Heather Vesel, MS, BCBA
Hi, I’m Heather Vesel, co-founder of Peak Autism Services. I have been a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) since 2011. However, I have been working with children with autism using behavior analysis since 2003. I got my master’s degree from St. Cloud State University. Prior to that, I received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. I have always wanted to help children, and when I found behavior analysis, it made me happy on so many levels. The scientific nature of behavior analysis satisfies the nerd in me. The way it helps others satisfies the part of me that wants to save the world….one child at a time. Lastly, building Legos and catching bugs for a living allows me to remain a child at heart. I can think of no better way to spend my time. I hope that the passion I have for my job shows in everything I do. E.B. White once said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.” I feel the same way, so I also try to find time to enjoy life. I love to travel, camp, hike, and generally anything outdoors. I also enjoy playing the piano, going to concerts, going to sporting events, and shopping. Colorado Springs is the perfect place for me because it has all of those things.
Shawn Vesel, MS, BCBA
Hi, I’m Shawn. I’m a co-founder of Peak Autism Services, and a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). I graduated from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2005, and a master’s in ABA in 2009. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with individuals of all ages, with a variety of diagnoses and ability levels, and in a variety of settings, including individual family homes, group/foster homes, schools, and center-based treatment. I’ve worked specifically with kids and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) since 2008. As a behavior analyst, I’m rewarded by the chance to do work that matters, within a legitimate science that can make a real difference. It’s not easy, and progress can never come fast enough, but it works. As a business owner, I’m lucky to work with such an amazing team, who care so much about what they do, and work hard to do it better each day. Most importantly, as a clinician, what absolutely makes my career is when I get to see children learning significant, meaningful, functional skills. Things like verbs and colors are all important, but when a child learns to communicate with their parents, or use the bathroom independently, or even sit in a restaurant for an hour without having a tantrum… that’s life-changing not only for the child, but for the whole family. That is, without question, why we do what we do.
Carissa Harris, MA, BCBA
I’m Carissa Harris. I have been working in the field of behavior analysis since 2014, and I became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2018 through Florida Institute of Technology. I received my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Wright State University in Ohio, and I attended University of the Rockies where I received a Master’s in Administrative Psychology. I knew I wanted to become a BCBA only a few months into this field, because I witnessed the progress kids were making, learning to communicate and developing new skills. As someone who was intensely shy as a child, it meant so much to me to help kids learn to express their wants and needs. Also, as someone who is a total nerd, I love looking at graphs, taking data, and thinking of the best ways to teach kids certain skills, which is what behavior analysis is all about. I am very passionate about what I do, and I love getting to know the kids that I work with while being silly and having lots of fun with them. On my off time, I am still a giant nerd who loves books, writing, musicals, super heroes, video games, and trivia nights at local breweries.
John Wesenberg, MS, BCBA
My name is John Wesenberg and I have been providing applied behavior analytic (ABA) services for over 10 years to a variety of ages and diagnoses. I have a BS in Community Psychology and a MS in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, where I am from. In 2010, I became a Board Certified assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) and in 2016 a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). I have worked in a variety of settings including in-home, group homes, schools, and clinics. I am particularly rewarded by providing services to military families of children with autism. Providing quality services to military families is the best way I know how to say “thank you” to the people most committed to our country. I also understand the importance of community and involving family members for the best possible success for their child. In my free time, I enjoy mountain biking along the Front Range, fly-fishing on the South Platte, hiking the Manitou Springs Incline, live music and comedy, and watching reruns of Seinfeld.
Maria Spells, M Ed, BCBA
My name is Maria Spells. I am a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and have been working in behavior analysis for four years. I am originally from Nebraska and have lived in Colorado for approximately four years. When I was getting my undergrad in Kearney Nebraska I worked with adults with disabilities in an assisted living home for one year. I came to Colorado Springs in July of 2014 and completed my final year of my undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado. In Colorado Springs I got a job as a respite provider at a small behavioral interventions company for two years and completed my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in the summer of 2014. In January of 2015 I started my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Applied Behavioral Analysis. While getting my Masters and working to become a BCBA I got a job at Peak Autism Services in June of 2016. I have been working here for two years and have been a BCBA since April of 2018. I am able to do a great job at work because I truly enjoy working with the kids and their families. As SpongeBob would say, “I am a goofy goober!” and being able to share this side of myself and enjoy the same activities the kids love helps me to relate and be a better therapist. Outside of work I enjoy eating at the local restaurants and breweries in town, watching 80’s movies, Star Wars, practicing yoga, playing bingo, and skiing in the winter.
Anette Cabral, BA, RBT
My name is Anette Cabral and I have been providing applied behavior analytic (ABA) services for over 4 years. I double majored in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Colorado. I first started at a company that provided respite care for children with autism and other disabilities. At this same company, I became a Register Behavior Therapist (RBT) in Spring 2015. I enjoy working as a RBT, because I’m able to make a difference in not only the child’s life but the entire family’s lives. This job is rewarding in so many ways, and I’m so thankful to be part of a wonderful company such as Peak Autism Services. In my free time, I enjoy watching reruns of The Office, practicing yoga, creative writing, visiting Garden of the Gods, and shopping.
Andrea McGarity, MS, RBT
My name is Andrea McGarity and I’ve been in the field of ABA for a little over two and a half years. I attended Dallas Baptist University and graduated with a BS in Psychology and Sociology. I began working with children with special needs while in college and developed a love and passion for it. After college I was a Special Education teacher and then became a registered behavior technician (RBT) in January of 2017. I am currently working on becoming a board certified assistant behavior analyst (BCaBA), and plan on continuing my education to become a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) in the near future. I love working as an RBT because I can see, and be a part of, the small milestones clients accomplish that not only make a difference in their life, but in the life of those around them. I love laughing, smiling and celebrating every accomplishment, no matter how big or small. When I’m not working, I enjoy reading, hiking, and playing with my two dogs.
Maria Fouts, AAS, RBT
My name is Maria Fouts. I graduated from Pikes Peak Community College in 2017 with an AAS in Baking and Pastry and Culinary Arts. That year, I also went through a 200-hour yoga teacher certification course. Though I loved baking and decorating cakes and other desserts, my yogic side quietly urged me to find a career with less stress and more positive impact on my community. The opportunity to become a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and change career fields came in October 2018, and I took it enthusiastically. Now, I find immeasurable joy in my work with Peak Autism Service’s hard-working, amiable clients, and let out my silly side with abandon. When I am not pretending to be an animal or chasing after kids, I’m pursuing my passions of yoga and culinary arts, watching something funny on Netflix, or spending quality time with a loved one.
Alexandria Christensen, RBT
Hi, my name is Alex, and I have been working in the ABA field since 2016. I began as a respite care provider and worked my way up to becoming a RBT, which I received my certification in Fall of 2017. The moment I entered this field I fell in love with everything about it. From the challenges to the successes. I became a member of the Peak Autism Services team in January 2019 and I'm so happy that I found such an amazing group of dedicated people to work with. I am currently a student at UCCS, with a year left toward my bachelor's degree in psychology. After that, I will continue my education and go into my master's degree to become a BCBA. I started in the education field at the age of 10 when I began teaching martial arts where I specialized in the ages of three to six-year-olds. When I'm not with the kiddos, I can be found playing ball with my dog, hiking, spending time with my friends and family or serving our country as a member of our Army National guard.
My name is Ivonne Osroff and I was born and raised in Cuenca, Ecuador. Since then I have lived in different parts of Florida, Georgia, and now Colorado. I have previously worked as a home health CNA where I had the opportunity to work as a respite care provider. I quickly realized interacting with kids, whether it was drawing or playing outside, was where I felt most fulfilled. I was introduced to the ABA world as an opportunity to expand my knowledge on ASD and decided in Spring 2019 that I wanted to join Peak Autism Services as an RBT. I enjoy this field because of it’s rewarding qualities. It allows me to see things from the child’s perspective and adds some fun to my day by allowing me to submerge myself into a child’s world and at the same token be able to stand besides them and their families as they accomplish new milestones. On my free time I like to craft, learn new recipes and play with my two dogs.