About Us

At ABS we do things a little different and we think it’s what sets us apart!. Our goal is to hire, train, and supervise the highest quality staff in the field. We believe that experience, training, and dedication to our children, their families, and this company is one piece of the puzzle. We also believe that anyone working with children must also possess certain characteristics. They must be fun, energetic, caring, nurturing, and they must be able to look at the positive in any situation. Because of this approach, we are proud to report that parent referrals are our #1 source of client referral and our staff retention rate is some of the highest seen in this industry!


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 Gorfin, 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 ABS. 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 (and husband!), playing bingo (seriously), and Netflix marathons. I lived in the city for 12 years and loved every single minute of it! Living in the suburbs now has it’s perks too- especially a yard for my dog! 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. ABS 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. It has been a joy to learn and grow within such a wonderful company!


Our Team

Katie Kustes, 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 husband and dog, Wicket!


Brian Blazek, MS, BCBA

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 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!


Kiara Gilchrist, BA Rehabilitation Services, RBT

I graduated from Wilberforce University in Ohio and have been in the ABA field since 2016. Since then, I have found my passion in helping neurodiverse children grow and become more independent. Knowing in my heart that I am making a difference in every child makes coming to work very fulfilling! In my spare time I like to read, journal, and do fun activities with my little boy. I love working at ABS because teamwork means a lot to me and the way that ABS supports each other and works together to achieve a common goal is very rewarding!


Kimberly Spalding, BA and RBT

I started working in the ABA field in 2020 and I love working in the clinic with elementary aged children. One great moment in therapy was hearing a nonverbal child say my name after just a few months of therapy! I love seeing children master their goals and it’s rewarding when they socialize with their peers. In my spare time I volunteer with the Ronald McDonald house, and I read to low-income children as a part of my book reading foundation. I love the positive vibes at ABS and how Sarah goes above and beyond for her staff!


Daniella Buljan, RBT

I started with ABS in June 2022 with 4 years experience in ABA. I have worked with kids aged 2-12 with a variety of skills and seeing their progress, both daily and the big wins, is the best! I am from Croatia and love to visit my family there any time I can. At home, I love to cook and bake! I love being a part of the ABS team and being able to connect with everyone to help our kids in a big way!


Molly Corrigan, BS, MS in ABA expected December 2023

I began working in the field of ABA in 2015 and also branched into childcare as a site director. I applied my ABA skills in that new environment, but knew I wanted to get back into the field and I am now pursuing my master’s degree in ABA. I started with ABS in August 2022, and my favorite part about working with children in ABA is getting to know each child and celebrating their differences, while emphasizing and harnessing their skills for growth. ABA is an individualized therapy that is unique for each client. It’s a systematic approach that promotes a happy, healthy and engaged life that is established personally by the individual. My background is in recreation administration and facilitating play for all ages and abilities. I have a unique perspective on how to provide behavioral therapy in a fun, exciting way for each client.


Katy McCafferty, BA expected December2023

I started with ABS in December 2022 after working in the ABA field for a year. I love learning with the kiddos and seeing them grow and evolve is incredible and never fails to warm my heart! I plan to complete a PsyD program in clinical psychology and specialize in forensic psychology to combine two of my passions by working with kids and adolescents in and effected by our justice system. In my spare time I love researching true crime cases, going to the gym, and hanging out with my 8-year-old rescue pitbull Malcolm who I adopted when I lived in New York!


Liz Friedmann, BA Performing Arts

I grew up in Missouri and really miss the food there- especially gooey butter cake! Before joining ABS in June 2023, I was a musical theater performer in New York City. I have worked with children for years in a variety of ways including nannying, a dance teacher, a My Gym instructor, and I also work as an ESL tutor online for children across the globe! I love encouraging children to try something new and seeing the pride on their face when they accomplish it! In my spare time, I love dancing and singing, playing with makeup, and taking my pup for a walk. I look forward to growing at ABS and working with more kids, finding their interests, and helping them make progress in unique ways!

Veronica Bonfante, BA in Health Sciences

I have 7 years experience in the ABA field and love working with all age groups. I will be finished with my masters degree in ABA May 2024! I am a foodie and enjoy playing tennis! I am from Jacksonville Florida and I miss the beach and sun. My favorite thing about ABA is being able to adapt to their needs and mix play with learning! My dream is to be a BCBA in a school setting. My favorite thing about ABS is how welcoming and supportive everyone is!


Kosi Okeke , BA in Psychology

I am from Nigeria and grew up in Chicago and miss visiting my family and home cooked meals! I enjoy reading novels and listening to podcasts. I first started in the field working with kids with ADHD and then started working with more kids on the spectrum. I love seeing the progress kids make and seeing their confidence grow. I enjoy learning how their minds work and how they view the world. My goal is to get my masters and be a BCBA !


Rachel Santellano, BA in Social Work

I am from Glenview Illinois and I love how vast and diverse the community was that I grew up in . I have been working in the field for 6 months since I graduated. My most memorable win with a client is providing him with the vehicle of language by using full sentences and proper pronouns. Seeing his frustration subside as he was able to convey his emotions properly warmed my heart. I love watching their improvement over time and feeling a sense of pride in knowing I played a part in them leading happier lives. In my spare time I enjoy running and being outside. My goal is to obtain my masters degree in social work. I love how supportive ABS is and how much they have helped me grow in this field !


Marten Moreno, BA in Performing Arts

I am from Berwyn Illinois and I love the amazing community and tasty Mexican food! I have been in the ABA field for 5 years and have worked with kids of all ages. I enjoy watching them grow and learn ! I love to sing and play guitar with the kiddos and watch their creativity blossom . I love to be silly and see the kids’ personalities shine when playing with them. I also enjoy cooking and trying new recipes in my free time. I started with ABS in January 2024 and have enjoyed learning and becoming part of the ABS family.


Larissa Aguirre, RBT

I am from Chicago and I love the diversity it offers unlike anywhere else ! I have been in ABA for about 6 years, 4 years as an RBT and 2 years as admin for an ABA clinic. I have worked with kids ages 2-9 with varying skills. I have experience working with kids who communicate vocally, with pecs, and with AAC devices. I have also had the pleasure of working alongside OT’s , PT’s, and SLP’s. I’ve had many wins with all my clients. From hearing them say their first word to seeing them go into school with minimal support needed! I enjoy reading, painting and being outdoors when I can. My favorite thing about ABS is the teamwork they provide !


Amy Morris, Administrative Assistant

I joined ABS in April 2023 as an administrative assistant after working with children as a nanny and/or preschool teacher for 30 years. I grew up in Texas and have lived all over including Seattle, WA; Oakland, CA; Vientiane, Laos PDR. At home in Chicago, I enjoy exploring the city, reading, and watching horror films. I absolutely love hearing the children learning and laughing throughout the clinic! I have an immense capacity for love and truly enjoy caring for people. This role at ABS allows me to help support the staff throughout their day to better support the children in theirs!





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