Mississippi Centers for Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities

Turning Disabilities Into Possibilities One Day at a Time.

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.

Katelyn Martin, BCBA, LBA

Katelyn Martin is the Interim Clinical Director Of Operations and 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 – 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 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.

Katherine Horn, BCABA

Katherine is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst 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.

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.

Doreen Shoemake, Registered Behavior Technician

I was born and raised in the Philippines. Graduated College in 1995 and obtained Bachelors Degree in Pharmacy from the University of the Visayas, Cebu, Philippines. Married to my husband Joe for 18 ½ years and counting, and live in Vancleave, MS with my two sons, Matthew and Tristan. As a family we love to go camping and hiking in nature. National Parks are our favorite places to go. As for me, cooking and flower gardening are my hobbies while at home.

For the last 15 years, from working in the drugstore to working  with individuals and students that has Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, to doing volunteer work at school and as a Substitute Teacher, this gives me a vast opportunity to exploring life lessons. I understand that every kid is unique, and this gives me immense pleasure to interact and  I am excited to develop relationships that will make a positive impact in their lives, and connect in different age groups and cultural background.