About Us

Sarah Hively – Executive Director (MA, BCBA)

Hello! My name is Sarah Hively. I am the owner and Executive Director of A.B.S. Behavioral Services, LLC., and am also a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).  My love for working with individuals with and without disabilities stems from my own experiences having a learning disability and ADHD.  I know firsthand what it feels like to learn “outside of the box”, to feel frustrated at times because of these challenges, and to exercise patience, understanding, and perseverance to stick with something until I achieve success!  It is my belief that because I think and learn in a different way, I am able to have insight into our kiddo’s experiences. This perspective allows me to be creative when problem solving and developing functional programing and interventions. 

After working and gaining experience in public and private schools, homes, and clinics ranging in size from small startups to larger organizations such as The Marcus Center, I decided to take a leap of faith and start A.B.S. Behavioral Services in 2012.  My continued mission is to provide individuals with and without disabilities, families, teachers, and schools with quality services that will lead to a meaningful change. With so many potential stressors and challenges individuals and families with disabilities (especially autism) face, we strive to provide support and realistic solutions without judgment. I truly think of the kids and families we serve and work with as extended family members. Whether it is tackling those tricky challenging behaviors, teaching school readiness, joint attention, communication, play and social skills, or more everyday functional life skills such as potty training, bedtime routines, or sitting at the dinner table eating a meal together, we will approach the behavior and skill in an applied, functional, and realistic way to ensure progress that will have a positive impact on every individual’s life!

In my free time I enjoy going to the gym and working out, watching Bravo TV, and “Fun Fridays” with my husband and two daughters. I strive to always be a team player, have a sense of humor when I (inevitably!) drop the ball either as a boss, clinician, wife, or mom, exercise patience with myself and others, and most importantly be appreciative for the things I have and people in my life!

 

Colleen Coley, MS, BCBA, Staff Development Coordinator

Hi!  My name is Colleen, and I have been on the A.B.S team since 2013. I began as a practicum student when working towards my Master’s degree, have worked as a line therapist, and I am currently working as a BCBA and the Staff Development Coordinator. I grew up all over the place as my dad was in the Navy.  My family landed in Indiana, where I went to high school and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2012 (Bachelor’s in psychology).  My first introduction to ABA was through an undergraduate course on Autism, and from there I never looked back!  In 2011, I began to work at the Logan Center in South Bend Indiana as a line therapist, and I loved getting to work one on one with the kids and knowing that the work we were doing was empirically proven to make a difference.  After graduation, I enrolled at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology to pursue a Master’s degree in ABA, which I did in 2014.  Since then I have worked with children, their families, their teachers, and their other service providers in a wide range of settings and with all types of skill sets.  I especially love working with staff and parents to ensure that clients are set up for success across every aspect of their life.  I have a particular soft spot for my social skills group, which focuses on social skills, problem solving, and flexibility.  Working with children with disabilities has always felt like a natural fit for me.  I grew up in a family with children with a range of disabilities, which has taught me to be creative about finding ways to be inclusive.  In high school, I was the president of my school’s Best Buddies chapter, a club that pairs kids with and without disabilities in one-to-one friendships.  What I thought would be a high school friendship turned into one of my longest (and most fun) friendships today, and taught me that disability is a tiny part of what makes a person who they are. My priority in my job is making sure that all children have the best chance they can to become independent and build meaningful friendships.  When I’m off the clock, I enjoy cooking, crafting, being outside, and sharing those activities with my family, friends, and crazy dog.

 

Trisha Smith, MS, BCBA, Services and Outreach Coordinator

I began at A.B.S. in 2013 as a practicum student pursuing my master’s degree in ABA and I am currently a BCBA and the Services and Outreach Coordinator at A.B.S. I grew up in Libertyville, IL and graduated from Illinois State University in 2008 (B.A. in Psychology) and from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2014 (M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis). I am a big fan of corny jokes, spending time with my niece and nephews, hanging out with my dog, rearranging furniture in my tiny apartment, playing bingo (seriously), and Netflix marathons. I love living in Chicago for the endless adventures and experiences it offers, and I love to call it home! In high school, I volunteered in the special education classroom and became interested in working one-to-one with the students, including my cousin! In undergrad, I worked at a vocational center with adults with disabilities and I was also a job coach for a woman with intellectual disabilities. It is through these relationships that I found my passion for working with adults with disabilities. I have participated in the Polar Plunge every year since 2011 which raises money for the Special Olympics of Illinois. I am very proud of my friends, family members, and clients that participate in the Special Olympics and I look forward to cheering them on during their events! The absolute best part of my job is watching and helping my clients learn and grow, and the look on client’s and parent’s faces when they achieve another milestone. In addition to working with teens and adults on functional living skills and increasing their independence, I truly enjoy teaching our little ones the skills to succeed in learning for life. A.B.S. is different from other ABA companies in so many ways which is what I love about us! We commit to our clients and their families fully, our BCBA’s are extremely involved on their cases, and our communication and teamwork is unparalleled.

 


Our Team

Katie Giovanetto, MS, BCBA

I began working in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) in August 2010 after volunteering at a verbal behavior (VB) clinic for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during my last semester of college. Watching how effective ABA principles were to help those clients learn and grow immediately sparked my interest in the field. I began my journey with A.B.S. in 2014 as a behavior therapist while enrolled in the ABA masters program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. It has been an incredible experience to be able to grow with A.B.S.- not only have I broadened my experience from only using the VB approach to teaching language, but I have also had the pleasure of working with some of the best behavior therapists, RBT’s, and BCBA’s the field has to offer! It is so rewarding to know that each of my colleagues loves our clients as much as I do and is doing everything that they can to improve the lives of every client. In my spare time, I love cheering on the Cubs and continuing to explore the city with my fiancé!

 


Marissa Cowsill Kohlhagen, MSEd

I have been with ABS since 2014, but started working with children with disabilities in 2013. I started my journey teaching preschool, which led me to a career in behavior therapy. In May 2018, I received my Master’s degree in special education. I believe one of the greatest things to see happen while working with our kids is when they have success with a skill that they have been working towards for a long time. My favorite part of working at A.B.S. is collaborating with the BCBAs and the therapists on a daily basis. The staff is constantly checking in with each other, ensuring consistency across therapists, offering support, and working together so our kids can be successful. I am originally from Los Angeles, California and miss the ocean waves, In N Out, and the sun, (especially during Chicago winters)! I love reading, travel, theatre, and spending time with my husband and dog Minnie!

 


Brian Blazek, BS, Psychology, RBT

I started with A.B.S. in March of 2018 but have been working as an ABA therapist since I graduated from college in May of 2015. I received my RBT certificate and am currently in a Master’s program for ABA. I truly enjoyed growing up in Bartlett, Illinois and what I remember most was all of the neighborhood block parties and cookouts! Some of my hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, and anything including a boat on a lake! I also love anything sports related, such as baseball, basketball, and handball! My favorite part about ABA therapy is all the amazing kids that I have been fortunate enough to work with. Each person has such a unique personality and it is incredibly fun getting to know and work with them! Additionally, I have met some amazing parents and families while working in this field and it has been a great pleasure to be a part of helping their child learn and grow as much as possible. The A.B.S. team is an amazing team to work with- everyone is so supportive and knowledgeable in the field of ABA. Each person is so helpful and willing to spend the extra time to answer any questions you may have to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident while working.

 


Breana Berdis, BA Psychology

I graduated in 2017 with a psychology major and a double minor in early childhood education and child advocacy studies. I grew up in Rockdale, Illinois, which is a small town outside of Joliet. I loved growing up knowing everyone; it was like a huge extended family! I went to school with the same people from preschool to 8th grade and I am still close friends with a lot of them today. I love being outside! I am a huge beach bum and enjoy bike riding, playing basketball, kayaking and roller skating. I have worked with kids since 2010, starting as a camp counselor for the YMCA, then as a nanny for two awesome girls for three years before starting with A.B.S. in August 2017. I love being a part of the kiddos learning experience and watching them grow. I specifically love ABA because it addresses each child’s individual needs, which is important because each kiddo is unique and learns differently. I love that our team feels like one big family! Coming from a small-town background that is something very important to me.

 


Dani Bennett, BS Behavior Analysis

I grew up in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan and graduated from Western Michigan University with a major in Behavior Analysis and a minor in Women’s Studied. In addition to studying behavior analysis in school, I spent two years as a crisis counselor and suicide prevention specialist in middle and high schools. I absolutely love working with children and seeing them learn to communicate and advocate for themselves. It is wonderful and profound to be a part of helping someone find and expand on the things they are passionate about. In my spare time you can find me outside! I love being at the beach, listening to music, watching films, and above all else spending time with family and friends. I have been with A.B.S. since April 2019 and love being a part of such a supportive workplace.


Lynda Vo Arredondo, BS Psychology

I have been working in the field of ABA since May 2018 and I am currently working toward an Associate of Applied Science for an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I started at A.B.S. in January 2020 and I love the professional bond between the staff which is something I have never experienced in this field before! My favorite thing about working in ABA is the excitement from a child when they learn something new or meet a new goal. Each child has their own personality and they really grow on you! I love to travel, especially to Japan to experience their rich culture, I love ot watch Korean dramas, try out new restaurants and recipes, and hang out with friends and family. I have a multi-racial background and my first language was Vietnamese and I can also read, write, and understand Spanish. My dream is to open a multidisciplinary school dedicated to children with special needs!

 


Suleima Bonilla, BS Psychology

I grew up in Middletown, New York which is where I lived the longest so it will always have a special place in my heart. I also was a Boatswain’s mate in the Navy where I drove ships! My brother has autism and down syndrome, so I can understand the complexities of families with children with special needs. I started in the field of ABA in 2017 and started with A.B.S. in June of 2020, and I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree and plan to continue on to a Doctorate of Philosophy in ABA. I love teaching children language and communication, social skills, daily living/ adaptive skills, and pre-academic skills. Being a part of the children’s and family’s success stories is such an amazing experience! A.B.S. truly feels like a family, and with the training and support I receive here I am confident I can handle anything!

 


Tierra Haskins, B.A. Psychology expected May 2022

I started with ABS in August of 2020 after a year of working in the field of ABA. I absolutely love working with children, seeing them grow, and learning from them. Every little accomplishment is a big deal for us and our clients! My goal is to become a BCBA to continue to push myself and my clients to be our best selves every day. I love how friendly every is at ABS and how we focus on the development of staff and clients. On a personal note, I loved growing up in Flossmoor, Il and being close to my grandparents. I was the secretary at their carpet business which is where I learned responsibility, accountability, and money management. In my spare time I love cooking, reading, learning, exploring, and taking my fur baby on walks with my husband!

 


Natalie Zawrazky, MBA, RBT

I loved growing up with all of my cousins on the northwest side of Chicago with everything in walking distance. I really enjoy biking, yoga, spending time with my family, and traveling. After being a software engineer for 20 years I changed directions and became an RBT in May of 2016, and have worked as a preschool teacher since 2015. I love watching our kids make connections that help them achieve incremental independence. I am very interested in working in schools and on social skills, as these skills are imperative in life. I love that ABS helps integrate our client’s skills in the home, school, and other related services!

 


Fazson Chapman, B.A. Early Childhood

I have worked in ABA since 2017 and joined the ABS team in September 2020. I enjoy the uniqueness of each student I work with and the different ways they express themselves. I love spending time with my 2 year old daughter who gives me all the love.. and some headaches too! I grew up in Bronzeville and I hope to one day open a youth center on the South Side. When I’m not working you can find me listening to music, thrifting, and napping- which I can do standing up!

 


Priscella Buttitta, Behavior Therapist

I grew up in the city and I love it because of all the opportunities it gives you! I love to read, craft, shop, and go out to eat in my spare time. I am really outgoing and I always make people laugh! I started with ABS in September of 2020 after two years in the field of ABA. I love experiencing all the different kids and getting to learn something from each of them while also teaching them new skills. I love the team attitude at ABS where everyone is willing to pitch in and work together. I aspire to be a physical therapist to continue my passion of working with children with disabilities

 


Picture coming soon!

Sabryna Roman, B.A. Communication Sciences and Disorders

I started with ABS in March of 2019 with one year of previous ABA experience and I love how close knit ABS is- you can tell we function as one big happy family! I am currently pursuing my Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology to further my experience and ability to help children with autism and other disabilities. Watching our kids grow and become more independent is the best! It warms my heart knowing I am making a difference in their life and the lives of their loved ones. In my spare time you can find me reading books, listening to music, shopping, or watching movies (especially Disney!)

 


Picture coming soon!

Michelle Wong, B.A. Psychology

I was born in China but grew up in the Chicago suburbs my whole life. I love being with my friends and family, singing, figure skating, and fashion. I discovered the field of ABA in 2019 and have loved working with the kids and building a meaningful relationship with them. I am currently pursuing my masters in Psychology so I can continue my journey in helping children and families!

 


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© 2020 A.B.S. Behavioral Services LLC in Chicago, IL - formerly Autism Bright Start - Applied Behavior Analysis Services - Disclaimer - sarah@absbehavioralservices.com

8707 Skokie Boulevard Suite 402, Skokie, IL 60077