Autism Family Center
Meet The Leadership
Leighna Fischer is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and the Director of Behavior Analysis at Autism Family Center. Leighna graduated from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology with a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis. She has been working as a BCBA for over five years and has been working in the field of Psychology for over ten years.
At Autism Family Center, Leighna effectively leads a team of Behavior Counselors to provide early intervention, social skills training, perspective taking, the development of functional communication, and other behavioral and developmental interventions.
Leighna describes herself as a goofy, radical behaviorist and a Chicago Bears enthusiast.
Leighna Fischer, BCBA
DIRECTOR OF BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
Katie Jackson is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and the Lead Family Therapist at Autism Family Center. Katie received her masters in Community Counseling from Marymount University. Her specialties include trauma, issues in attachment, family reunification, and - of course - autism.
At Autism Family Center, Katie leads the Clinical Counseling Team who provide play therapy and talk therapy to individuals on the spectrum who struggle with mood regulation, anxiety, stress, and any additional needed emotional support. They also provide support counseling to siblings and parents.
Katie has an incredible passion and enthusiasm for the counseling field. Her main priority is being able to support someone during their greatest time of uncertainty and distress. Katie is a voracious reader of novels, slowly checking off her travel "to-go list," and usually has a cup of dark roast coffee in her hand.
Kathryn Jackson, LCPC
Director of Comprehensive care
director of care coordination
Sydney Cohen joined the AFC Team in 2013 as community intern. Right away, she jumped in to grow awareness for Autism Family Center as a resource in the community. Sydney came back as a care coordinator over summer break and upon graduation was promoted to Director of Care Coordination.
Sydney received a degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Indiana University. She focused her studies and research on the effects autism has on families and the resources and state regulations that affect families with autism.
colleen coleman, bcba
LEAD BEHAVIOR analyst
Colleen Coleman graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. degree in Speech Language Hearing Science and a minor in Psychology and Child Development Family Services. She received her Masters in Art from Ball State University in Applied Behavior Analysis with a Certificate in Autism. Colleen is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 5 years of experience working in home, school and clinical setting with experience in functional communication skills, social skills training and behavioral and developmental skills. Colleen is currently enrolled in the Applied Behavior Analysis Ph.D program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Jessica zwolfer, BCBA
LEAD BEHAVIOR ANALYST
Jessica graduated from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology-Applied Psychology concentration. Jessica knew she wanted to pursue a career helping children reach their fullest potential. She began working with individuals with autism and developed a passion for the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Jessica has experience working with a vast demographic of children and adolescents, with autism and related developmental disabilities. Her experience ranges from working in a clinic setting, in-home, and therapeutic school setting providing ABA therapy. Jessica continued to pursue her passion for ABA and received a Masters of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in April 2016. Jessica previously held a position as a BCBA at Helping Hand School of Autism.
Christiana is a board certified behavior analyst with 8 years of experience helping people with autism using ABA. She has consulted and provided direct services in various settings, including clinic, home, school and community environments, ranging from structured work placements to birthday parties. Christiana’s interests and advanced training include staff development, group and individual parent training, social skills instruction, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), pivotal response training (PRT), early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI), natural environment training (NET), discrete trial training (DTT), and executive function (EF) skills coaching.
Before becoming a behavior analyst, Christiana, who is also known as Christy, earned a master’s degree in psychology at Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, Christiana earned her Infant Development Specialist certificate and completed her ABA coursework. Her background in behavioral neuroscience and basic learning principles give her insight into the root causes of autism.
Christiana loves that every day she gets make a meaningful difference in people’s lives using science and she enjoys conquering challenges through social problem solving. When she’s not task analyzing behavior and measuring clients’ progress, she likes to relax with a good book, play outside, and enjoy the arts.
Christiana Shafer, BCBA
LEAD BEHAVIOR ANALYST
Courtney Kuchan has been working as an ABA Therapist for nearly six years. Courtney is deeply dedicated to the work that she does with all of her patients. She is the type of counselor who constantly goes beyond what is simply asked of her to make sure each one of her kiddos is thriving to the best of their ability.
At Autism Family Center, Courtney is a Lead Behavior Counselor. She leads and trains other Behavior Counselors to ensure every member of the AFC team is providing the highest quality care.
LEAD BEHAVIOR Counselor
Amanda is currently pursuing a M.S in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Chicago School for Professional Psychology. She has been working as an ABA therapist for almost five years and has experience working with clients of different ages, in a variety of settings. Amanda believes every client is different and always incorporates novel ideas and activities to create a conducive learning environment for her clients.
In her free time, Amanda enjoys exploring new cafes or restaurants. She never says no to sushi!
Lead Behavior Counselor
Eva has received her Master’s degree in educational science from the University of Vienna and is currently pursuing her second Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Over the past 6 years, Eva has worked with children and adolescents with a variety of presenting concerns, including attachment issues, ADHD, traumatic experiences and Autism. She believes in creating a warm and accepting learning environment that allows her clients to explore their possibilities.
Eva loves art and nature, so whenever possible she is either channeling her inner Pablo Picasso or Indiana Jones by exploring this country’s superb museums and spectacular national parks.
LEAD BEHAVIOR COUNSELOR
Marchele is a Lead Behavior Counselor at Autism Family Center. She graduated from Allegheny College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance & Movement Studies and Psychology with a minor in Biology. She obtained her Masters of Arts Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2013. Her Master’s Thesis: Effects of Single Versus Multiple Exemplar Training was published to the Journal of Behavioral Education after her poster presentation at ABAI in Chicago 2014 as recommended by Jennifer McComas.
Currently, Marchele is studying to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has worked in the Mental Health Industry since high school. Her professional experience in working with youth, teens and young adults stretches from therapeutic school settings, public schools, residential and vocational as well as center-based to provide effective and quality ABA services. Marchele enjoys all cultural experiences in the arts, reading, dancing, and running in her free time outside of work, however, you will typically see Marchele giving her all to her kiddos and the company even on her days off, certainly a go-getter!