Behavior Therapists

Specializing in Pediatrics

(973) 921-0900

behaviorwise@gmail.com

Social Skills Groups

Testimonial

About Our Therapists

Our progressive approach to bringing stability and ongoing behavioral improvement is delivered by a coordinated team of highly trained therapists.

Our therapists are skilled practitioners in assessment, planning and treatment:

Caryn Mandel

Caryn Mandel, MSW, LCSW

Director

Areas of Expertise:

  • Pediatric Behavioral Therapy
  • Verbal Behavioral Techniques
  • Transitioning
  • Following directions
  • Enhancing social skills
  • Extinguishing inappropriate behavior

Caryn Mandel holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University and has worked as a pediatric behavioral therapist since 2001. In addition to providing individual and family therapy, she has served as a behavioral consultant for the Suburban Speech Center in Short Hills, NJ, and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ, The Fairfield Board of Education, and New Jersey's Early Intervention System.

Ms. Mandel provides behavioral strategies within the home, school and other settings. Her philosophy is to teach, assess and shape the particular behaviors of children of all ages. The goal for each child is to learn appropriate behaviors using positive behavioral techniques.

Audrey Puggi

Audrey Puggi, BCBA

Master's Degree in Professional Behavior Analysis
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Areas of Expertise:

  • VBMAPP Skills Assessments
  • Discrete Trial Teaching
  • NET
  • Communication with augmentative speaking devices
  • Functional Behavior Assessments
  • Behavior Plans
  • Treatment Plans
  • Social Skills
  • Parent Training
  • Parent Advocate

Audrey Puggi is a New Jersey native with over 6 years of experience working within public schools and in-home programs utilizing applied behavior analysis. Audrey completed her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and her Master's degree is in Professional Behavior Analysis from Florida Institute of Technology. She has extensive experience working with student ages 2 to 18 years with varied diagnoses such as ADHD, ASD, Down syndrome, and mood disorders. In the school setting, Audrey works closely with teachers and staff to develop up-to-date scientifically proven programs. She has clinical experience in discrete trial teaching, NET, teaching communication with augmentative speaking devices, social skills, and RFT. She is passionate about collaborating with families and committed to providing individualized support services to families. Audrey enjoys volunteering within the community to assists displaced families receive educational services and permanent housing.

Dana Armero

Dana Armero, MA, BCBA

Master's Degree in Professional Behavior Analysis
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Areas of Expertise:

  • VBMAPP Skills Assessment
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Discrete Trial Teaching
  • NET
  • Functional Behavior Assessments
  • Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Behavior Reduction
  • Treatment Plans
  • Play-based skill acquisition
  • Parent/Staff Training

Dana began her journey into ABA as a caretaker for her brother and generalization point for his programming. It was only natural that after receiving a dual BS in Neuroscience and Psychology from Ursinus College that she began a career in behavior analysis. After working with adults and teens with autism and comorbid psychological diagnoses, she was inspired to pursue an advanced degree in clinical psychology. She graduated in 2015 with a Master of Arts from The New School in Manhattan and began her work with younger children. She has since worked with individuals on the spectrum as young as 15 months through the lifespan up to 40 years of age.

Dana brings a breadth of experience and scope to her practice, where she integrates family members and long term objectives from a very early age. Her goal is for every child to reach their full potential, and each family member to feel empowered, educated, and integrated into their loved one's development and success. Her areas of expertise include behavior reduction, verbal behavior, and play-based skill acquisition.

Angela Elazegui

Angela Elazegui, MA, BCBA

Master's Degree in Professional Behavior Analysis
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Areas of Expertise:

  • VBMAPP Skills Assessment
  • Discrete Trial Teaching
  • NET
  • Functional Behavior Assessments
  • Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Behavior Reduction
  • Treatment Plans
  • Parent/Staff Training

Angela Elazegui is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Rider University. She has experience working with special needs children since 2016. Angela has experience working with students of varying disabilities ages 2 to 18 and has provided both in home and clinic based services to individuals and their families.

Micaela Poggi, MA, BCBA

Micaela Poggi, MA, BCBA

Master's Degree in Professional Behavior Analysis
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Areas of Expertise:

  • Social Skills
  • Discrete Trial Teaching
  • Functional Communication Training
  • Natural Environment Teaching
  • Play-based skill acquisition
  • Verbal de-escalation techniques
  • Behavior reduction

Micaela graduated from James Madison University with a BS in psychology with an emphasis in behavior analysis. She then went on to get her graduate degree from University of West Florida in Exceptional Student Education with a focus in Applied Behavior Analysis. Micaela currently holds a credential as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Micaela has worked with a variety of diagnoses and disabilities for individuals ages 1-21, and believes all children are capable of learning. With a vast experience in settings such as schools, clinics, and home based, Micaela uses loose teaching to ensure her students can perform the skills they learn in all different ways. She believes that by using a child’s natural motivators, children can establish long term skill development that is functional in their everyday life. Micaela believes any situation can be turned into a learning opportunity. She is passionate about teaching functional communication, social skills, and play programs through natural environment teaching.

Matthew Dunn, MA, BCBA

Matthew Dunn, MA, BCBA

Master's Degree in Professional Behavior Analysis
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Areas of Expertise:

  • Incidental Teaching
  • Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT)
  • Natural Environment Teaching (NET)
  • Behavior Reduction
  • De-escalation Techniques
  • Functional Communication Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Following Directions

Matt felt the calling to work in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) after actively volunteering at a camp for children and adults with disabilities/special needs when he was in high school. He earned his master's degree in ABA from Ball State University in 2020 and has been working in the field in various settings. He initially gained experience working with children in a school setting, then transitioned into providing both in-home and in-clinic services. Matt currently provides attentive and quality behavior therapy for children in a plethora of group settings and takes pride in his line of work. Every day is an exciting new adventure with the creative and unique children he gets the privilege to work with.

Sophia Hawes, MS, BCBA

Sophia Hawes, MS, BCBA

Master's Degree in Professional Behavior Analysis
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Areas of Expertise:

  • VB-MAPP Assessment
  • Functional Behavior Assessments
  • Discrete Trial Teaching
  • NET
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Antecedent Interventions
  • De-Escalation Techniques/Coping Skills
  • Behavior Reduction
  • Functional Play
  • Social Skills

Sophia Hawes is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology from Rutgers University and a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Simmons University.

She began her career in Psychology implementing psycho-therapy, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), with young adults between 12-19 years old. Sophia then pursued a career in ABA and has experience implementing ABA with children ages 2-17 with a main focus in young children.

Sophia is passionate about utilizing a well-rounded treatment plan that best suits the needs of the child and their families to help improve their quality of life.

Vanessa Springer

Vanessa Springer, MS, ABA

Masters of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

Areas of Expertise:

  • Parent/Caregiver Training
  • Child Centered Advocacy
  • VB-MAPP Skills Assessment
  • Natural Environment Teaching
  • Play-Based Skill Acquisition
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Behavior Intervention Planning
  • Increasing Social Skills
  • DTT
  • Crisis Management

Vanessa’s love for learning and teaching is closely tied with the rapport and bond she builds with her clients; believing that all children can learn and reach their highest potentials with the right supports and motivation. Spending the last ten years working academically with individuals with special needs, Vanessa finds her passion in utilizing individualized learning techniques based on a student’s skill set to encourage and promote and lifelong curiosity for learning. After receiving her dual degree from the University of Connecticut in Psychology and Cognitive Science, Vanessa went on to work as a teacher and behavior specialist across multiple classroom settings at the Manhattan Children’s Center specializing in individualized instruction plans. She then received her Master’s Degree from Simmons University in Behavior Analysis, concentrating in Autism Development. Currently, Vanessa works in school systems creating individualized learning plans for students and provides center-based and at home training for children and parents including intake assessments.

Suzanne Kaner

Suzanne Kaner, MEd

Areas of Expertise:

  • Implementation of 504 Plans and IEP's in a classroom setting
  • Kindergarten through 3rd grade teacher for an inclusion classroom
  • Work with child study teams and referral teams to assess students' needs and implement interventions and strategies for students with academic, social and behavioral difficulties
  • create and implement behavior plan
  • Runs social skills group

Suzanne Kaner holds a dual Master's Degree in Elementary Education and Students with Disabilities (special education) from Mercer University and Caldwell University.

Suzanne has over 20 years of experience teaching in the general education classroom as well as the special education setting. Currently she has been teaching 3rd grade for the past 3 years. Prior to teaching in Essex County, she worked in Union County as a basic skills and a general education teacher. She also has worked as a behavior therapist for the state of NJ working with children of pre-school age.

Amy Feldman

Amy Feldman, OTR/L

Sensory Integration Specialist

Areas of Expertise:

  • Sensory Processing Therapy
  • Pediatric & Baby Training Neuro-Developmental Therapy
  • Fine Motor Therapy
  • Gross Motor Therapy
  • Listening Therapy

Amy has been a practicing occupational therapist since earning her Bachelor of Science degree from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1981. She has over 30 years of experience in a variety of areas including evaluation and treatment of children with a variety of disabilities in clinic, school and home -based settings.

Amy is trained in Sensory Integration, The Listening Program (TLP), and the inTime programs. In addition, she is certified in Pediatric and Baby Training Neuro-Developmental Therapy, she has received training in multiple other areas including Handwriting Without Tears and implementing sensory diets in school and home-based settings. This includes designing and creating home sensory rooms for optimal carryover and to be utilized in real time. She consults with school staff, behaviorists, and physicians to provide a comprehensive approach of care.