Dr. Agnieszka Snyder, BCBA is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis. She is both a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and certified therapist in the Early Start Denver Model. Prior to becoming a behavior analyst, Dr. Snyder earned a Master’s degree in history from the University of Gdansk, Poland, and Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Vienna, Austria. Dr. Snyder has been working with families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder for over a decade and specializes in the parent coaching model of the ESDM.
Irene Russo, MFT Intern is a Certified ESDM therapist and works as the clinical supervisor for the San Francisco Bay Area services. She earned her Master of Science in Clinical Psychology in Italy and she is currently in training to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has been utilizing the ESDM since 2014, first as an assistant research student at the MIND Institute and then as a therapist and parent coach (in training), joining the team of Dr. Zierhut at Early Days Autism Center. Irene has supported the dissemination of the ESDM since the beginning of her career, offering presentations and services to spread the method in USA and Italy. She has strong interests in research and is developing a research collaboration with Early Days Autism Center and international institutions to further investigate the dissemination of the G-ESDM in pre-schools. With this purpose she has recently applied and been accepted as Ph. D. Candidates at University of Salerno, Italy.
Chelsea Bansuelo, has more than 10 years of experience in Early Childhood Education and Preschool Administration. She is the first point of contact for parents and assists with needs and questions. She supports the EDAC team by overseeing all administrative and human resource duties. She joined the team as the Business Manager in the Fall of 2017.
Clinical and Research Consultant
Yamit Karabelnik, Master in Child Development is a Certified ESDM therapist, ESDM Apprentice Trainer and a G-ESDM specialist. She earned her Master in Education and Child Development in Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Yamit has been working with children with ASD since 2012. She has been trained and mentored by Dr. Zierhut since she began utilizing the ESDM method in 2014. In addition to working with Early Days, she trains and supervises staff in Israel using ESDM, at the Association for Children at Risk.
Yamit has been accepted into the International Training Program for Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the Collaborative Start Lab at Mind Institute, UC Davis as a research scholar. She is EDAC’s training supervisor and aims to develop knowledge and research on G-ESDM. Yamit plans to become a formal trainer in the Early Start Denver Model and has recently completed the coursework for the parent coaching model (P-ESDM). Her long-term goals are to help expand the use of ESDM in the middle East and disseminate the use of GESDM around the world. Helping children and their families to access services within community inclusive settings to help children to learn, grow and interact.
Team (alphabetical order)
Michelle Der, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of California, Davis in 2014. She has worked with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder since 2014 with extensive knowledge in Applied Behavior Analysis. In 2016, she received her Registered Behavior Technician credential. In Fall of 2017, she started her Masters of Social Work program at Simmons College. She hopes to work with children with disabilities one day as a licensed social worker. She joined the EDAC team as an Instructional Assistant in the Fall of 2017.
Hannah Gentry, received her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Living from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Hannah has worked with children in childhood lab settings and has experience with working in experimental educational studies. Previously, she was an elementary special education teacher in the inner city of San Francisco with children diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, ODD, and Emotional Disturbances. Hannah is currently receiving her Masters in the Psychology of Applied Behavior Analysis, and completion of her BCBA certification. She joined the EDAC team as an Instructional Assistant in the Summer of 2017.
Melissa Mello, M.ED. BCBA has a Master’s Degree in Special Education from San Francisco State University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Melissa is certified in the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) as a therapist, parent coach (P-ESDM), and a trainer both locally and internationally. She currently works for the MIND Institute. At the MIND she provides case supervision to children receiving Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) as their intervention approach, as well as parent coaching and general supervision to the lab. She has been working with children with autism for the past 10 years in a variety of settings, including as a special education teacher and early interventionist delivering one on one intervention in community based programs. For the past 7 years, Melissa has been supervising early intervention programs as a Clinical Manager; using behaviorally based, empirically validated methods to ensure children with autism are improving their behavior, language and social skills at home and in the classroom. Melissa is a consultant to EDAC.
Susana Razumovsky, is a devoted parent of a child with ASD. She plans to pursue her education in Child Development in the Spring of 2018. She joined the EDAC team as an Instructional Assistant in the Fall of 2017.
Jennifer Ripley, SLP, BCBA, has a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is Hanen Certified and a Certified therapist in ESDM. Jennifer’s aspirations include learning more about group ESDM (G-ESDM) and becoming an ESDM parent coach. Jennifer has experience working both in homes and in schools using Pivotal Response Therapy, providing in home supervision of programs, and she also currently teaches an early intervention class for children with special needs. She is a consultant for EDAC.
Ethan Sapp, has a family background that lead to significant interest and study into ASD in 2015, and is preparing to pursue a Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2018. He joined the EDAC team as an Instructional Assistant in the Fall of 2017.
Andrea Trahan received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from University of Phoenix in 2013. She has worked at a child development center working with kids ages 6 months to 5 years. Andrea has worked with children, teenagers and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down Syndrome using Applied Behavior Analyst since 2016. She also has worked for the school district as an instructional aid working with kids with ASD, ADHD, Down Syndrome, and other behavioral and learning disabilities. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Psychology with emphasis on Applied Behavioral Analysis and has taken 36 units in Special Education courses. Andrea joined the EDAC team as an Instructional Assistant in the Fall of 2017.
Justine Vela, received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development at UC Davis in 2016. She has worked with preschool aged children since 2013, with experience in the preschool setting through beginning and advanced coursework at UC Davis, and childcare experience with children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. She will begin post-baccalaureate classes in Communications Sciences and Disorders in the Spring of 2018, and plans to enter a Master’s Program in Communications Sciences and Disorders in the Fall of 2019 to become a licensed Speech Language Pathologist. Justine joined the team as an Instructional Assistant in the Fall of 2017.
For any other information please contact us:
Cynthia Zierhut, Ph.D.
Owner-Director, Clinical Psychologist
+1 (916) 337-9842
Irene Russo, MS, MFT Intern
ESDM Certified Therapist
+1 (510) 384-9749
Yamit Karabelnik, MA
ESDM Certified Therapist
+1 (916) 390-8438
In Polish, German, Russian
Aga Snyder, Ph.D., BCBA
ESDM Certified Therapist
+1 (916) 402-3403