fbpx

Meet The Team

The professionals of The Autism Clinic.

Clinical Leadership

Erica Duijzer

Senior Director of the Autism Clinics

Erica Duijzer is a graduate of the Behavior Analysis and Therapy program at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She completed her master’s degree and obtained her BCBA certification in 2007. Erica joined Hope’s leadership team in 2023 as Senior Director to lead clinical excellence across Hope’s Autism Clinics in five states.

With a compassionate clinical approach, Erica has worked with individuals of all ages and abilities. Her experience spans diverse settings, including home, clinic, and community-based settings, where she focused on addressing severe challenging behavior. As a clinical leader for over fifteen years, she has supported BCBAs and multi-disciplinary teams, facilitating collaboration, delivering effective training, and fostering professional development to achieve meaningful client outcomes.

 Beyond her professional pursuits, Erica embraces an active lifestyle. You’ll often find her at the gym, reading non-fiction, following all Chicago sports, playing the drums, exploring new restaurants and coffee shops, and traveling.

Hannah Caracofe

Referral Coordinator

Hannah started with Hope in 2018.  She began her journey with Hope as in Intern in the Communication Department. After graduating from the University of Illinois, Springfield with her Bachelor’s degree, she joined The Autism Clinic as the Intake Specialist. Hannah was then promoted to Referral Coordinator for the clinics. Presently, Hannah assists with the on-boarding of new clients and schedules autism evaluations.  

Monica Hammel

Credentialing Manager

Monica has been working in the credentialing field for the last 8 years. Monica comes to Hope from ABA Billing, where she got to know the Hope organization as a client. Monica has supported growth in a variety of businesses by facilitating their contracting and credentialing needs through a number of insurance companies. In her role, she is supporting both Hope Clinical Care and Therapy Relief with their insurance credentialing needs.

Kate Ogilvy

Billing Manager

Kate oversees the billing efforts for The Autism Clinic at Hope, as well as Therapy Relief at Hope. Kate has been with Hope for six years. In her time here, she has held the roles of Intake and Records Specialist, Billing Specialist, and most recently, Billing Manager. 

Geri Jo Page

Billing Specialist

Geri Jo began at Hope in 2023. She has many years of billing and financial counseling experience. Her passion for children with disabilities is a perfect match for Hope as she believes that a child’s development begins with understanding and love.

Wendi Forsyth

Billing Specialist

Wendi joined Hope in 2024 as a Billing Specialist. She worked in the health insurance field for over 13 years. She has many years of experience in different customer service positions and strives to be a valuable contribution to our team and clients.

Stephanie Brown

Billing Specialist

Stephanie started at Hope In February 2024. She believes helping people start with good communication. She has worked in customer service for over 20 years. The past 7 years have included working in medical billing in Bentonville, Arkansas and working as a Follow-up Specialist.

Site Directors

Joanna Morrissey, M.S., BCBA

Director, Springfield, IL

Joanna, a BCBA, at The Autism Clinic at Hope, has been working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum in various capacities since 2006. She completed her undergraduate degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University and Lincoln Christian University and subsequently spent 7 years teaching special education. During her time as a teacher, she began working on her Master’s Degree in Behavioral Analysis and Therapy through Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; Joanna graduated with her Master’s in December 2016 and obtained her BCBA credential in May 2016. Her professional interests include organizational behavioral management and supporting children with ASD and their teachers in the classroom.

Meika Valerio, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

Regional Director, St. Louis, MO and O’Fallon, IL

Meika has worked with individuals on the Autism Spectrum providing Applied Behavior Analysis services 2011. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois and Master of Education in Foundations of Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Cincinnati in December of 2015. Meika has worked at The Autism Clinic in various capacities. She began as an intern and behavior technician in the Springfield clinic in 2013 and transitioned into the role as a lead behavior technician in 2014. Meika obtained certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2016 and moved to St. Louis in 2017. Her clinical interests include systematic desensitization, intensive toilet training, and functional communication training. When she’s not in the clinic, she enjoys cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals!

Daniel Childress, M.A., BCBA

Director, O'Fallon, IL

Daniel Childress, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, has been working with children, teens, and young adults on the Autism Spectrum since 2011. He received his undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri—St. Louis in 2014. Daniel started working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum during his undergraduate studies. Daniel began working towards his Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis in ABA in May 2019. He passed his board’s certification in August 2019. Daniel has worked in the field of ABA in a variety of settings including clinic, home, residential, and school. His professional interests in the field of ABA include Functional Communication Training, Natural Environment Teaching, and desensitization programming.

Madeline Locke, Ed.S., BCBA, LBA

Director, St. Louis, MO

Madeline has worked with individuals on the Autism Spectrum providing Applied Behavior Analysis services since 2016. She completed her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Hannibal LaGrange University and became certified in Early Childhood Special Education. Madeline began her teaching career as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher while continuing her education to earn a Master’s Degree from Southeast Missouri State University. She moved to St. Louis in 2017 and furthered her education to receive her Specialist Degree from Lindenwood University. While receiving her degree, Madeline was a behavior technician. Upon graduation she began her BCBA career, working both in a clinic with children with autism as well as with adults with developmental disabilities in their homes. Madeline has worked at The Autism Clinic at Hope since August 2019. Her clinical interests include functional communication training and feeding therapy. When Madeline is not in the clinic, you can find her spending time with friends and family as well as with her two puppies, Camden and Louie. 

Abigail Reichen, M.A., BCBA

Director, Glen Carbon, IL

Abigail, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, has been working with children on the Autism Spectrum since 2018 at The Autism Clinic at Hope. She received her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Abigail began working with children on the Autism Spectrum throughout her time at SIUe. Abigail later received her graduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis in August 2021 from Lindenwood University. Throughout her time at The Autism Clinic at Hope, Abigail has worked in a variety of roles such has RBT, Lead RBT, clinician, and finally, BCBA. Abigail obtained certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in November 2021. In April 2023, Abigail transitioned into the role of director. Her clinical interests include functional communication training, intensive toilet training, behavior management, and parent training.

Courtney Birdwell, M.S., LBA, BCBA

Director, Gallatin, TN

Courtney began working with children on the Autism Spectrum in 2007 while earning her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She moved to Nashville, TN, in 2008, where she took the necessary coursework to obtain the credential of a board-certified assistant behavior analyst (BCaBA) and, in 2014, obtained her BCBA certification. Courtney has worked with individuals of all ages and abilities and is fluent in many teaching procedures, including pivotal response treatment (PRT) and the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). Her experience spans diverse settings, including home, school, community-based, and clinic settings. Her professional interests include functional communication training (FCT), picture exchange communication system (PECS), and naturalistic environment teaching (NET).

Kirsten Schaper, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA

Regional Director, Herrin, IL; Gallatin, TN; and Cordova, TN

Kirsten Schaper, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA is dual certified as a speech/language pathologist and board certified behavior analyst and has provided services for children with autism spectrum disorder since 2004.   From 2004 until 2015, she served as an instructor and clinic director at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale where she supervised students providing service in individual and group formats.  She owned and operated her own private practice from 2016 until November 2020, where she treated privately children and through Illinois’s Early Intervention program via in-home services.  In November 2020 she became the clinic site director for The Autism Clinic at Hope in Herrin, IL.  Ms. Schaper is fluent on many teaching procedures, including naturalistic teaching, discrete trial training, the Picture Exchange Communication System, Phonemic Restructuring of Oral Motor Phonetic Targets (PROMPT), and the Early Start Denver Model.  She is also reliability certified in Modules 3 and 4 of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – 2 (ADOS-2) and has evaluated over a thousand children for the presence of ASD.  Her approach focuses on teaching functional skills that are enjoyable to the child while incorporating developmental sequences and each family’s priorities.

Melanie Tillman, M.S., BCBA, LBA

Director, Huntsville, AL

Melanie Tillman, M.S., BCBA, LBA, serves as Clinic Site Director of The Autism Clinic at Hope, Huntsville, AL. Melanie, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, began working with children on the Autism Spectrum in 2001 and earned a Master of Science in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2004. She worked as a Clinical Instructor and Program Evaluation Coordinator for six years at The Autism Program of IL at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she collaborated with University Speech Language Pathologists to provide supervision to graduate students in the Behavior Analysis and Therapy and Communication Disorders and Sciences programs. Melanie also served as the Site Director for The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She has provided direct ABA services and supervision in a variety of settings, including Early Intervention, in-home, and clinic-based services for children diagnosed with Autism.

Megan Schneider, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

Director, Austin, TX

Megan has worked with children and adults on the Autism Spectrum providing Applied Behavior Analysis services since 2016. She completed her undergraduate in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences and Masters degree of Education in Special Education with an Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis at Texas Tech University. Megan obtained her BCBA credentials in 2018 and has provided direct ABA services and supervision in a variety of settings, including clinic, home, community, and residential settings. Her professional interests include Functional Communication Training and Natural Environment Teaching. When she’s not in the clinic, she enjoys being outside and chasing after her toddlers.