Sarah Steinberg, MS, BCBA – Founder and President
Sarah received her Masters in Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis from California State University, Los Angeles. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 10 years of experience working in home, school, and clinical settings. She has given behavioral workshops and conducted training seminars. Sarah is a wife and mother of four children and grew up with a younger brother with Autism. Sarah brings the heart of a sister and a mother to every family she meets.
Melissa Pohl, MS, BCBA – Clinical Director
Melissa Pohl has a Bachelor’s in Clinical Psychology from Towson University, a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from American University, and is a practicing Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Melissa has been working with individuals with Autism for 11 years in various settings such as private school, in the community, home-based therapy programs, and the public school. From 2009-2011, Melissa worked as a Psychology Associate at Kennedy Krieger’s Neurobehavioral Unit. She spent time assessing and treating problem behavior with individuals with Developmental Disabilities, including Autism. During the summer of 2009, Melissa spent 3 days a week teaching Extended School Year Services within a program for children with Autism in Howard County Public Schools.
Melissa has worked with countless specialists, therapists, and families to help generalize educational and behavioral programs. Melissa has been fortunate to serve a diverse range and age of students. Her experience has included but is not limited to skill assessment, program development, behavioral assessment, intervention development, data collection, data analysis, staff training, and parent training.
Melissa loves working with individuals with Autism and enjoys getting to know each child and family she serves. Melissa is passionate about meeting a new client and trying to understand the world from his or her perspective. Melissa loves seeing her clients reach their full potential, and make progress towards their personal and academic goals.
Fun Fact: I can *almost* talk with my mouth shut. I should have joined the circus! But that wouldn’t have been as much fun.
Background: I grew up outside of Philadelphia, but moved to New York as an adolescent, so that will forever officially be “where I am from!” I lived in Maryland for 15 years, during college, graduate school, and after prior to moving to Illinois this Fall. I am a rookie to the area.
What led me to work with children: I have ALWAYS loved working with children, but doing ABA fell into my lap! A friend introduced me to an in-home service, part-time position while I was getting my Master’s in Clinical Psychology. I fell in love with the work, and shifted gears in my education to learn more! Here I am, 11 years later, and I still have the same love now that I did back then.
Contact Melissa Pohl today for a Chicago ABA Therapy in-home consultation!
Marissa Bennett, MA, BCBA – Senior BCBA and Director of School Support Services
Marissa Bennett earned a Bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences while minoring in Psychology and Jewish Studies and a Master’s degree in Special Education focusing in Emotional Behavior Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorder, from Indiana University. She is currently a practicing Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Marissa has worked with children and adults with a variety of special needs including: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Various genetic disorders, Emotional Behavior Disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Hyperactive Attention Deficit Disorder as well as with the Deaf and hard of hearing community for the last 14 years. She has worked in a variety of settings including group homes, day programs, recreational programs such as camp, schools, clinical settings and in home settings. Marissa has also traveled with the Global Autism Project to Jakarta, Indonesia to help train ABA therapists and present information to parents and other professionals.
Marissa enjoys collaborating with specialists such a speech therapists, occupational therapists, and school professionals to help children be successful across settings. With Marissa’s education background she enjoys doing teacher trainings, classroom and school wide behavior plans and supporting parents through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process.
Marissa is very passionate about the work she does and truly believes that the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) not only helps support the learning of children and adults with special needs, but also shapes each of our lives. Marissa enjoys watching a family progress through treatment and really learn why people do what they do and how we change behavior both to decrease negative behavior and to also increase important skills that people need to be successful not only in schools and home, but to be independent through life and into a career. This critical understanding empowers parents and teachers to develop tools and strategies to confidently interact with their child and helps them teach their child as well.
Fun Fact: She has two pets at home. One is Chandler Bing a wheaten terrier dog, who loves to lick, cuddle, and play. Her second pet is Victor Ola’ Tortoise, a Russian tortoise who enjoys eating greens and soaking in warm water.
Background: Marissa grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago. She then moved to Indiana for school and came back to the northern suburbs of Chicago after completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
What led Marissa to work with children: “When I was a child I grew up in the special education system. Upon entering Junior high with the support of my parents I “graduated” from special education and began utilizing the tools I had been taught to navigate how I learn and what I needed to do be successful in the education system . I always enjoyed being with children through babysitting, and helping kids with special needs at camp. When it came time to decide what I wanted to do with my career, I knew I wanted to work with children with special needs. This took me on a journey of learning about the variety of ways I could impact people’s lives and help them learn. It was not until I found ABA that I truly felt like I was using my experiences, knowledge, and passion to help support clients and their families.”
Nick Wilhelm, MA, BCBA – ABA Program Supervisor
Nick Wilhelm is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who has been with Steinberg Behavior Solutions since October of 2017. Nick has been working and studying in the field of developmental disabilities since 2003, when he was introduced to the field of Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis in college at the University of Arkansas. During this time, Nick gained experience by participating in practicums at a Neuro-rehabilitation institute for persons with traumatic brain injuries, as well as working as a teacher’s assistant at a school for children with a variety of developmental disabilities.
Based on these college experiences, Nick pursued further education in Applied Behavior Analysis by attending graduate school at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, starting in 2006 and earning his master’s degree in 2008. Nick became board certified in behavior analysis in the fall of 2008. During these years, Nick completed practicums in a variety of settings, including a school for adolescents with severe problem problems, a summer camp for children with Autism that incorporated precision teaching methodologies, and a vocational day program for adults with a wide variety of developmental disabilities.
Upon graduation, Nick began work as a BCBA at a school for children with Autism, developing students’ behavior programs and collaborating with special education teachers to develop student learning goals. Nick also worked at an impatient behavioral health hospital, providing inpatient services and developing outpatient continuing care plans for children and adolescents with severe problem behaviors and skill deficits.
Nick has been providing in home services for children with Autism since January of 2016.
Fun Fact: outside of studying behavior analysis, Nick can be found playing guitar with ensembles at the Old Town School of Folk Music, studying history (particular interest in Renaissance history), and devising plans for his next trip to fulfill his goal of visiting all 50 states and visiting an overseas country at least one time per year.
Mary Lally, MA, BCBA – ABA Program Supervisor
Mary Lally has been working as Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with Steinberg Behavior Solutions since April 2016. Before joining the SBS team, Mary served as the BCBA for a school district in the south suburbs of Chicago. In addition to working as a BCBA in a variety of settings, Mary previously worked as a special education teacher in junior high and elementary classrooms. It was her experience as a teacher that encouraged her to pursue her BCBA certification.
Between students in the classroom and clients in the home setting, Mary has experienced the powerful changes that can occur with applied behavior analysis (ABA). Since becoming certified in 2014 through Southern Illinois University, Mary has assessed clients using the VB-MAPP, PEAK, and Essential for Living. All of which have allowed her to develop treatment plans with the client’s needs at the forefront. Mary is passionate about working with families to address the needs of their children with Autism. Her goal is to help families identify their child’s strength and increase their independence.
Fun Fact: When Mary isn’t studying for her Phd in ABA, she enjoys singing (poorly) karaoke.
Carly Lapin, MS, BCBA – ABA Program Supervisor
Carly Lapin is a Chicago-based ABA therapist from Deerfield, Illinois. Carly received her master’s in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas where she conducted research with children diagnosed with autism. Specifically, her research focused on rapport building between children with autism and their behavioral therapists. Carly is currently in a doctoral program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology working towards her PhD in behavior analysis. Carly’s passion and area of expertise is in the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior.
In addition to working on the Chicago ABA Therapy team, Carly serves as the assistant editor of her school’s journal, “The Practice of Behavior Analysis”. The mission of the Practice of Behavior Analysis is to promote and disseminate empirically validated research to strengthen the scientist-practitioner model that is the hallmark of ABA practices.
Fun fact: Carly enjoys adrenaline filled activities and adventures such as skydiving, white-water rafting, zip lining, and road trips to national parks to observe stars in dark sky areas.
Julie Langan, BFA – Behavior Therapist
Julie has served individuals with disabilities and disorders for over 14 years as a fine arts teacher, camp counselor, volunteer and now behavior therapist. Julie is a Chicago native who recently moved back to the city after working as an actress in Hollywood.
Julie discovered A.B.A when transitioning out of the entertainment industry and found a job posting that read: “Are you great with kids? Are you fun?” she thought, “Yes and yes!”. She was then hired by the Los Angeles based A.B.A. agency, FirstSteps for Kids and was trained by some of the top practitioners and researchers in the field. Julie has worked with clients from ages 2-22 in home, school and clinic settings.
Since Julie is an entertainer at heart she creates fun, dynamic sessions while constantly promoting learning opportunities in the process. Julie has a knack for speaking in different accents and can deliver on the spot, just ask!
Through her work as a behavior therapist, Julie discovered the power of positive change through evidence based, effective treatments and is pursuing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Kelsey Baxter, MA, BCBA – Behavior Therapist
Work experience: I started working for a company called NISRA in 2012, which is a great company who does different programs and activities in the community for children and adults with disabilities while working here I landed another job working for a young lady on life skills in the home and community. She is now one of my best friends and the reason I decided to pursue a higher education in the field of special education. While working on my undergrad I was introduced to ABA and worked for one client doing in-home therapy for a company called CHATT. After school, I came home and worked for Pioneer Center as a DSP for adults. While working here I quickly realized I wanted to go back to school to pursue my Masters in ABA and moved on to a therapeutic day school called Alexander Leigh Center for Autism. I worked there as a 1:1 and then program manager assistant before leaving to work for SBS :].
Education: I have an associate from MCC, a BA from UW-Whitewater with a minor in Special education and will graduate with a Masters in ABA/emphasis in Autism from Ball State in April. What leads me to work with children? I grew up in a family of teachers. My dad is a teacher at Vernon Hills high school and told me since I was little that I would be a teacher, so I always knew working with children and teaching was something I wanted to do.
What I enjoy the most: I love the relationships I have and get to build with my clients and their families. I have met some truly inspiring individuals and learn something new from each client almost every week.
Fun facts: I am getting married June 1st 2018 and will become a Caldwell! It is also said that Thomas Edison is my great, great, great and greater, grandpa on my father’s side of the family.
Be sure to check out the Steinberg Behavior Solutions blog for expert advice from our therapists.