Director, Program Operations

ABA Therapy is a growing team of people expanding to meet the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the southern Mississippi area. The program director works closely with our other Board Certified Behavior Analysts and Registered Behavior Therapists (RBT) to provide a growing variety of services in an expanding number of locations.

 

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

The BCBA will be responsible for conducting the initial evaluation/assessment, program development, initial parent training, and overseeing the program for each child. This includes periodic direct supervision of Implementers during sessions and parent training.  A BCBA is a master’s level clinician who has undergone

ABA course work, on-site practice, and supervision, and has passed the Behavior Analyst Certification Board exam and is licensed by the State of Mississippi to provide Applied Behavior Analysis Services.

 

Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)

The RBTs are responsible for the implementation of the program. They will be working one on one with the child. RBTs have at least a Bachelor’s in Psychology or a related field and have received formal training in ABA through MCARDD. Implementers also receive intensive training by a BCBA and BCaBAs prior to working with any child, and continuous supervision once assigned to a child.

Wayne Williams, Ed.S., BCBA, LBA

Wayne Williams is the Executive Director of Clinical Operation for the Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities.  He has worked with individuals, who have Autism, since 2001.  His University degrees include a Specialist Degree in Education, a M.S. in Special education with a specialization in working with emotional behavior disorders, and a M.S. in Curriculum and Instructional Design with a Specialization in Autism.  Mr. Williams is also a board-Certified Behavior Analyst and is licensed to practice Applied Behavior Analysis in the states of Mississippi and Alabama.  Wayne Williams’ research regards how environmental factors affect individuals who have Autism, how reinforcement can be used to teach complex behaviors to children who have moderate levels of Autism, and how methods of remote teaching, of behavioral intervention to parents, affects behavior change outcomes in individuals with high functioning Autism.  Additionally, his hobbies are woodworking and US History.  Wayne Williams is happily married and has five children and six grandchildren.

Katelyn Martin, BCBA, LBA

Katelyn Martin is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities.  She has two years of experience working with children in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis providing direct ABA therapy in the 1:1 clinical setting.  She also assists with conducting and writing Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans, delivers parent and family training, graphs and analyzes data, coordinates services with other providers, and performs assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Katelyn is passionate about using ABA to create meaningful, functional behavior change in children to improve and enrich their lives in all areas.  Her special interests include reducing maladaptive behaviors such as aggression and tantrums and increasing functional verbal behavior.

Katelyn graduated in April 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology from Columbia Southern University and in December of 2017 with a M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism from the Sage Colleges.  She plans to take her certification test to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in May 2018.  Her past volunteer work includes serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in Harrison County.  She lives in Gulfport, MS, with her husband and two children, Ben and Lilly.

Kristin Webb BCBS, LBA – Registered Behavior Technician

Kristin Webb has been caring for others since 1999.  Her volunteer experience includes an array of mentoring and organizational skills, which she incorporates in her profession, as a Behavior Facilitator.    She attained an Associate’s Degree from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 2003.  Thereafter, she attained her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychology and a Minor in Criminal Justice from The University of Southern Mississippi.  Mrs. Webb’s passion as a behavior facilitator is to improve the student’s behavior in all of their surroundings.  Her association with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is very personal.  She has a brother with Autism.  This blessing influenced her work with families who experience the many joys and struggles of ASD.  Kristin believes that families with Autism need adequate education in support for their ability to help improve the behavior and social interactions of their loved one.  Thus, Kristin Webb strives to support families affected by Autism and make sure all interventions and therapies are understood and implemented at home.  Currently, Kristin serves as the Office Manager and a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) for the Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities. Her hobbies include cooking, pottery, and enjoying her family. Kristin is an Office Manager for Kristin is happily married and resides in Petal, MS

Donna Holland Joachim – Director, Education Enrichment

Donna Joachim is one who is committed and devoted to the support and advancement of the Autistic Community.  Having a niche for education, Ms. Joachim successfully attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, as well as a Master’s Degree in Special Education, from The University of Southern Mississippi.  She has 32 years of educational experience in the Harrison County and Biloxi School Districts.  Additionally, Donna Joachim is proficient of various educational disciplines including: Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH), Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), and Augmentative Communications Systems.  Currently, Donna Joachim serves as the Director of Education Outreach and as an Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT), employing multifaceted approaches through the use of Autistic enabling techniques and technologies, that support the development of the whole child.

Emma Smith – Office Manager

Emma Smith has been involved in early child development and education in multiple aspects for over 40 years.  Her volunteer involvement consists of caring for children, creating activities, and developing a safe and healthy environment for all children.  She also ran her own daycare for over ten years.

Emma studied Early Childhood Education at Lawson State Junior College in Birmingham, Alabama, and Prince George Community College in Largo, Maryland.  She received her national Child Development Associate Credential in the early 1990’s.

Currently, Emma serves as a receptionist for the Mississippi Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.  She enjoys encouraging families of children with disabilities.  Her hobbies include cooking, creating floral arrangements, shopping, and enjoying her grandchildren.

Tiffany Hill, Registered Behavior Technician

Tiffany Hill is a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) at the Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities. She has one year of experience as an RBT. Tiffany is a former educator with 14 years of classroom experience. She attended William Carey University where she obtained both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Her certifications include reading, English and Special Education. Tiffany has taught Kindergarten, 6th grade Science and Special Education K-8. She has also served as the LSC Chairperson for Special Education. Tiffany has first-hand knowledge of IEPs and behavior plans as well as classroom instruction and interventions.  Also, Tiffany is currently pursuing her endorsement in psychometry which will allow her to administer several types of assessments.

Tiffany resides in Vancleave with her husband, Josh, and two children, Hunter and Kyleigh. Her hobbies include fishing, bonfires, reading and spending time with family. She is a graduate of St. Martin High School where she played basketball and softball.

Janie Hamrick, Registered Behavior Technician

Janie Hamrick has been heavily involved and passionate within the field of child and family advocacy both academically and personally. Janie graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in May of 2018 with a B.A. in Child and Family Development. She also attained her Birth through Kindergarten teaching licensure in the state of North Carolina before moving to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Janie now serves as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) for the Mississippi Centers for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities and is pursuing Master’s level coursework from the University of West Florida to attain her Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification. Janie is passionate for providing evidence based services that are individualized to specific needs in order to promote functional behavior and language. Janie enjoys exploring and enjoying her new home in Mississippi and acclimating from the mellow North Carolina weather to the intense Mississippi humidity!

Jodi Frock, Registered Behavior Technician

Jodi Frock is a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) at the Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities. She began volunteering at the Center March of 2018 by observing aba therapy. She has worked with children of all ages to reduce problem behaviors such as aggression and tantrums. She has also worked on increasing functional verbal behavior with many clients. Jodi is currently attending Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and plans on acquiring her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Phycology. She is then planning to obtain her Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) to advance her career in Behavioral Therapy. Jodi is most passionate about using ABA therapy to promote behavior change in children that not only betters their lives but their families as well. She really enjoys witnessing the positive shift in behavior that ABA produces.

Before moving to Mississippi, Jodi lived in Washington state for 5 years with her loving husband and 2 children. She was born and raised in the state of Pennsylvania. Of all the places she has traveled, Jodi has found Mississippi to be most like home. She enjoys crafting, decorating in her own home and spending time with her family.

Katherine Horn, Registered Behavior Technician

Katherine is A Registered Behavior Technician at the Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities. She is originally from Clarksdale Mississippi. She graduated from Lee Academy High School and attended Mississippi State University. She graduated in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology. After graduating, Katherine moved to Biloxi, MS and became a teacher’s assistant at North Bay Elementary School in Biloxi Public schools. After three years in Kindergarten and First Grade Katherine decided to pursue her Registered Behavior Technician certification. She has a passion for working with children, especially those with Autism. Katherine works for the children’s program at First Presbyterian Church in Biloxi, in the nursery and teaching Sunday school. She enjoys visiting her family and travelling.

Carmen Payton, Registered Behavioral Technician

Carmen Payton has been passionate about working with children since she was a young girl.  Her mission is to serve as a positive role model to children and young adults to inspire and help them to achieve their goals. Carmen attended Moss Point High school where she graduated in the Top 10% of her class. From there, she graduated in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s Of Arts in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Her volunteer experience consists of participating in the Halloween carnivals, Easter egg hunts, and the Children’s Center Classic at the DuBard School for Language Disorders. In her spare time, Carmen loves to cook and spending time with family and friends.

Carmen is a registered behavioral technician. She plans to further her education by earning a Master Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Carmen is excited about working with children who have autism and other related disabilities. Her goal is to help to teach the skills needed to improve their lives.

Trinity Webb

Trinity Webb is compassionate, skilled, and has a beautiful heart for children with special needs.  She began searching for a career path at an early age.  Her high school Allied Health class eventually helped her attain her CNA license.  Trinity began working in home health care where she became fully involved in caring for an autistic child.  There the passion began!  Her love and concern for children already existed, but this was the flame after the spark.

Trinity graduated from Moss Point High School, class of 2014. In 2016, she received her Associate of Arts degree from MGCCC and she is currently enrolled in WGU where she’s pursuing her Bachelors in Special Education.  Trinity volunteered for 7 years as the sole child care provider for a local chapter of Celebrate Recovery, a ministry to those who struggle with addiction.  There Trinity taught, counseled, entertained, loved, and uplifted children who had seen way too much.  That is where the significance of a child really sunk in and what a blessed opportunity it was to be able to impact/change their lives.

Trinity is an accomplished author with published poems and even an autobiography book, “Triumph & Tragedy”.  Her hobbies include writing, singing, studying, and spending quality time with her brothers

Bridget Piernas

Bridget is currently working towards receiving her credentials to become a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT). She is excited to be able to be able to work within her passion by way of working with MCARDD and the amazing children they  serve.  Bridget’s first opportunity to work with Autistic children was nearly 20 years ago in Las Vegas, NV.  The experience however, was unforgettable. Bridget moved back to Mississippi and was unable to find the same type of work at the time but she knew she wanted to eventually work in the field again. She worked in retail management and office management while completing coursework in Child/Family Psychology and Sign Language Interpreter Training at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She was finally able to make a career change which has enabled her to return to the job that sparked a passion for her so many years ago. She plans to continue her education to obtain her BA and her Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification.  Bridget currently resides in her hometown of  Pass Christian with her fiance’ and  twin sons who keep her busy with their football and basketball games.  In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading and traveling with her family.

Shelby Koch, Registered Behavior Technician

Shelby comes to Mississippi Centers for Autism with many years of passion and dedication to fostering independence and learning in children. She found her love for the field while teaching horseback riding lessons to a young boy with autism, and fondly remembers the games they would play on horseback while also discretely teaching appropriate social skills. In 2016, Shelby graduated from Radford University with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, with a concentration in Recreation Therapy. While in school, Shelby held many organizational leadership positions.  She often played a key role in planning and managing events for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities including a prom for high school students in the community. Shelby graduated with Cum Laude honors, and was also recognized Recreation Therapy Student of the Year.

In her senior year, Shelby accepted a 560 hour internship at Tucker Pavilion, a psychiatric hospital in Richmond, Virginia. While she loved the patients she encountered, she realized that she wanted to be more involved with individuals with autism. With this in mind, she went to work for the Faison Center, a cutting edge school for children with autism that serves over 200 students and their families. There, she was able to practice and learn from some of the best behavior analysts in the nation for over 2 years. She received her RBT certification, and has plans to enroll in Arizona State University’s masters program to obtain her BCBA certification.

In October of 2018, Shelby moved from Richmond, Virginia to Gulfport with her husband, Joey, who serves in the US Navy. The two have a big goofy dog named Meatball, and enjoy taking him to explore new places. In her free time, Shelby rides horses, does yoga, paints, and tends to her many and multiplying succulents.

Nicole Brown, Registered Behavior Technician

Nicole is a Registered Behavior Technician at the Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities. She was born and raised in Ocean Springs, MS and now resides in Pascagoula, Ms with her husband and two children. She graduated from Ocean Springs High School and continued her studies at The University of Southern Mississippi with a major in Social Work. Nicole was an assistant teacher at Eastlawn Elementary School for five years and during her last two years there she was the Computer Science teacher. She recently took a year off to pursue her passion in working with children on the autism spectrum. It is her passion and drive to witness their developmental successes as they begin to grow in their own knowledge and accomplish things they never thought were possible.

Jennifer McDougal – Registered Behavior Technician

Jennifer McDougal is a Registered Behavioral Technician at the Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities. Born in Louisiana and raised in Gulfport, MS. She graduated from Gulfport High in 2004 and from there attended Jefferson Davis college. She has been doing ABA Therapy with children with Autism for a year and a half and loves every minute of it. She really loves the joy of seeing the positive effects of ABA Therapy. Jennifer feels it to be very rewarding to work with children with Autism and seeing them blossom from our services. She is looking to further her education to become more knowledgeable in the Behavioral Therapy field.

Crystal Lawrence – Billing/ Coding

Crystal is the center’s Billing and Coding Specialist at the Mississippi Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities.  She has been employed by the center for 1 year.  Her most important responsibility is working with insurance companies and families using insurances to pay for therapies.

Crystal graduated from Virginia College in 2017 with a degree in Billing and Coding.  She lives with her family in Stone County.  She has two children, Ashlyn and Caden.   Before she was employed at the Center, Crystal brought her son, Caden, who has Autism, to the Center for therapy.  It was a perfect fit for Crystal to join the Center as an employee.  She is knowledgeable of the difficulties families affected by Autism face when searching for support.