Center For Children
With Special Needs
2213 & 2300 Main Street
Michael D. Powers, Psy. D.
Dr. Michael Powers is a pediatric psychologist and the Director of The Center for Children with Special Needs in Glastonbury, Connecticut. He specializes in the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of individuals with autism and related developmental disabilities.
Dr. Powers holds an appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University. He is the author of the new book Asperger Syndrome and Your Child (HarperCollins, 2002) and editor of the award-winning book Children with autism: A parents' guide, (second edition) (Woodbine House, 2000). Dr. Powers is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on autism, and has presented extensively throughout the United States and abroad. He is a member of the Professional Advisory Board of the Asperger Syndrome Coalition of the United States and former member of the Board of Directors of the Autism Society of America.
James W. Loomis, Ph.D.
Dr. Loomis is a child and family psychologist and the Director of Outpatient Services at the Center for Children with Special Needs. He specializes in autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, and pediatric illness.
He received his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. He completed a fellowship at the Deveroux Foundation and postdoctoral training at the Kantor Family Institute. Dr. Loomis provides psychological evaluations and school based consultation as well as facilitating social skills training groups. He is a licensed psychologist in the State of Connecticut. His professional interests include the development of social skills, adaptation to pediatric illness, and school based programs for children and adolescents.
Mark J. Palmieri, Psy.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Mark Palmieri is a licensed psychologist and Director of School Based Consultation Services. He provides psycholgical evaluations, co-directs the Feeding Clinic and the Behavioral Sleep Clinic, and oversees school consultation services to establish educational programs for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
He received his doctoral degree from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Before joining the Center, Dr. Palmieri completed his predoctoral rotations with the May Institute where he provided school consultation services and behavioral treatments for individuals with Autism and other developmental disabilities as well as for individuals with traumatic brain injuries. He has facilitated school-wide positive behavior support teams in schools across New Jersey as part of a state initiative sponsored through the New Jersey Department of Education in collaboration with the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Kristen S. D'Eramo, Ph.D.
Dr. Kristen D'Eramo is a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of Clinical Training at the Center for Children with Special Needs. She provides psychological evaluations with an emphasis on early identification and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
Dr. D'Eramo co-directs the Behavioral Sleep Clinic and leads social skills groups for school-age children. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Delaware and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University. Prior to assuming her position at The Center, Dr. D'Eramo held an appointment as Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown Medical School. Her clinical work included assessing and treating children with developmental, emotional, and behavioral disorders at The Bradley School in East Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. D'Eramo's research and publications have focused primarily on identifying individual and family factors and processes that promote adaptive behavior, as well as those associated with maladaptive behavior, in order to maximize child and family outcomes in difficult situations.
Kristen M. Powers, M.S., OTR/L
Kristen M. Powers, M.S., OTR/L, is an Occupational Therapist and Director of Rehabilitative Services at the Center for Children with Special Needs. She is a graduate of Tufts University and San Jose State University and has been practicing as an occupational therapist for over fifteen years.
Ms. Powers is certified in sensory integration and administration of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests. She has lectured on sensory-motor issues and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders both in the United States and abroad. Ms. Powers is the Coordinator of Rehabilitative Services at the Center and conducts evaluations, school-based consultations and therapeutic interventions. She is also director of the feeding clinic to address oral-motor deficits and food selectivity in children with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Marina Azimova, Ed.M., MSW., BCBA
Marina Azimova is a Behavior Analyst and School-Based Consultant at the Center for Children with Special Needs. She also coordinates the CCSN Parent Education Series.
Marina received her Masters Degree in Education (with a double major in Russian language and Literature) from Azerbaijan State University (Baku, Former Soviet Union). She worked as a high school teacher and assistant principal for several years prior to immigrating to the United States in 1991. She received her Master Degree in Social Work from Marywood University (Scranton, PA) and obtained her BCBA through Penn State University. Marina has experience working with a wide range of individuals from very young children to adults with special needs in their homes, residential placements and school settings. Prior to coming to the Center for Children with Special Needs, she worked at Children Services Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA as a Behavior Specialist Consultant developing academic and behavior programs for children with autism and related disorders. She also has extensive experience providing in-home behavior analytic and program-management services to New Hope, Inc. She designed school-wide programming and curriculum and worked as a Clinical Director for Milestone Achievement Center (private school for children with autism in Wyoming, PA). Marina is a member of CT ABA and ABAI.
Stephanie Bendiske, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA
Stephanie Bendiske is a Speech and Language Pathologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She specializes in the evaluation and treatment of speech, language, and feeding disorders in children and has expertise in a variety of therapeutic techniques, inlcuding oral motor and PROMPT therapies for children with Apraxia.
Over the past 13 years Ms. Bendiske has worked at the Child Development Center of Connecticut Children's Medical Center, provided consultation to public school programs for students with autism, and provided services through Connecticut's Birth-To-Three programs. Ms. Bendiske has extensive experience working with children with autism spectrum disorders who present with a wide range of communication concerns, ranging from nonverbal individuals with very limited communication strategies to higher functioning children and adolescents who benefit from group-based interventions to address social communication and pragmatic skills. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Children's Advancement Fund, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to provide funding for therapies to children with special needs and to support their families.
Gosia Bochenska, M.A., BCBA
Gosia Bochenska is a Senior Behavior Analyst providing school based consultative services for the Center for Children with Special Needs. She received her Masterís degree in Clinical Psychology from Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland, with a Major in Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology and Minor in System Family Therapy. Gosia is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Gosia worked at the Center for Early Intervention in Warsaw where she conducted testing and wrote academic programs as well as behavior support plans. She was also active in ABA research, behavioral projects (such as Polish ABA vocabulary), cooperation with the May Institute in Randolph, MA, and organization of international conferences.
Courtney M. Cotter, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Courtney Cotter is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in assessment and treatment of children with developmental concerns. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University and completed her predoctoral internship at the Child Development Center of Nationwide Childrenís Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Cotter completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Munroe Meyer Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. At the Munroe Meyer Institute, Dr. Cotter assessed infants at risk for developmental delay due to extended care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She also provided assessment and treatment services to children with autism spectrum disorders as well as typically developing children with behavioral concerns.
Shaunessy Egan, M.S. Ed., BCBA
Shaunessy Egan is a Program Coordinator providing school consultative services for the Center for Children with Special Needs. Shaunessy is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and certified Special Education teacher.
While working towards her Master's degree through Simmons College in Behavioral Education, Shaunessy worked as a classroom teacher for preschool and elementary students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Upon completion of her graduate studies, she utilized the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, with an emphasis on using B.F. Skinner's behavioral classification of language, while working in a New York based clinic serving children with ASD and related disorders. Shaunessy has experience providing direct instruction to learners with various needs, creating individualized curriculum adaptations, developing comprehensive educational plans, and consulting to school systems and families. She is a professional member of Applied Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the Berkshire Association of Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT).
Heather Flynn, Ph.D
Heather Flynn is a certified school psychologist and psychology fellow providing psychological assessment for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. She received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Connecticut.
Prior to joining The Center, Dr. Flynn worked as a school psychologist in public school systems in Newton and Needham, MA. Her primary responsibilities included completing cognitive and educational evaluations, providing individual and group counseling to students with a variety of emotional and behavioral needs, and consultation with teachers and families. In addition, Dr. Flynn served as Site Director for Aspire (formerly known as YouthCare, a therapeutic program affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital) where she supervised the administrative, clinical, and programmatic operations of the summer camp program for children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Flynn has also been an Adjunct Professor at Northeastern University and Suffolk University in Massachusetts where she taught graduate level courses in psychological assessment.
Kristen Leard, M.A., BCBA
Kristen Leard is a Senior Behavior Analyst providing school consultative services for the Center for Children with Special Needs.
Kristen received her Masterís degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from West Virginia University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. While working towards her Masterís degree, Kristen Leard worked in elementary and middle schools conducting Functional Behavior Assessments and creating Behavior Support Plans for children who were experiencing behavior related issues that were hindering their educational progress. She also provided some in-home wraparound services for the children who were exhibiting problem behavior across the home and school environments. Prior to coming to the Center, Kristen coordinated in-home behavioral services for children and young adults who were in DCF care and created both behavior reduction and skill acquisition programs for the home setting. Kristen is a professional member of Applied Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the Berkshire Association of Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT).
Kimberly Marshall, M.A., BCBA
Kimberly is a Behavior Analyst providing school consultative services for the Center for Children with Special Needs. Kimberly is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and certified Special Education and General Education Teacher.
Kimberly received her degree in education from Bucknell University, her masters in autism and intellectual disabilities from Teachers College, Columbia University, and obtained her BCBA through The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Prior to coming to the Center, Kimberly developed an early intervention program at Blythedale Childrenís Hospital in Valhalla, NY, for children with autism and communication disorders. Kimberly has additional experience providing direct instruction to children with autism and related disorders in their homes and a variety of educational settings, as well as providing family and staff training. She is a professional member of the Berkshire Association of Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT).
Solandy Meza-Forte, LCSW, BCBA
Solandy Forte is a Senior Program Coordinator for School Based Consultative Services at the Center for Children with Special Needs.
She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a licensed clinical social worker who in addition to providing school consultative services also provides social skills training groups for school age children. Ms. Forte received her Masters Degree in Social Work and obtained a Certificate for Specialization in Children and Families from Fordham University. She has experience working with children and young adults with special needs in their home and school settings. Previously she has worked at The Connecticut Center for Child Development as an Associate Behavior Analyst developing academic and behavior programs for children with autism and related disorders. Ms. Forte also has experience providing parent training, social skills training, and in home behavior analytic services to children living in therapeutic foster homes with a wide range of developmental disabilities, mental illness, autism, and related disorders through the Institute for Professional Practice in Connecticut. Ms. Forte is an active member of the Connecticut Association for Behavior Analysis and the National Association of Social Workers.
Felicia Morgan, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Morgan is a clinical psychologist who specializes in evaluation and treatment of individuals with Autism and developmental disabilities.
She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education at Cornell University and earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Prior to assuming her position at The Center, she worked as a special education teacher with children with emotional/ behavioral problems and children with developmental disabilities, and was a member of a multidisciplinary evaluation team at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. Dr. Morgan conducts diagnostic evaluations, and provides school-based consultation and training.
Lisa Nystrom Mulé, M.S., CCC, S/LP
Lisa Mulé is a Speech/Language Pathologist with over 20 years of experience, specializing in children presenting autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities.
Formerly Supervising Speech Pathologist of the Child Development Center at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, she received her BA at the University of Vermont and her MS at Boston University. She is a licensed Speech Pathologist in the State of Connecticut and earned her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Connecticut Speech-Hearing Language Association for her work on behalf of children with developmental disabilities. At the Center, Lisa provides diagnostic evaluations of speech, language and pragmatic communication skills. She also participates in multidisciplinary assessments of the most complex children. She provides ongoing consultative services to a number of school systems in Connecticut. Lisa is a frequent speaker to groups of parents and professionals.
Rebecca Munday, Ed.S., BCBA
Rebecca is a Behavior Analyst at the Center for Children with Special Needs, where she provides consultative and program development support to educational programs for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Rebecca received her Educational Specialist Degree through Simmons College in behavioral education, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Prior to coming to the Center she was Program Director for Behavioral Services for ACES Inc. in San Diego, California, where her responsibilities included consultation and program development in public schools for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Previously, Rebecca coordinated and developed programming for home-based ABA services, as well as provided parent training to families and caregivers in San Diego, Ca. Rebecca is a member of the California Association for Behavior Analysis, Greater Boston Association for Behavior Analysis and Applied Behavior Analysis International.
Tina Newman, Ph.D.
Dr. Tina Newman is a licensed clinical child psychologist who specializes in assessment and intervention with children who have individual learning needs. Dr. Newman received her Ph.D. in School/Applied Child Psychology from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and completed postdoctoral work at Yale University.
Prior to assuming her position at the Center for Children with Special Needs, Dr. Newman held appointments as a Psychologist at the British Columbia Children's Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Center for Children and as an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale University, Child Study Center. Her research pursuits included assessment and intervention with children who have individual learning needs, including multiple exceptionalities (e.g., areas of both strength and weakness) and circumscribed interests in autism spectrum disorders. Her clinical work included comprehensive assessments of children with complex learning profiles.
Elizabeth C. Nulty, M.S., BCBA
Elizabeth is a Program Coordinator for School Based Consultative Services at the Center for Children with Special Needs.
Elizabeth graduated from the masterís program in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Over the years, Elizabeth has worked with a wide variety of populations within applied behavior analysis, including children and families in DCF mandated programs, children with developmental and emotional disabilities in foster care, group homes and residential facilities. Ms. Nulty has also worked with children diagnosed with autism and related disorders within the Connecticut Birth to Three system, as well as in public school preschool programs. Ms. Nulty has been an active member of CTABA, serving on the Executive Council for over 6 years.
Jessica Rohrer, M.S., BCBA
Jessica is a Program Coordinator at the Center for Children with Special Needs, where she provides consultative and program development support to educational programs for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
She received her Masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis through Northeastern University, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Jessica worked as a teacher at the New England Center for Children, and as a behavioral consultant for the Ohio State University Medical Center's Nisonger Center. She has experience providing in-home as well as school-based behavior analytic services to children and young adults with developmental disabilities, as well as conducting parent and staff trainings.
Front Office Staff
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