Meet Our Autism Staff


Administrative Team:


Ann Patronik

Program Director

 

Ann has been the Director of Judson Center Autism Connections since March 2010 and has managed the development and growth of the ABA program and formalization of all the Autism Connections programming.  Ann has over 30 years experience developing and managing programs for individuals with a disability in non-profit agencies and believes a program’s success is dependent on the strength of entire staff team.    

On a personal level, as the mom of 2 young adults (one who happens to have ASD) she knows first-hand the joys and challenges of raising a family impacted by Autism. Ann was very involved with Special Education advocacy efforts at her local school district and was instrumental in the development of the district’s Peer-to-Peer Support Program and Post-Secondary Program Development.   

Ann strongly believes in the need for family support services and enjoys the challenge of her job, meeting families, and watching the progress made by children and teens in the Autism Connections program.  

  

 

Emily Besecker MS, BCB
Behavior Services Program Manager


Emily has been working in the field of ABA since 2005. Emily received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Amherst College and her Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from Northeastern University.  Emily did her fieldwork training at New England Center for Children, focusing on severe challenging behavior.  Emily has been at the Judson Center since July of 2011. Currently, Emily is the Program Manager for both our Ann Arbor and Royal Oak clinics. 

 Emily Besecker

 

 

 

Tara Walker

Front Office Operations Manager

 

Tara Walker is the Front Office Operations Manager. Tara joined Judson Center Autism Connections in 2016. Tara received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ohio Dominican University. Tara has an extensive background in managing medical practices and its financial revenue cycle.

“Transitioning from the medical field to the world of Autism has been by far the best decision I have made in my career. Seeing the kids smile and progress on a daily basis is worth coming to work for." 

 

 

Kelsey Murphy, Satellite Supervisor, BCBA

Behavior Analyst

 

Kelsey has been working in the field of ABA and with children with autism since 2009. Kelsey is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who specializes in working with children that have challenging behaviors. Kelsey received her Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Behavioral Psychology from Western Michigan University and her Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University. Kelsey has experience working with adults and children with developmental disabilities, challenging behaviors, and skill deficits. She has additional experience working with children and young adults to increase communication and decrease inappropriate behavior. Kelsey specializes in developing socially significant improvements in human behavior by using antecedent interventions and immediate consequences in the environment.

 

 

 

Rhia Jeffs, BA

Program Coordinator

 

Rhia has worked with children for over ten years.  She graduated from Oakland University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. In June 2013, Rhia joined the Autism Connections team as a Behavior Tutor, then moved into the Senior Behavior Tutor role in 2015. After taking on additional responsibilities with hiring staff for the ABA program, she transitioned into the Program Coordinator position. As the Program Coordinator, Rhia is responsible for managing new clients, staffing, and training within the ABA program.

 

 

 

 

Sarah Bretz, BCBA

Behavior Analyst

 

Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan.  Sarah also completed the coursework for her BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) certification through the University of Massachusetts. Currently, Sarah is a Behavior Analyst overseeing the implementation of intensive applied behavior analysis services with children with autism ages 6-11 at the Judson Center. Within this area, Sarah specializes in social skill development for children with ASD, especially focused on transitioning skills to the natural environment, and transitioning from intensive therapy to the school environment. In addition to overseeing intensive ABA programming, Sarah also provides training and consultation services to local area schools in dealing with challenging behavior and implementing about behavior plans within the school setting. Previously, Sarah served as the Clinical Supervisor at Judson Center Autism Connections, providing supervision for the clinical services, including counseling, social skills groups, and summer programming. Sarah has also served a direct therapist role at the Judson Center, running social skill groups, managing the summer program, working with individual clients providing both counseling and play-based therapy.  Additionally, having a sibling with special needs herself, Sarah is also passionate about family support and providing support services for siblings. 

 

 

 

Sarah Gulino, MA

Behavior Analyst

 

Sarah has been working in the field of ABA with children with autism since 2009. Sarah received her Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Psychology from Western Michigan University and her Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University. Sarah has been at the Judson Center since April of 2012. Throughout her time in the field, Sarah has worked with a variety of skill sets, developmental levels, and challenging behaviors. Currently, Sarah is a member of our Autism Connections ABA team as a Behavior Analyst in our Royal Oak office. Sarah specializes in reduction of challenging behavior and skill development for children with ASD, helping to make socially significant improvements for clients who have skill deficits.

 

 

Shelley Liquia, MA, BCBA

Behavior Analyst

 

After graduating with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Bowling Green State University in 2013, Shelley began working as a Behavior Tutor with the Judson Center. After realizing how much she loved the program and working with the children, she decided to pursue her graduate degree in ABA at Ball State University, and became a Senior Behavior Tutor in 2015. Her experience has been with preschool, school-aged, and teenage clients. She has enjoyed researching topics such as group instruction for children with autism and staff supervision/management. She graduated and became a BCBA in 2016, and continues to enjoy working with the Judson Center’s ABA program.

 

 

  

Jared Coffin

Behavior Analyst

 

Jared received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Western Michigan University and his Masters of Special Education from Oakland University. He has been working in the field of ABA since the spring of 2012, and has been with Judson Center since March of 2016. He has experience working with children as well as young adults with challenging behaviors, and skill deficits. Jared recently accepted the position of Behavior Specialist, and looks forward to the increased role in treatment for the individuals the Autism Connections department of Judson Center services.

 

 
Jared Coffin

 

Audrey Torma
Behavior Analyst
 

Audrey has been working in the field of ABA with children with autism since 2013. Audrey received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Michigan State University and her Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University. She has been at the Judson Center since September of 2013. Audrey has worked with all different ages, skill sets, and behaviors throughout her time here. Currently, Audrey is a member of our Autism Connections ABA team as a Behavior Specialist in our Royal Oak office. Audrey specializes in reduction of challenging behaviors as well as skill development for young adults with ASD, helping to make socially significant improvements for clients to increase independence and assists them in integrate smoothly into the community.

 

Audrey Torma

 

Melissa Wilson
Behavior Analyst

After graduating from Albion College in 2015, Melissa began working as an employee of Judson Center’s summer program. After heightened interest in the field, she then then began working as a Behavior Tutor in the Royal Oak office. Shortly thereafter, Melissa decided to pursue her graduate degree in Behavior Analysis at Ball State University. Melissa has experience with clients who range in age from 2-13, in addition to conducting research in the areas of group instruction and challenging behavior. Currently, she serves preschool-aged clients while targeting early intervention.  

 
Melissa Wilson

Valerie Whitaker LPC. ATR
Therapist  

 Valerie graduated from Wayne State University with a Master’s degree in counseling and art therapy. She specializes in social skills and communication development for children with ASD. While assisting clients to build new skills Valerie also focuses on co-occurring diagnoses such as depression, anxiety and ADHD. Valerie works with clients to express themselves though traditional talk therapy and explore new avenues of communication through art therapy. 

 

Valerie Whitaker

 

Jennifer Lindsey LMSW, CAADC
Outpatient Counseling Supervisor 

I obtained my undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and my Masters of Social Work from Wayne State University. I have over 15 years of clinical experience working with children, families and adult’s suffering from a range of mental health symptoms and or developmental delays.  I have worked both in the private and non-profit sector’s from intensive inpatient and outpatient setting’s to private practice. 

 

Jennifer Lindsey

 


 

 

Customer Service:

  

LynShannon Williams

Front Office Assistant/ Customer Service Specialist

 

LynShannon is the Front Office Assistant/Customer Service Specialist here at Judson Center Autism Connections! She has worked with our child clients as an Registered Behavior Tutor for two years and is now a great fit for the front office because she knows both the parents and children so well! She is ready to greet you with a smile at the front desk!

 

Betty Keathly

Administrative Support (Ann Arbor)

 

Betty Keathly has been working at Judson Center Autism Connections for over 3 years.  Betty provides administrative support to our Autism, Counseling Therapy, and Social Skills Group programs.   

 

Jaylee Johnson

Billing Specialist

 

Jaylee Johnson has been working at Judson Center since March of 2015 as a Billing Specialist working in the front office. Jaylee handles insurance coverage, authorizations and everything in-between. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Due to the nature of the work we do, Judson Center upholds the privacy of the children, adults and families we serve. Therefore, photos and names may be changed to protect identity.