“I had a vision of providing quality ABA therapy that would make a difference in the lives of children with autism” ~ Heather Hooper, MA, BCBA, LBA, Director
Spectrum services the following areas in Maryland: Anne Arundel County, Bowie, and Howard County. We service the following counties in New Jersey: Camden County, and the borders of Burlington and Gloucester Counties. We also provide services virtually.
Heather Hooper, MA, BCBA, LBA Director
Heather Hooper began Spectrum in March, 2009 with the vision of establishing a small, home-based, and ethical Applied Behavior Analysis agency. Prior to Spectrum, she was trained under the Lovaas model. She also worked at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Neurobehavioral Unit, where she supervised cases involving severe and complex behavior. Heather has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) since 2008 and is currently licensed to practice in Maryland. She engages in frequent continuing education classes to stay on top of new research in ABA and is also PEAK Level 1 Certified. While she is not running the company, she is an avid Disney fanatic and enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and three dogs.
Belle Haig, MA, BCBA, LBA
Belle Haig joined Spectrum as a Behavior Technician in October, 2015. She became a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) in March, 2018. After completing her Master’s degree from Ball State University in May, 2019, Belle became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) licensed to practice in the state of Maryland. Prior to her work at Spectrum, Belle worked with individuals with Special Needs for several years, both as a behavior technician and as an Au Pair. Belle is our only bilingual practitioner (Spanish and English). She is also PEAK Level 1 Certified. When she is not working, Belle enjoys completing house projects and spending time with her husband, two children, and dog.
Christina Hansen MA, BCBA, LBA
Christina Hansen joined spectrum as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) in 2017 after working privately with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder for several years in the home setting. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and graduated with her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis in May, 2020 through Florida Institute of Technology. After graduation, she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) licensed to practice in the state of Maryland. She is also PEAK Level 1 certified. Prior to becoming a BCBA, she worked as a preschool teacher and special education teachers assistant. When not working, Christina enjoys reading and being entertained by her two young children.
Jessica Young, MS, BCBA, LBA
Jessica Young joined Spectrum in August, 2016 as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) with a Master’s Degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. Prior to that, she worked with other companies as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), Social Worker, and Program Specialist. Jessica has experience working in client homes, centers, and residential facilities. After completing her coursework in August, 2018 through Florida Institute of Technology, Jess became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She is currently licensed to practice in Maryland and Pennsylvania. When she is not working, Jess can be found running, taking pictures, and hanging out with her husband and dogs at their home in New Jersey.
Meaghan Hitt, MS, BCBA, LBA
Meaghan joined Spectrum in May, 2017 as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) after spending several years working with young children as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), Montessori Teacher, and Physical Therapist. Meaghan has experience working in homes and in schools. When she is not working, Meaghan is a busy mother of two young children.
Heather Couchenour, M. Ed., BCBA, LBA
Heather Couchenour is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) that began contracting with Spectrum in May, 2017. In her career, she has been able to experience direct success and behavior improvement in children. Her measurable success led her to the field of Senior ABA therapist, providing mentoring through Families for Effective Autism Treatment. In the early 2000’s, she began to design in-home ABA programs that helped families across the mid-west, including North Dakota and Iowa. She became a Clinical Supervisor in Maryland, and has since completed her Master’s Degree in Special Education through the University of MD College Park, Post Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from John’s Hopkins University, and has started her Doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Heather is a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Maryland and also practices in Florida and South Carolina.
Carly Bereznay, MEd, BCBA, LBA, CCC-SLP
Carly Bereznay graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with her degree in Communication Disorders. She then completed her degree in ABA at Ball State University in December, 2019. Carly became a BCBA licensed to practice in the state of Maryland in October, 2020. Before that, Carly worked in the field of ABA for three years and as a Speech Language Pathologist in a number of settings for four years. Carly is one of the few dually certified Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and Licensed Speech and Language Pathologists in the state! She specializes in autism, early intervention, apraxia, and social-emotional learning as she is has worked with the autistic population since 2013, is PROMPT trained, has worked with The Hanen Group on early intervention strategies, and has taken courses in Social Thinking and trauma-informed care. She additionally uses her play skills to help kids “open up” and engage. They usually don’t want to leave their session and don’t realize they are learning! Carly has worked with ages 18 months to 13 years and thoroughly enjoys the pediatric population in all aspects. In her spare time, Carly enjoys working with nonprofits and spending time with her two dogs and husband.
Christina (Chris) Aveni-Hatcher, MS, BCaBA
Chris Aveni-Hatcher joined Spectrum in July, 2016 as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) with a Master’s Degree in Child Development. She brought a wealth of knowledge from her past experiences as an Early Head Start Child Development Program Manager, Intensive Early Intervention Technician, and Certified Trainer with the Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC). After completing the required coursework through the Florida Institute of Technology, Chris became a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) in March, 2018. When she is not working, Chris can often be found watching her sons’ baseball games, cooking Italian food, and cheering for the Terps and Hokies.
We have a fantastic team of RBT’s in addition to the above-listed staff members
What is a BCBA?
A BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst that holds a Master’s degree, has completed specific coursework, has undergone an intensive internship, and passed a board certification exam. All of our BCBAs are licensed in the state of Maryland. While our BCBAs do provide some direct therapy, most of their time is spent supervising programs, assessing clients, and training families.
What is a BCaBA?
A BCaBA is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst that works under the supervision of a BCBA. The BCaBA credential requires a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, completion of specific coursework and intensive internship, and a passing score on a board certification exam. BCaBAs supervise programs, assess clients, and train families under the supervision of BCBAs. They also provide direct therapy.
What is an RBT?
An RBT is a Registered Behavior Technician that has undergone a 40 hour training and passed a behavioral competency exam. While not required, all of our RBTs also have a Bachelor’s degree. Our RBTs are responsible for implementing the treatment plans developed by the BCBA/BCaBA and receive frequent in-person supervision with clients.
Q: Do you work with individuals that do not have an Autism Diagnosis?
A: As Behavior Analysts and Speech Language Pathologists, our training is not diagnosis-specific. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has been demonstrated to be effective for all behaviors, regardless of diagnosis. Unfortunately, most funders do not cover ABA therapy for individuals that do not have an Autism Diagnosis. For those interested in ABA services that do not have an Autism diagnosis, services will be out of pocket. Please see the funding resources we have listed on our website. You can also check out our Resources page if you think your child is showing signs of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Speech services do not require a diagnosis.
Q: Where do you provide services?
A: All of our Speech and ABA services are provided in the child’s home, school, or community-based setting. We also provide telehealth services for ABA. We do not provide clinic-based services.
In MD, ABA services are provided in Anne Arundel and parts of PG County. In NJ, ABA services are provided in Camden County and the borders of Burlington and Gloucester Counties. We also provided ABA services via telehealth. All Speech services are provided in the child’s home or school setting in Anne Arundel County.
Q: My child is enrolled in daycare/preschool/private school and requires support to become an independent, successful student. What are our options for services?
A: We have worked with many daycares, preschools, and private schools in the area to develop effective treatment plans to help the child become more independent and successful. We provide training to the staff (as requested and agreed upon) so that the child’s progress can be generalized when we are not there.
Q: My child struggles with social skills and making friends. How can this be addressed during 1:1 services in my home?
A: We customize every treatment plan based on the child’s and family’s needs. In the event that we feel the child would benefit from working on social skills with peers, we will either suggest specific peers that your child knows (classmates, neighbor, friends that meets certain requirements for participating in therapy) for you to invite into your home during our sessions to address these goals or we will discuss other options such as providing services in a daycare, preschool, or camp. We do not offer social skills groups because we feel that children learn social skills best when they are with peers that can display and model the social skills we are hoping to teach our clients.
Q: How is my child’s therapy schedule determined?
A: For ABA services, we determine children’s therapy schedules based on the results of the initial assessment, child’s availability, and staff availability. We do not provide the same number of hours to each client or require a minimum number of hours as this prevents customization of the client’s programming. In some cases, we may recommend more hours of therapy than a child is able to receive due to other therapies, etc. If this is the case, we will provide services as long as a clinical determination is made that a child can make progress with the agreed-upon schedule. Please note that this clinical determination may result in working on fewer goals with your child in order to provide the mass number of trials that many children require to benefit from ABA therapy.
Speech is provided in 1-hour increments with scheduling during the week or weekends on a pre-determined basis.
Q: What ages do you provide services to?
A: For ABA, we provide services to individuals of all ages, however, most of our clients are newly diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder through elementary school age.
For Speech, our clients are age 2 – school-aged.
Q: How can I get started?
A: You can get started by contacting us through our website. From there, we will have an initial phone call about your child’s scheduling needs, therapy needs, and family priorities. At the conclusion of the initial phone call, you will be sent an intake packet that should be completed and returned to us with your child’s diagnostic report, any relevant reports, as well as a copy of your child’s insurance card (for ABA services only). Upon receipt of a fully completed intake packet for ABA services, we will request authorization from your insurance company. The initial assessment will be scheduled after authorization from the insurance company. For speech services, we will review the intake packet and reach out to you regarding scheduling.
Q: I have insurance. What will my out of pocket costs be?
A: After we receive your insurance card, we will verify your insurance benefits and inform you of your out-of-pocket expenses for ABA therapy. Please note that these expenses vary by insurance plan. We offer flexible payment programs to assist families with their out-of-pocket expenses. Please check out our insurance/funding page for more information. For Speech therapy, we are out-of-network with insurance. Out of pocket costs will depend on any out-of-network coverage your insurance offers.
Q: Do you have a waiting list?
A: We believe in getting your child the care they need as fast as possible rather than having you sit on our waiting list. If we are not able to provide services to you, we will provide you with resources to access services. At this time, we are not able to accept clients that require ABA services in the after-school or evening hours. Please reach out to us to inquire about services during other time periods. We currently have after-school and weekend openings for Speech with no wait time.
Q: Do you assist with toilet training?
A: We assist with toilet training in addition to other activities of daily living as the child masters prerequisite skills. This is specific to our ABA therapies, we do not provide toilet training with our speech therapies.
Q: What are your expectation of parents during therapy services?
A: We require a responsible adult over the age of 18 to be home during all services in the event of an emergency, etc. Additionally, we require parents to participate in regular parent training in order to learn how to generalize skills when we are not there. Schedules for parent training are customized to meet the family’s needs. Parents are also expected to participate in monthly meetings to review the client’s progress, etc.
Spectrum provides supervision to students pursuing their certification as a BCBA or BCaBA. We partner with Purdue University Global to provide supervision and tuition assistance to their students. In addition to partnering with Purdue University, we are also an approved practicum site for Florida Institute of Technology’s ABA program.
Spectrum is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. If you are interested in a position with Spectrum, please complete the following employment application and someone will be in touch with you to schedule an interview.