Behavior Analysis is an evidence based treatment for autism and related disabilities. Our team can bring this treatment to you and your family in a way that is accessible, friendly, and very positive.
Mountainside ABA was created to bring practical, positive behavior analysis treatment to individuals and families. Our emphasis is on quality and family inclusion.
Liz: BCBA, Mountainside ABA owner
Mountainside ABA was founded by Liz Simons. Liz is a BCBA who specializes in teaching communication and independent living skills, and decreasing problem behavior. Liz loves to share the strategies that she's learned with families and those seeking a career in ABA. She believes every individual that she works with has a variety of very effective skills. She enjoys teaching those working with an individual how to increase the skills they want to see happen more and decrease the skills that are hindering success. She loves what she does- please reach out and ask any quetsions!
Emily Smiechowski has worked in the field of special education for 5 years. She is a graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. After graduation, she relocated to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia in search a job as a special education teacher. She taught at a middle school for two years and also became involved in the Child Study process as Child Study Chair. While working as a special education teacher, she began to see a student exhibit significant maladaptive behaviors. She began to seek out help from fellow co-workers and found out about ABA. She had found her calling and began studying ABA at Shenandoah University. She received a Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis and sat for her Board Certified Behavioral Analysis exam in June of 2016 and also became a Licensed Behavior Analyst in Virginia. She worked at a private day school in Northern Virginia for two years, where she served as a program director, BCBA, and licensed special education teacher for students with severe problem behaviors. In July of 2017 she became a Licensed Behavior Specialist in Pennsylvania and began to make the move back to Pittsburgh. Emily enjoys writing behavior interventions plans and showing families how to decrease problem behaviors, while increasing functional behaviors. She has had experience with many different types of maladaptive behaviors as well as working on functional goals and increasing communication. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Steve, and their dog, Rex.
Brandie- Skills coach, RBT
My name is Brandie Thurston. My interest in working with the special needs community started when I was in high school. I participated in the partners club, a club where peers get together with the students in special education classes and do extracurricular activities together (such as attend football games, put on plays, go bowling, etc.). During high school, I also got my license as a Board Certified Cosmetologist. Upon graduating, I started working at a salon and soon after, I began interning at a private school for children with special needs. Because of my experience in both the special needs field and hair care, I do provide hair cutting services for some of the children and adults I work with. After nine years of experience, I found myself working with Mountainside ABA and I am now a Registered Behavior Technician. I fell in love with helping children thrive in the community, improving their behavior and growing academically and, I continue to have the same passion for my clients with Mountainside ABA.
Betsy joined the Mountainside ABA team in August of 2017, and recently became a Registered Behavior Technician. Betsy has 13 years of experience working with families and their children in the school, home, and community setting. Betsy is a committed team-player with a strong desire to help change the lives of individuals by collaborating with their family and other team members to provide treatment that is individualized to meet their needs through the use of evidence based strategies and proactive measures. She believes that creating an environment that promotes meaningful learning opportunities and experiences, accompanied with a strong emphasis on continual encouragement and positive reinforcement, will help your child achieve success.
Leigh Ann- RBT
Leigh Ann Rinehart received her B.S. degree in Elementary and Special Education from West Virginia University in 1990. She earned a her master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis in May 2016 from Arizona State University. Leigh Ann is a Registered Behavior Technician pursuing her certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
She has over 20 years experience with ABA which began at West Virginia University through educational psychology courses. Leigh Ann served as a teacher's assistant for behaviorology courses taught by Dr. Julie Vargas. Through her exposure, she began to develop the passion to work with children on the Autism Spectrum. Her desire became a reality while teaching the Autism Unit at a residential facility in Virginia and also working as a one-on-one assistant within the Richmond school district. Eventually she relocated to West Virginia, where she worked across the border in Pennsylvania as West Virginia is very limited with ABA services.
By obtaining her certification as a BCBA in the future, it is Leigh Ann's desire that she can continue to make a difference in the lives of children experiencing difficulties. There is a shortage of qualified therapists and behavioral analysts in her home state of West Virginia, and her goal is to provide quality services for families within her community.