Ms. Cristy Calderon, M.A PSY, BCBA, CAS President and Director of Behavior Services I graduated from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology with a Masters of Arts degree in psychology with specialization in children, and adolescence. I then completed a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and became a certified Board Certified Behavior Analyst ( BCBA). I am also certified as an Certified Autism Specialist ( CAS) from International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
My undergraduate degree is from Saint Xavier University with a bachelor in psychology. I have spent the last fifteen years focusing on applied behavioral analysis (ABA), verbal behavior (VB), and behavior interventions, and counseling for young children. I am trained in discrete trial teaching, natural environment training, pivotal response training, Peak assessments, ABLLS assessment of language and learning skills- revised and VBMAPP -verbal behavior assessment.
I has worked with a number of children who have a variety of developmental disorders that included Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyper disorder (ADHD), Angelman Syndrome, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Down Syndrome, pervasive development disorders (PDD), Developmental Delays and Sensory Integration Concerns. I has dedicated my profession to the behavior psychology area of concentration for the past fifteen year. I have collaborated with schools, teachers, parents, and other psychological professional with creating individual behavior plans, improving behavior interventions in schools, creating ABA treatment programs, and training professionals, teachers, and parents with ABA techniques and procedure. I am the president of Autism Behavior & Childhood Services and Director of Behavior Services. ABCS is founded with the belief that every child, regardless of their needs, can reach and exceed their maximum potential. Our therapies are a direct reflection of that philosophy and how we approach every child. Our programs are based on the principles of applied behavior analysis.
Daniel Barajas, BBA Director of Business Operations As a graduate of the Graham School of Management at Saint Xavier University, Daniel brings a high level of education that matches his diverse business background. He handles the day to day dealings with insurance companies, schools, and is the first point of contact for our company for all of our perspective clients. He strives to ensure that all of our clients receive the highest quality and amount of care possible.
Meet Our Dedicated Team Of Therapists
Ms. Shannon, BCBA Supervisor One of my favorite quotes is by Theodore Roosevelt: “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Whether it’s in the workplace or in my personal life I think the spirit of compassion is essential. It’s not just about what service was delivered, but how. Did the recipient walk away feeling like he or she was made to feel important in that moment? Imparting that feeling is what drives me helping others.
I love to read, watch movies, go on day hikes, and try new foods. I have a Masters in ABA and Educational Counseling. I have worked as a BCBA for 8 years servicing young children to adults with a range of developmental and emotional disorders. Working for ABCS gives you a feeling of teamwork and heart that is hard to find. I feel like every client and every employee is made to feel special, so it’s a wonderful place to grow in service. What I would tell a new therapist is to be ready to work hard and laugh! If you feel a calling to serve, you will find a place here. Never be afraid to ask questions. You can learn something new everyday.
Ms. Karina, BCBA Team Liaison A motto that I am driven by is “Be Love”. Approach everyday as an opportunity to share your love. Love those around you, love what you do, and love yourself. Strive to discover your full potential and the potential in those you teach…. possibilities are infinite. I spend my time appreciating nature and practicing yoga. Nature is everywhere, it can be found on a walk, swimming in the ocean, spending time with family and friends. Plant a seed. It can be a literal seed that grows a flower/veggie or a positive action seed that can grow hope for yourself and others.
I have been blessed to work with amazing people in a variety ofsettings including retirement homes, special recreation programs,schools, and homes. At sixteen I worked at a retirement home and thatignited my educational pursuit to learn how to best serve the people I was working with. I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in EducationalPsychology. After working in the ABA field for a few years I went back and completed a post graduate program in Behavior Analysis and passed my Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam in 2018.
ABCS is a dream team of therapists who share the same passionof teaching others. We are a collaborative team that become stronger by the day sharing strategies and success stories. ABCS is lead by a caring management team-we have so much fun celebrating at our annual parties and team outings. Advice would you give a ABCS candidate would be learning is continuous, natural and unique to every person. Approach everyday as an opportunity to learn something new from colleagues, parents, and the individuals we work with. We all have knowledge to share from our experiences…so share and ask many questions.
It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself……summarized by Megginson from Charles Darwin in his “Origin of Species.”
Ms. Robyn, Senior Behavior Therapist Favorite Quote: Live Love Laugh Book: Kissing Doorknobs or Mutant Message Down Under
I graduated UIC with a BA in Applied Psychology in 2009. I then went to work as a DSP then Case Manager for adults with developmental disabilities before starting in the ABA world with ABCS in 2014. I began working part time for immediately falling in love with the ABA world and all of the kiddos I served during home sessions. This led me to begin working full time with ABCS in December 2016 working both in the school and home setting further enhancing my knowledge in ABA. I love supporting the kids on my caseload. While we have our challenging days at times, it is always amazing to see the progress they make. I like to spend my days off hanging out with my family and friends.I would tell a potential candidate to never be afraid to ask questions or bounce ideas off of coworkers. We learn so much from each other by doing this and are then able to bring various tips and tricks into our sessions.
Ms Vicky, Senior Behavior Therapist I has been with ABCS since 2011. I have nine years of experience in ABA and Autism field. I have a certified with an Autism Certificate (AC) it recognizes professionals dedicated to promoting quality care in the field of Autism.
The most inspiring aspect of being an ABA therapist is seeing what team work can do. A team working together is our number one goal. When I am not working I am enjoy relaxing, crochet, and some gardening during my free time. I find working in natural environments a learning experience for us all. I enjoy working with ABCS because its main focus is the child and what is best for them. If you believe in yourself and your do your best you will be an ABCS superstar. Everyone on our team will help each other out so we can provide the best treatments for our clients.
Ms. Lisbet, Senior Behavior Therapist I help our clients at school as well as at home with coping skills, behavioral plans and academics. I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and minor in sociology. I have always found the human mind to be amazing. I have worked with children my whole life. Before ABCS I was a daycare lead teacher for about 5 years. I have worked with children of all ages. I enjoy spending time with my beautiful family. Finding new activities for our daughter. My favorite quote is “choose a job you love, and you will never work another day in your life.” I like making a difference in children's lives. Especially our kids that have more struggles, I love helping them achieve their goals. We have such a great positive Team! My advice for a candidate who wants to join our team have a lot of patience, positive attitude and a passion for helping others.
Ms. Michelle, Senior Behavior Therapist When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, and crafting.As a mother of three children, the best part of working for ABCS is flexibility and an open door policy with management. ABCS makes it simple to obtain balance between work, school and family life. My personal talents include a passion for writing. I currently journal on a regular basis but have a history of writing for local newspapers, as well as for personal and professional blogs.
The most inspiring part of my job as an ABA Therapist is being able to change lives everyday and seeing the affects it can have on the client, their family and their community. I currently work as a Senior Behavior Therapist and have worked in the field of ABA therapy for 9 years. Prior to becoming an ABA therapist, I worked as a Family Support Specialist for special needs families receiving services off the PUNS list. I am currently Level 1 PEAK Certified and have an Autism Certificate through IBCCES. I am currently enrolled at Purdue Global University to obtain my Bachelor of Science in Psychology of Applied Behavior Analysis. My advice for aspiring ABCS candidates would be to come with a desire to both learn and to teach…we all have amazing things to gain and offer regardless of experience!
Ms. Anissa, Lead Behavior Therapist A personal motto that I use are, “if I was in another persons’ situation, how would I want to be treated/handled”. I live by this every day because everyone deserves to be thought of and treated nicely. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with family, my dog, and currently planning my next vacation.
I am a Lead Behavior Therapist which means I work 1:1 with my clients in home and in a school setting. I am certified in an Autism Certificate through IBCCES. I help my clients socially and emotionally. I have always wanted to work with kids because I am the oldest in my family. I spent my time in high school volunteering for ABCS, so I was able to see first hand what this job was.
What I like about working at ABCS is seeing a positive change in my client’s life. Not only are we helping them, but we are able to help their family.
Ms. Mia, Behavior Line Therapist My personal motto would be "Choose to do what makes you happy". I think it's so important to do what you enjoy, otherwise you may find that you are not feeling happy. Find activities, hobbies, and a job that you love can totally transform how you feel! When not working, I love relaxing, attempting to do yoga, reading, and spending time with family and friends, especially my niece and nephew! I am also currently in grad school, so I don't mind taking time to relax!
All of my previous jobs have either been working with kids or working with adults who have disabilities. I have worked within schools, camp, and also worked as a nanny for several summers. I believe that having these different experiences have been useful for my job as a therapist with ABCS because I have had several different perspectives and have been able to see what may or may not work when working with the kids we work with at ABCS. Past experiences can be a great resource to look into. I love how understanding everyone is at ABCS. The other therapists are so helpful, especially when you have questions about a child or a certain program. The bosses are also super understanding and make you feel listened to! I also love working with the children and see the progress that they have made! It is so rewarding when a child can independently do something that you have been working with them on! I would encourage anyone interested in working with kids who have been diagnosed with Autism to apply to ABCS! I would also say to look for activities to do with the kids that are appropriate for them that they would enjoy. Parents, team members, and teachers are great references when you have questions about what areas to focus on with a child!
Ms. Maria M., Behavior Line Therapist My favorite book is Frida Kahlo; it’s a very inspirational story about overcoming adversity in life. I have been working with kids since I was 11 years old, being the youngest of seven, and all those hours spent watching my nieces and nephews has finally paid off. I am also raising my 14-year old son has been the greatest preparation for this job. When I’m not working, I enjoy watching TV shows about home improvement, DIY, and crime dramas. I also enjoy doing arts and crafts.My favorite part about working for ABCS is the kids. The advice I’d give to a new candidate is be yourself.
Ms. Maria C, Behavior Line Therapist My favorite books are Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.I have a Bachelors in Sociology and soon I would like to get my Masters in Social Work. Before working for ABCS, I was and continue to do caregiving, part time, in which I assist the elderly and disabled.When I’m not working, I love to explore hidden gems in Chicago, such as, restaurants, parks, art galleries, etc. I also like to hangout with my friends, listen to music, travel and take pictures.
Some of the things I like about working at ABCS is how welcoming our team is. Dan and Cristy truly care about the kids and the therapists. They go above and beyond to make our work environment as best it can be. Dan and Cristy are flexible and work with you one-on-one in making sure you have a great experience here at ABCS.A piece of advice I have for anyone considering joining our team is that you should enjoy working with kids, you have to be ready and quick on your feet for any challenge you may encounter but most importantly, have fun doing ABA!
Ms. Cynthia “Chrissy”, Behavior Line Therapist The most inspiring part of my job is seeing a child’s progress and knowing I played a part in that progression. When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and children. Both of my children love sports so we spend most of our weekends watching my children compete in basketball and volleyball competitions.
As far as prior work experience goes I was a preschool teacher for over 15 years and over the years I’ve taught many children with special needs. Some were diagnosed, most were not. There were many times I would alter lessons and interest areas to accommodate these beautiful minds. My close friends would say my special skill is listening. They always come to me when they need to talk about positive or not so positive things going on in their lives.
The advice I would like to give a candidate who wants to join our team of superstars is to enter with an open heart and open mind. There are going to be good and not so good days but the work we do is helping children reach their full capacity. We are an important part of these children’s foundation.
Ms. Takyra, Behavior Line Therapist “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The values that drive me are faith, commitment, passion, and love. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, shopping, and traveling. I am currently employed as a Behavior Therapist. I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communicative Disorders. Prior to this accomplishment, I spent many years working and volunteering with children and individuals with special needs (children and adults.)
I enjoy working with our clients and being there to help or even just being a present support for them. It’s amazing to watch the way in which each individual develops and interact with the therapists and their peers. Also, the team of individuals, that I am fortunate to work with, are very supportive, passionate, and knowledgeable about the work that they do, which makes the experience even more enjoyable. Everyday is different, not always smooth sailing, but always something to look forward to!
Ms. Gabriela, Behavior Line Therapist The most inspiring part about my job are the small victories I see with my kids everyday! It’s the victories, the positive comments from parents, teachers, and students regarding the child’s progress, and of course the smiles on my kid’s faces that motivate me to work my hardest to help them reach and exceed their full potential.
When I am not working I enjoy spending time with my loved ones! Whether it’s vacationing to a new destination or simply sharing a meal, my time is best spent with the ones I love. Ever since I was little I have always had a love for baking. After minoring in nutrition I have tried to put a healthier spin on some of my favorite desserts and I enjoy finding new and creative ways to make delicious and healthier desserts! I earned a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While I was pursuing my bachelors degree, I began volunteering at the Ray Graham Hanson Center where we provide therapeutic horseback riding to people with disabilities, this is where my love for working with children with autism started! As an ABA therapist I use Applied Behavior Analysis principles while working 1:1 with children in a school and/or home environment, often with a team of therapist to help them reach and exceed their full potential and attain new skills.
What I like most about working at ABCS is that I work with a team of people who really care about and love what they do! It is truly such a positive and fun work environment, and time and time again ABCS shows their commitment to their therapist and clients. ABCS has allowed me to follow my passion and although I go to work everyday, it never feels like it because I love what I do! If you want to join our team of superstars first make sure that you have a passion for helping children, enjoy working in a team environment, and do not mind driving. Second, leave your suits and heels at home and be ready to have some fun! As an ABA therapist I often find myself sitting or playing on the floor, running during gym or recess, and ending my day with paint and markers on me. I love being able to provide therapy without my kids even realizing it! Third, be ready for a new challenge everyday as no day is the same. Fourth but not least, and be ready to learn, these kids will teach you a whole lot very quick!