Our Staff at Helping Hands Children Services
Executive Director: Vanetta LaRosa, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Vanetta R. LaRosa, Ph. D, BCBA-D has had a 22 year career helping individuals with Autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, profound multiple disabilities, ADHD, and more. Her calling to the field began when she was eight years old. She met her first friend with Autism, the son of her father's best friend. She quickly found ways to connect with him even though he was non-verbal, and when his mother told her to avoid him because he would pull her long hair, she insisted that he would not. She became his first and only friend. Her interest in people with Autism grew over the years. She began working in a residence for adults with disabilities when she was 19, and loved it so much that she never left the field.
About ten years ago she started Helping Hands Behavioral Outreach, Inc. a not for profit recreational program for children and teens with Autism and developmental disabilities. In the same year, she also started Helping Hands Children Services, Inc. an agency that provides Behavioral Consultation and Special Education Services to school districts. Helping Hands now serves students over 70 Long Island and New York City districts!
Dr. LaRosa completed a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a sub-specialty in human learning and development from Southern Illinois University, the first ABA oriented doctoral program in the Nation. She became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2003 and later earned doctoral distinction. She was trained directly by some of the industry's top scholars, researchers and professionals. The New York State Association in Applied Behavior Analysis (NYSABA) named her student of the year in 2006.
She has taught both undergraduate and graduate psychology courses for over 10 years. She was given two social science research and mentoring awards from Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, NY in 2005 and 2006. The students at CUNY KingsBorough named her a favorite professor in 2003! She currently teaches in the Graduate Psychology Dept. and in the BCBA program at LIU Post, Long Island University and serves as the Executive Director in both of her Helping Hands' agencies.
Dr. LaRosa has editorial experience, publications, social science research awards, has presented at professional conferences, has been awarded various grants, and has been nominated to several honor societies.
Over her 22-year career, she has held positions that varied from direct care to Executive leadership. She has written and effectively implemented hundreds of Behavior Intervention Plans. Her passion and life-long service to people with Autism and Intellectual disabilities makes her a true advocate for all people with differing abilities.
Regarding Applied Behavior Analysis, Dr. LaRosa the founder and Executive Director, was directly trained by some of the industry’s top scholars and some of the most well published professors in the field. Her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a sub-specialty in human learning and development is from the very first ABA oriented doctoral program in the United States. One of her most cherished mentors the late Dr. Barbara Cordoni founded the clinical ACHIEVE center in 1978 at Southern Illinois University which was the first college program for students with Learning disabilities. While there she worked under Dr. Cordoni in a doctoral fellowship learning to administer psycho-educational batteries.
Her combination of skills gives the agency’s staff a well-rounded perspective that incorporates education, leadership, psychology, and applied behavior analysis. She has enjoyed 23 years of work in this field at all levels of service from direct care to executive leadership. She has written and successfully executed hundreds of Behavior Intervention Plan in school settings. She is now in a Neuropsychology Post-Doctoral program and is being trained by Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, one of the world’s most prominent Neuropsychologists.
- 16 years of post-graduate related experience, 13 years post BCBA Certification, 25 total years of field experience.
- Completed a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a sub-specialty in human learning and development from Southern Illinois University.
- Currently in Post-Doctoral Re-specialization program in Neuropsychology
- BCBA-D (Board Certification in Behavior Analysis – Doctoral), NYS Licensed Behavior Analyst
- Published ABA oriented research
- Conducted hundreds of functional behavioral assessments and implemented related behavior intervention plans to students at the pre-school, elementary, middle and high school levels
- Worked in schools and private agencies for 22 years, and in leadership positions for over 10 years.
- Has over 10 years of college level teaching experience (including BCBA and graduate Psychology courses).
- In the past three years Dr. LaRosa has provided ABA/Behavior consultation to various school teams.
Senior Director: Kimberly Aloisi Guillem, M.S. Ed.
Kimberly Guillem has provided early intervention, preschool and school age services over the past 15 years. Kimberly began working in the field of special education as a 1:1 aide while attending SUNY Stonybrook for her Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences. After her first summer working with multi-disabled students she was inspired to pursue a career in special education. While attending Dowling College for her Master's degree she completed her student teaching within a self-contained classroom that utilized the science and methodologies of ABA. She found these methods and strategies effective and utilized them within her first classroom co-teaching at an inclusion preschool.
She also began SEIT and parent training services within various agencies to provide families of children with autism the support they needed. She also worked in a private special education school as a classroom teacher for children with autism that engage in aggressive behavior. After a few years, Kimberly became the Assistant Director of the school. As the Assistant Director, she was responsible for assisting in the day-to-day functioning of the school as well as trained the staff on the methodologies of ABA. She was also responsible for communicating with parents and school districts regarding the students that attended the program. She trained the staff specifically on data collection which led to her creating the functional behavior assessments and writing behavior intervention plans for the students. Kimberly continued to utilize ABA methodologies while providing services as a behavior consultant for Helping Hands Children Services.
Kimberly Aloisi Guillem oversees all Applied Behavior Analytic and Special Education related services for the agency. She also leads the data analysis team. She oversees the cases in school districts, works closely with the providers to supervise and provide support. She communicates with school district administration, parents and providers to ensure that everyone is working together to meet the needs of the students and following the mandates of the IEP.
- Certified Special Education teacher (Permanent Certification in Special Education Birth-21)
- Kimberly completed her BCBA coursework and supervision hours.
- She has been trained in Verbal Behavior, Discrete Trial Teaching/ program development/supervision, and numerous other methodologies of ABA.
- Kimberly has been an administrator in a private school and has been an independent contractor providing home and school services for over 10 years.
- Recent school districts worked in include but are not limited to: Syosset, Lindenhurst, Port Washington, Wyandanch, Westhampton Beach and Great Neck.
- Kimberly has begun our Crisis Response Program to assist students who in crisis within schools, home or in our facility.
Clinical Director: Jordan Freeman, MS Ed, BCBA
As the Clinical Director, Jordan provides behavior consultation and parent training services as well as supervision and training through insurance cases. He also provides BCBA supervision to the BCBA supervisees as the guidelines of the BACB. He also works directly with the Senior Director to provide various trainings and workshops. He is active in research that is necessary for the development of new programs and trainings within our agency. He also assists the Executive Director and Senior Director in various projects, one of which is coursework offered through the agency.
- Jordan graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a degree in Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis.
- He has been in the field of autism and Applied Behavior Analysis since 2001.
- He received his Masters in General and Special Education with a Concentration in Autism from C.W. Post in 2007 and received a Certificate in ABA from the University of North Texas in 2009.
- He became a BCBA in 2010.
- He worked as a teacher at a private school for children with autism in Queens for 10 years. During this time, he working with students of varying levels and with varying behaviors.
- In addition, he served as a supervisor on insurance cases for the past three years.
- Recent school districts worked in include but are not limited to: Herricks, Lindenhurst, Roslyn, and Levittown.
Senior Behaviorist: Lauren Lambert, M.A., BCBA
As Senior Behaviorist, Lauren corresponds with districts and families to ensure that each student is paired with a provider with whom they will reach their maximum potential. She also coordinates the Helping Hands After School Program, which serves as a safe environment for teenagers to develop social skills, daily living skills, and engage in physical activity. Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis are used within the program to promote maintenance of these skills. As Lead Behaviorist, Lauren also provides in-home ABA services, as well as behavior consultation and behavior intervention services within school districts.
- Lauren graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Psychology.
- Lauren has experience in working with early childhood.
- She received her Masters Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Queens College in 2014.
- She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and NYS Licensed Behavior Analyst.
Administrative Coordinator/Lead Behaviorist: Jackie D’Angelo-Hunt, M.S., Ed.
As the Administrative Coordinator/Lead Behaviorist, Jackie works with our Crisis Response Program, providing services for students identified to be in crisis by the school district. Jackie provides academic and behavior support and services to the select students. Jackie also provides parent training, ABA and Behavior Consultation services in various school districts. Jackie is also a member of our data team. Jackie also provides Crisis Prevention Intervention trainings. Overall, Jackie is an active member of the Helping Hands team.
- Jackie is a certified CPI instructor.
- Jackie has her B. S. in Childhood Education.
- Jackie received her Master’s degree in Special Education and is certified in both Special Education and Childhood Education grades 1-6.
- Jackie has over 6 years teaching experience.
- Jackie has experience working with student from 6 months to 21 years of age.
- Jackie has experience in incorporating technology, visual aids, social stories and other resources into lessons and activities to further motivate a student.
- Jackie has experience utilizing IEP Direct to create goals and report progress.
- Jackie is also fluent in Italian and has knowledge of conversational Spanish.
- Recent school districts worked in include but are not limited to: Syosset, Lindenhurst, Roslyn, Wyandanch, Babylon, Plainview-Old Bethpage, and Freeport.
Coordinator of HHCS/HHBO: Brittaney Lanza
Since 2013, Brittaney has been providing behavior consultation, intervention, ABA and parent training services with Helping Hands Children Services. In 2015, Brittaney joined the Helping Hands team as Lead Behaviorist and Program Coordinator of our non-profit social skills program, Helping Hands Behavioral Outreach. As Lead Behaviorist, Brittaney continues to provide behavior consultation and services through several school districts. Additionally, she works closely with both Assistant Clinical Directors to provide trainings and workshops. As Program Coordinator, Brittaney provides coordination and social skills facilitation to a program serving over 40 individuals diagnosed with autism and developmental disabilities. Through this venture, she has facilitated growth in the program and continues to provide behavioral support to each individual in attendance.
- In 2010, Brittaney graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication Disorders with a concentration in Special Education.
- Immediately after, she began working with individuals diagnosed with autism using methods of Applied Behavior Analysis. Since this time, she has worked with individuals of varying ages and needs.
- In 2012, she received an Advanced Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from LIU Post.
- As of 2015, she has begun working towards her Masters of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis through Arizona State University. She is currently working towards becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Coordinator: Kristy Steiger
Kristy began working for our social skills program, Helping Hands Behavioral Outreach, in April, 2015 as an intern. In September 2015 Kristy joined our team as a full time employee. Kristy remains the Assistant Coordinator for Helping Hands Behavioral Outreach. With Helping Hands Behavioral Outreach Kristy works very closely with the Program Coordinator to manager weekly activities, and provide supervision to both students and staff. Kristy is also the Assistant Coordinator for our insurance program. Kristy communicates with insurance companies to check coverage for ABA services, and facilitates the application process. In addition, Kristy provides in home ABA services for both insurance cases and district cases through Helping Hands Children Services.
- Kristy graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2011 with her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development.
- Currently, she is obtaining a Master’s Degree in Human Services with a concentration in Clinical Psychology. Once completed, Kristy will work towards becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
- Kristy began working in the field in 2009 as a paraprofessional through Western Suffolk BOCES. Kristy spent several years working with children diagnosed with autism in a classroom setting, where she utilized many ABA techniques.
- From there, Kristy became a Medicaid Service Coordinator where she assisted individuals with various developmental disabilities obtain services in home and community based services.
- In 2015, Kristy was awarded as Long Island’s Medicaid Service Coordinator of the year from the Long Island Office of People with Development Disabilities.
Assistant Coordinator: Katie Waters
Katie began working for Helping Hands Children Services in February of 2016. Katie assists with all of the departments at Helping Hands and coordinates the Social Skills Groups held every school holiday break. In addition, Katie provides in home ABA services for insurance cases and frequently works at Helping Hands Behavioral Outreach.
- Katie graduated from The College of Saint Rose in 2010 with her Bachelor’s degree.
- Currently, she is obtaining her Master’s Degree in General and Special Education with CUNY Queens College.
- She is also working towards receiving her Board Certified Behavior Analyst certificate.
- Katie began working with students diagnosed with disabilities in the summer of 2014 at D.D.I. where she utilized many ABA techniques.
Clinical Research Intern: Caitlin Kehoe
In November 2015, Caitlin began working at our Behavioral Outreach. At this program, Caitlin facilitates social interaction between students with a variety of activities. Additionally, Caitlin joined our team as an intern. Caitlin assists Dr. LaRosa with neuropsychological evaluations and research.
- Caitlin is currently completing a dual Bachelor’s degree, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Stony Brook University and plans to graduate in Spring 2017
- In 2015, Caitlin started her research in a Psychology Research Lab at Stony Brook and has been assisting on a study focused on communication in relationships.