,  REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN (RBT)

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.

Emily F., SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER, REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN (RBT)

Emily earned her bachelor’s of science in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University in 2011.  She also received her LBS1, Special Education Endorsement, from the University of St. Francis directly following.  She has six years of Spanish coursework and has worked in a number of schools with both the general and special education population.  She understands the frustration teachers often experience in the classroom and we utilize her experience to better communicate and consult with schools when providing them with ABA instruction for the children we care for.  She is also certified in CPR, AED and First Aid.

MADDIE C.,  REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN (RBT)

Maddie graduated from Illinois State University with a BS in Psychology in 2013 where she had various behavior and development classes.  She gained ABA experience working at The Autism Place for class credit before graduating.  While there she worked with children of varying ages and abilities in individual and group settings.  What she loves most about working at Illinois Valley Autism Center is seeing the gains the children make and being a contributor to their success. 

ALI C.,   REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN (RBT)

Bio coming soon!

Rachel C., REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN (RBT)  

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.,   REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN (RBT)  

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.,  REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN (RBT)


Bio coming soon! 


Selenia A., REGISTERED BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN (RBT)

  

Bio coming soon!   

Claire C., Trainee

Casey L., Trainee

Bethany H., Trainee


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 smoothly while obtaining everything necessary for the children’s skill advancements.

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.