The Team

Founding Members

Diane Osaki, OTR
Diane is an occupational therapist, who has specialized in autism intervention for over twenty years. Her approach is grounded in merging principles of applied behavior analysis and a developmental framework to promote social relatedness, self-regulation, communication, independence, play/work, motor development, and problem solving. She works with individuals of all ages and functioning levels in a variety of settings.Beginning her career at the JFK Partners Autism and Developmental Disorders Clinic, Diane worked with Dr. Sally Rogers on early versions of the Denver Model program and is now a certified as a trainer and in direct delivery in the Early Start Denver Model. After serving as Director of the Occupational Therapy Department for the JFK Partners, she founded and directed a non-profit treatment center, focused on providing developmentally-focused, behavioral intervention for children with autism, called the Aspen Center for Autism and Alta Vista Center for Autism. Diane provides direct intervention, program development, training, supervision and mentoring to families, schools, and outdoor recreation programs. She regularly consults with school districts and other agencies, nationally and internationally, to assist in developing new programs, training staff and collaborative problem solving.Diane is passionate about her work and loves her family. Diane enjoys spending time with her partner, friends, two adult children, two dogs, two tortoises and one old cat. Diane loves to cook and eat good food, garden, learn and travel.

Helen Nychka, M.S., CCC-SLP
helenHelen is a speech-language pathologist, who has specialized in the trea¬tment of autism, for over 25 years. Helen focuses on providing practical and personalized programming for the diverse needs of children on the autism spectrum. Her approach to the treatment of autism incorporates information and techniques developed by TEACCH, the science of Applied Behavior Analysis, the DIR Floortime approach (Greenspan), Relationship Development Intervention (Gutstein), the SCERTS model (Prizant, et al), and the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM, Rogers, et al). Helen has completed graduate coursework in Behavior Analysis, is completing the ESDM certification process, and is an advanced Hanen Programs certified instructor. Helen has given workshops, trained school personnel, and consulted with families across the U.S., and in Denmark, Sweden, and Nigeria. She currently consults with school districts in Colorado and Wyoming, and maintains a private practice serving toddlers to early adulthood in Boulder, Colorado. While she loves her work deeply, she also loves to play.

When she is not focused on autism, Helen loves to trail run, ski, cook (and eat!) and garden. Helen shares her life with her 3, young-adult children and her husband, Douglas, a climate scientist at National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Theresa MacFarland, M.Ed., BCBA
Theresa is a board certified behavior analyst and early childhood special educator. Over the last 13 years, she has specialized in working with young children with autism and their families in homes, center-based environments, schools, and the community. Theresa’s interests lie in designing and implementing naturalistic and play-based interventions for young children with autism. Her focus of intervention is incorporating evidence-based treatments thoughtfully to promote social and functional language, reciprocal relationships, generalization of skills, and parent training within typical routines and environments. Theresa is a certified trainer and direct delivery provider in the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM, Rogers, et al.) and has taught language development as a therapist and parent-trainer in Enhanced Milieu Teaching (EMT, Kaiser, et al.).

In addition to working with children with autism, Theresa can be found cooking in her kitchen, digging in her garden, enjoying a good book, or happily playing with her book-loving son, Milo and her on-the-move little girl, Althea. She is also a printmaker and avid crafter who enjoys making things with her hands. She is thankful to be sharing the pleasures in life with her husband, Andrew, their children, three backyard chickens, and their loving husky lab dog Zoe.

Carrie Scott, M.Ed., BCBA
carrieCarrie is a board certified behavior analyst who holds a masters degree in special education with specialization in applied behavior analysis. Carrie has served children and adolescents with autism and their families for over 15 years. She has worked in both home and center-based settings, using evidence-based intervention and a developmental approach to provide meaningful, effective treatment. Carrie values intervention that is engaging, naturalistic, incorporates the strengths and interests of the individual and promotes generalization. She is pursing certification in Early Start Denver Model to provide direct delivery (ESDM, Rogers, et al.). Carrie has served learners across a variety of ages and skill levels, including those with severe challenging behavior and multiple diagnoses. Carrie has also worked extensively in the areas of program development and professional development, training, and supervision for staff and those pursing certification as behavior analysts (or associate behavior analysts).

Outside of her work in the autism community, Carrie enjoys the outdoors, particularly, hiking, snowboarding, cooking, and spending time with her baby boy, husband, and energetic pup!

Erin Flanagan, M.T., BCBA
ErinFlanaganErin is a board certified behavior analyst and an early childhood special and general educator. Her master’s degree was in Early Childhood and Developmental Risk. Erin is also certified in direct delivery of the Early Start Denver Model. Erin has eight years of post-graduate experience teaching children with autism across the spectrum from ages two to 15 years old in school, home and community settings, but has been working with children with autism for 15 years, since her first job as a camp counselor for students with special needs in NY. Educating students with autism has been Erin’s passion since she was an adolescent herself, and she is thrilled to be serving children with autism in the greater Denver area. Erin strives to provide intervention that develops strong communication skills, social skills, social cognition, and independence, allowing for children to not only be successful in school, family and community settings, but to feel successful, confident, and happy in their daily lives. Erin has served children all across the spectrum, specializing in early childhood intervention and in education of students with Asperger’s Syndrome. Erin also has extensive experience training and supervising teachers, providing parent training, and managing autism and Asperger’s educational programs.

Working with students with autism is her life’s work, but during her free time, you can find her in the mountains all year long, cycling, cooking or doing home improvement with her husband, or reading any book she can get her hands on.

Team Members

Dr. William Sobesky, Consulting Psychologist
Bill Sobesky is licensed clinical psychologist who earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from the University of Denver. He has taught graduate students at the University of Denver, the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Colorado Medical School and has also worked as a staff and search psychologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Bill specializes in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with a variety of mental health and educational issues as well as with children with developmental challenges such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fragile X Syndrome.Bill enjoys cycling and golf as well as cooking. He has two adult children who are in the mental health and education fields.

Lorna Cochrane, M.S., BCBA
lornaLorna is a board certified behavior analyst who holds a master’s degree in psychology. She is also certified in the direct delivery of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM, Rogers, et al.). Lorna has over 10 years of experience in the field working with children with autism in home, community, and center-based programming. She has worked with young children and adolescents with autism over the years, but her most recent experience has focused on early intervention. Her approach to intervention emphasizes the importance of strong social relationships, developing communication skills, and fostering independence in all aspects of life.

In her free time, Lorna enjoys hiking, camping, yoga, reading, and cooking all kinds of different foods! She also enjoys spending time with her husband, Nathan, in the mountains and here in Denver.

Stephanie Hill, M.Ed., BCBA
stephanieStephanie is a board certified behavior analyst with a master’s degree in education in autism and is also a K-12 licensed special education teacher. Stephanie has worked with individuals with autism for 9 years in a variety of settings including home, community, school and center-based. She has served individuals ranging from 2-18 years old with most of her experience being with school-age children and young adults. Stephanie also has experience managing and training staff as well as developing and modifying curriculum. She enjoys collaborating with other professionals to implement appropriate, effective, evidence-based treatment.Outside of her work with individuals with autism, Stephanie enjoys hiking, camping, spending time outside, reading, and traveling.

Anne Andrews, M.Ed., BCBA
anneAnne is a board certified behavior analyst and a licensed special education teacher (grades K-12). For over ten years Anne has been working with preschool and elementary aged children with special needs in a variety of settings, including public schools, non-profit centers, orphanages (while serving in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria), the community and in-home. Anne’s professional focus includes utilizing individualized assessment to create and implement effective naturalistic and play-based therapy for young children with autism. In addition to focusing instruction on developing meaningful social relationships, developing effective methods of communication and increasing personal independence Anne also truly enjoys teaching cognitive skills. Anne is certified in the direct delivery of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM, Rogers, et al.)

In addition to working with children who have autism, Anne enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters doing Colorado activities as a family. She loves to snowboard, do yoga and looks forward to her monthly book club meetings.

Molly Walter, M.Ed., BCBA
mollyMolly has her master’s degree in Special Education and holds a teaching license in Special Education (grades K-12). She has served young children, adolescents, and adults with autism and developmental disabilities in a center-based setting, public school settings, the community and in home for over 10 years. She is certified in the direct delivery of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM, Rogers, et al). She is also pursuing her certification in behavior analysis. Molly’s professional interest incorporates a learning environment focused in areas of naturalistic teaching, Applied Behavior Analysis, and social and emotional development. She enjoys creating individualized programming and implementing generalizations trainings for parents and teachers.

In addition to working with young children with autism, Molly enjoys spending time with her son Immanuel and husband Ryan. She loves to relax with making crafts, cooking, running, yoga and going on walks with her family and pups!

Hannah Embree, M.A., BCBA
hannahHannah is an early interventionist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst who holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a license in Early Childhood Special Education. She is also pursuing certification in Early Start Denver Model direct service delivery (ESDM, Rogers, et al.). Hannah has served children, adolescents, and adults with autism and developmental disabilities and their families and caregivers in home, community, and center-based settings for 8 years. Her emphasis and clinical interests include the development of strong social relationships with young children as a foundation for learning and teaching, and developing methods to increase independence and participation in family routines in the home and community.

Kristin Stine, M.Ed., BCBA
kristinKristen has been working with individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders for 6 years. She grew up in Pennsylvania, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from West Chester, followed by a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arcadia University. She has experience working with a diverse population of children and adults in school, community, and home settings and is pursuing national certification in behavior analysis. In her spare time Kristen enjoys hiking, biking, snowboarding (basically anything outdoors!), and spending time with her husband, Brad, and dog, Ty.


Jillian Kramer, B.A., BCaBa

jillianJillian is an interventionist with a B.A. In Communication from the College of Charleston. She has been working with children on the spectrum since 2012 using Applied Behavior Analytic principles, in the community, home and school setting, concentrating on the use of natural environment teaching and play-based intervention. Her interest is on helping children and families to improve their quality of life through applying ABA principles to increase independent functional skills. She has worked with children ranging from 3-17 years old, with the most experience with 3-7 year olds. She is also pursuing her board certification in behavioral analysis and is eager to pursue her Master’s Degree to further her education.

Most recently from South Carolina, Jillian is learning to enjoy all things Rockies in exchange for the beach!

Krysten Howerton, M.A., BCBA
Krysten is a board certified behavior analyst and has her masters in Educational Psychology with a teaching license for ages birth through 8. She has worked with individuals with special needs ranging in ages from 3-40 years old across a variety of settings including center-based, school, home, day programs, and various establishments in the community. Krysten values a collaborative approach and the partnership of parents, caregivers, and other service providers in the assessment of socially significant behavior and the implementation of evidence-based practices. Programming for generalization and maintenance of newly acquired skills is at the forefront of her professional philosophy.

In her spare time, Krysten goes outdoors as much as possible whether it be hiking, trail running, camping, mountain biking, or anything in the water. She also enjoys the company of friends, reading, and traveling with her fiancé.

Noa Bryant, B.A., RBT
Noa is an interventionist with a BA in psychology and art history. He has worked with children with ASD for several years, most recently working as a special education para in the mild/moderate program at Holm Elementary in DPS. He plans on attending to a masters program in speech and language pathology. Outside of the realm of education he enjoys playing music and being outside in sunny Colorado.


Ashley Adams, B.A., RBT
Ashley is a Colorado native and has a passion for helping children succeed in life. She has been working with children that have special needs for over ten years and finds it very rewarding. She has a bachelors degree in Human Development with an Early Childhood concentration and a minor in Psychology. She was inspired to work with children that have ASD after being a nanny to a wonderful child on the spectrum. Most of her studies, research and Thesis focused on the development of ASD.

Ashley enjoys spending time with her dog and best friend, Lola. She also enjoys kayaking, hiking, art, music and knitting.


Breanna Fetters, B.A., RBT
Breanna grew up in sunny southern California where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of La Verne. She is dedicated to advancing the lives of individuals and their families by providing evidenced based and pragmatic solutions to behavior challenges. She recently moved to the Denver area from Hawaii, where she spent 7 years working with the special needs community in a variety of settings including disability advocacy. Bre believes in the incredible potential of children and families when given the proper tools, motivation and knowledge. She is finishing up her RBT certification and hopes to eventually receive her BCaBA. As a newcomer, she is looking forward to discovering all Colorado has to offer. In her spare time she enjoys, exploring the great outdoors, cooking good food, hanging out with her family and dog Ipo.


Cassie Spohn, M.Ed., BCBA
Cassie is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has a masters degree in Early Childhood Special Education. She began working in this field almost 10 years ago, working mostly with young children between the ages of 18 months to 8 years old in a variety of settings. Cassie is also pursuing certification in Early Start Denver Model direct service delivery (ESDM, Rogers, et al.). She has experience managing and training staff, as well as individualizing assessments and programming to create effective treatment packages for children with autism. Her approach to intervention focuses on developing meaningful social relationships, strong functional communication skills and promoting independence in order to participate in daily routines.

In addition to working with children who have autism, Cassie enjoys spending time with her family and all of the joys that new-homeownership brings!


Sarah Randow, M.A., CCC-SLP
Sarah is an ESDM and PROMPT-trained speech and language pathologist who maintains a certificate of clinical competence through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Her approach to speech and language therapy focuses on building effective, functional communication skills that enable children and adolescents to independently express themselves and efficiently understand others. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lewis & Clark College, she worked in research at the University of Washington Autism Center. Sarah then earned her master’s degree in speech and language pathology from the University of Colorado – Boulder. She has worked in school, home, and clinic settings to assess and treat disorders of social communication, articulation, language, and stuttering in children and adolescents. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading, spending time with her family, cooking, and traveling.


Shelby Roberts, M.SEd, BCBA
Senior Interventionist

Shelby is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a licensed special education teacher (Early Childhood as well as K-12). She holds a master’s in special education and has been serving in the field of education for over 10 years. Shelby received her master’s as well as bachelor degrees from The University of Kansas. During her time at Kansas, she was a scholarship athlete on the swimming and diving team. It was through athletics that Shelby was able to discover her love for incorporating evidence-based treatment to promote positive, well-rounded growth and development for children with autism. She had the opportunity to develop a behavior consultation program serving 21 member school districts in central Illinois. Within this capacity she established systems and trainings for caregivers, siblings, educators, support staff, administration, and school districts to implement behavior change programming based on individual needs. Shelby finds true joy in the interdisciplinary approach offered through Thrive Autism Collaborative. She is a believer in the power of collaborating with all team members to positively impact and generalize socially significant behaviors. Shelby’s professional interest incorporate educating, developing functional communication, increasing independence, life skill development, as well as incorporating health and fitness behavior change programming.

In addition to working with children who have autism, Shelby can be found adventuring outdoors and enjoying the beauty of Colorado with her loved ones.


Jessie Read, B.A., RBT
Interventionist

Jessie is an interventionist and graduate student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Social Justice Emphasis through Prescott College. Jessie has been working with kids for 10 years and started specializing with kids 6 and under diagnosed with ASD in 2013. Jessie has been an RBT for 2 years and has acted as an RBT Subject Matter Expert for the BACB. Jessie’s graduate school work and community role as an educator, advocate, and activist focus on gender variance, ASD, race, and anti-oppressive practices that account for all of the above and more. Jessie’s favorite part of working with any person is building meaningful relationships with compassion and creativity.


Maggie Tice
Interventionist


Administrative Team

Samantha Sussenbach, MBA
Samantha has experience working with a variety of small businesses, as well as experience as an ECE teacher. Professionally, Samantha loves ergonomics, project management, communications, and community/team building. Outside of work, Samantha is an avid reader of history, psychology and deep ecology. She loves exploring with her daughter and their new pup.


Kirstyn Smith
Scheduler/Biller Specialist

Kirstyn has been scheduling and billing for the last three years. She loves the reward of making sure that children are getting the services they need. Kirstyn enjoys spending time with her family, especially during football season – go Broncos! Kirstyn is excited to join the Thrive team to expand her horizons, learn, grow, and collaborate with our wonderful team.


Matt Myers, B.A., RBT
Admin Assistant

Matt first began working with kids and adults that have ASD at a summer camp and those experiences led him to pursue a career helping individuals with ASD. Matt attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where he graduated with a degree in Spanish. His eagerness for adventure has taken him around the world and he has learned from the various people and cultures along the way. In his free time Matt enjoys golfing, soccer, boating (lake or river) and hiking.