Little Leaves is an organization of professionals who are passionate about working with children.

Our program is supervised by master’s and doctoral level Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and delivered by highly-trained therapists. We believe that our children’s families and caregivers are integral members of the treatment team and we treat them that way.
 
Little Leaves knows that providing the highest quality services to your child requires a team effort, and that is how we work. Within Little Leaves, we have created a model for our professionals to collaborate on treatment approaches, share best practices, and continuously learn from each other. Your child will be supported not just by his or her immediate team, but also by the decades of experience and expertise of all of our clinicians, many of whom have studied and trained in the finest ABA programs in the world. Click here to meet our Advisory Board.


Leadership Team

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Heather Jennett, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, Clinical Director, is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has been working with individuals with autism and related disorders for 20 years. Prior to working at Little Leaves, Dr. Jennett was a Senior Behavior Analyst on the Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and held a faculty appointment at the The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Jennett earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Rutgers University and, while there, worked at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center in a variety of roles. She is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis and the Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis, and has presented her research at national and international conferences and published in peer review journals.

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Amie Perl, Managing Director, has spent the better part of her career working for companies that change lives. Prior to joining Little Leaves, she served in various strategic and operational roles at Strayer University and Weightwatchers.com. She began her career in management consulting at The Boston Consulting Group where she worked with companies across a broad range of industries, and worked in finance at Goldman Sachs. Ms. Perl holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and graduated cum laude with a B.A. in applied mathematics from Harvard University. She is involved with Autism Speaks and previously served on the board of the Autism Society of Northern Virginia.

R. Justin Boyd, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and licensed psychologist with over 13 years of experience working with children diagnosed with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.  Dr. Boyd holds a M.S. in Special Education and a Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Oregon.  Before joining Little Leaves, he served as a supervising psychologist with the Neurobehavioral Unit outpatient program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Dr. Boyd is a member of the American Psychological Association, Association for Behavior Analysis International, and Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis. His research has been presented at regional and national conferences and workshops and published in peer-reviewed journals.

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Erin Camp, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, Regional Director (Baltimore), is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who specializes in working with individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Prior to joining Little Leaves, she directed ABA services in a community-based organization in Kansas City, MO. Dr. Camp holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Florida and is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis. Her research has been presented at regional and national conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.


Clinical Coordinators

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Brittney Betancourt, M.A., BCBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a member of the Maryland Association of Behavior Analysis and the Association for Behavior Analysis International. Brittney earned her M.A. in Applied Developmental Psychology from George Mason University, where she specialized in Atypical Development and Behavior Interventions. Prior to becoming a Clinical Coordinator, Brittney was a Lead Therapist at Little Leaves, a research assistant at Towson University’s Cognitive Development Lab, and an intern on the Neurobehavioral Unit (outpatient and inpatient) at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Her research has been presented at regional conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Kristi Jeffery, M.A., BCBA, LBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Maryland Licensed Behavior Analyst.  She holds a M.A. in Human Services Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Florida. Prior to working at Little Leaves, Kristi worked on the Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She has 6 years of experience working with individuals with Autism and intellectual disabilities. Kristi is a member of the Maryland Association of Behavior Analysis.

Amanda B. Link, M.A., BCBA, LBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Maryland Licensed Behavior Analyst who has 8 years of experience working with individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other behavioral and developmental disabilities.  She completed her M.A. in Clinical Psychology at Towson University before earning a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from The University of North Texas.  Before joining Little Leaves, Amanda worked as the School Behavior Specialist for The Forbush Therapeutic Preschool at Towson, a nonpublic special education facility affiliated with Sheppard Pratt Health System, where she developed and implemented behavior programming for children with a variety of needs and disabilities.  Amanda is a member of the Maryland Association of Behavior Analysis.

Angela Malo, M.S., BCBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has more than 5 years of experience working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and developmental disabilities. She holds a M.S. in General Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from Florida Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Little Leaves, Angela provided both center-based and home-based ABA services in Michigan. Additionally, she conducted diagnostic assessments specializing in ASD.

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Jana Murgia, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Virginia Licensed Behavior Analyst, and holds a Postgraduate Professional Teaching License for Special Education in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She has 15 years of experience working with children with Autism and other disabilities. Prior to working at Little Leaves, Jana worked for more than 8 years in both teaching and administrative capacities for Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs, which supports students with Autism, intellectual disabilities, and behavioral challenges. Jana earned her B.A. in Psychology from American University and  her M.Ed from Cambridge College, concentrating in Special Education. She is a member of the Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.

Mandy Park., M.A., BCBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 15 years of experience working with individuals diagnosed with Autism, intellectual disabilities, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Mandy holds a M.A. in Human Services Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Prior to joining Little Leaves, Mandy worked on the Neurobehavioral Inpatient Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and spent the last 7 years there providing case management, supervising clinical staff, and overseeing the treatment of individuals with severe problem behaviors. Mandy is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis. Her research has been presented at regional and national conferences and in published peer-reviewed journals.

Lauren Pickhartz, M.A., BCBA, LBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analysist who has been working with children and adolescents in various settings for the past 7 years. She completed her M.A. in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University before earning a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Florida Institute of Technology.  Prior to joining Little Leaves, Lauren worked in a clinic based setting in California where she supervised early start intervention programs, socialization groups and in home behavior treatment. She is a member of the California Association for Behavior Analysis as well as a member of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.  

Jess Poyer, M.S., BCBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 6 years of experience working with individuals with Autism and other developmental disabilities. She holds a M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western New England University. Before joining Little Leaves, Jess was an intern at the Virginia Institute of Autism, and worked at the New England Center for Children.  At NECC, Jess worked in both Massachusetts and Abu Dhabi with young adults in a residential program and preschoolers in a day program. She is a member of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.

Maureen Rushton, BCaBA, LaBA, is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst and Virginia Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst who specializes in working with children with Autism. She has worked in the area of early intervention for the past 10 years; providing services in school, home, and clinic settings. Prior to working at Little Leaves, Maureen spent over 5 years as an ABA Program Supervisor at The Shafer Center, a non-public school for children with Autism located in Owings Mills, Maryland. Maureen holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and completed her Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis at The Pennsylvania State University. She is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis. Maureen is also a member of the national Autism Society as well as the Baltimore Autism Society where she served as a board member for 2 years.

Bianca Vassare, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a member of Association for Behavior Analysis International. She obtained her Ph.D. and 2 master's degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis from Columbia University. Prior to working at Little Leaves, she spent 5 years applying CABASÒ ABA methodology in school settings to enhance verbal behavior repertoires of children diagnosed with Autism and other developmental disabilities. In addition, she has presented at the Association for Behavior Analysis International annual conference.


Lead Therapists and Training Specialists

Leslie Brittain, M.A., RBT,  is a Registered Behavior Technician and a member of the Virginia Association of Behavior Analysis.  She holds a M.A. in Psychological Sciences with a concentration in Behavior Analysis, and a B.A. in Psychology and Special Education from James Madison University.  Leslie has worked with children and young adults who have developmental disabilities in multiple therapeutic settings including homes, private schools, clinics, and public schools.  She has completed the requirements to sit for her BCBA exam and plans to take the exam in the upcoming months.  

Carolyn Crysdale, M.S., BCBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a member of the Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis and the Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis. She holds a M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Shenandoah University. Prior to working at Little Leaves, Carolyn was a Behavior Data Specialist at the Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as a Senior Teaching Assistant in the Autism program at the Ivymount School. She also worked as an Associate Therapist for Little Leaves from 2012 to 2013. Carolyn has over 7 years of experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities, and has presented on her research with colleagues in areas related to social attention preference-based treatment and escape-maintained problem behavior at several regional conferences.

Matthew Halstad, M.A., has worked with children in the field of behavior psychology for over 5 years, in a wide range of residential and school-based settings. Prior to joining Little Leaves, he worked as a Behavior Resource Specialist with the Kennedy Krieger Institute, where he designed and implemented behavior interventions for students in their early childhood program. Matthew holds a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Towson University, and is currently completing post-graduate coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis at Penn State University, in pursuit of national certification.

Cristina Palacios, RBT, is a Registered Behavior Technician. Prior to working with Little Leaves, she earned her B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech. For 2 years, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Child Study Center examining treatments of specific phobias and Oppositional Defiant Disorder in children and adolescents. Cristina also worked as a Program Assistant for John’s Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Prior to becoming a Training Specialist, Cristina was an Associate Therapist with Little Leaves for 3 years. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Professional Behavior Analysis at Florida Institute of Technology, conducting research on skill acquisition and delays to reinforcement, and is in pursuit of national certification.

Carrie Scheffenacker, M.A., BCBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a member of the Maryland Association of Behavior Analysis.  She holds a M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis with an concentration in Autism from Ball State University, and a B.A. in Psychology from West Virginia University. She has worked with children with developmental disabilities for over 6 years in multiple academic and therapeutic settings.  Prior to joining Little Leaves, Carrie worked at the Model Asperger Program at The Ivymount School in Rockville, MD.

Jessica Schuwer, MSc, RBT, is a Registered Behavior Technician. She has worked with children with developmental disabilities for over 4 years in both home and school settings. Prior to becoming a Lead Therapist at Little Leaves, she was an Associate Therapist with the company and also worked as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist in London, England. Jessica earned her BSc in Psychology from the University of Surrey and her MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from the University College London. She is currently enrolled in the a post-master's certificate program in ABA at Johns Hopkins University School of Education and is pursuing national certification in the field. 

Melissa Spear, RBT, is a Registered Behavior Technician. She has worked with children with developmental disabilities in a variety of settings conducting assessments, developing and implementing behavior programs, and providing social skills training. She also has experience training parents, teachers, and clinic staff on behavioral principles and interventions. Melissa holds her B.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in behavior, has completed graduate level coursework in clinical child psychology, and is currently enrolled in BACB-approved coursework in pursuit of national certification. 

Becky Strawbridge, RBT, is a Registered Behavior Technician.  She has worked with children with developmental disabilities for over 3 years in both home and school settings. Prior to becoming a Lead Therapist at Little Leaves, she was an Associate Therapist with the company and also worked as an ABA therapist for a local organization that services individuals with autism across the lifespan. Becky earned her B.A. in Psychology from Salisbury University.  She is currently enrolled in a BACB-approved Master’s degree program in Applied Behavior Analysis and is pursuing national certification in the field. 


Associate Therapists

Associate Therapists work under the supervision of our Clinical Coordinators and implement the treatment according to the plan. Our therapists have extensive experience working with children and a true passion for what they do. Before working with your child, all therapists receive intensive training from us both in the theory of ABA and how to work specifically with your child. They either have or are pursuing certifications as Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs).


Administration

Marina Major, CEO, joined the founding team after 10 years with British Schools of America, a leading provider of British style international education based here in Washington DC. Ms. Major served as both its CFO and COO and was responsible for starting up four schools in the U.S. and assisting in the development of its international school. Ms. Major had oversight and responsibility for all BSA operations, spearheaded its expansion and multimilllion dollar construction projects and served on the school’s board of directors. Previously, she was Director of Administration and International Operations for Micro Analytics Inc., a leading logistics software developer and was responsible for company-wide operations at BT Office Products, where she worked directly for the executive board on corporate development initiatives. Ms. Major received a B.B.A. from the College of William and Mary, majoring in marketing with a minor in Spanish, holds a certificate in accounting from the University of Virginia, and is currently a CPA in the State of Virginia. 

Lisa Mummey, Business Manager, joined Little Leaves with 12+ years of experience in medical billing for non-profit facilities and physician offices, and provider relations for an insurance company. She has extensive experience supporting patients in ensuring they receive the full benefits available through their plan.

Catherine “Cassie” Raley, Operations Manager, comes to us from St. Mary’s County, MD.  She graduated cum laude with a B.A. in conflict analysis/dispute resolution and anthropology from Salisbury University.  Catherine found her passion for health care administration while working in the front office of an outpatient therapy clinic in Southern Maryland.  Since her initial role, she has gained experience in front office skills, insurance coordination and verification, and human resources management.  Catherine plans to attend graduate school for health administration.

Laura Sullivan, Recruiting Manager, helps Little Leaves attract and hire the best therapists in the area.  In this role, she combines her passion for children with special needs with many years of experience in the corporate sector working for companies such as Reuters and Microsoft.  Laura is very familiar with what the position entails as she spent over two years as an Associate Therapist with Little Leaves and eight years before that working in Special Education classrooms at Loudoun County Public Schools.  Laura is a graduate of San Jose State University, and holds a Graduate Certification in Teaching Autism from George Mason University.  She is a world-traveler and is also a certified USTF Track and Field coach.

Mel Valier, Business Manager, joined Little Leaves with 15+ years of healthcare accounting, auditing, and contract analyzing experience. Prior to joining Little Leaves, Mel worked for OPTUM as a Contract Analyst for over 11 years; where she was the top performer in the territory while retaining high quality. Mel has extensive knowledge and expertise in handling a variety of insurance payers and in healthcare reimbursement methodology. She is a part time student in college studying for her B.S. in Social Work.