About Us

Our Mission

To provide comprehensive, individualized treatment for learners with autism and behavior disorders by combining science, care, and education to foster each individual's full potential in all facets of life. We believe that every moment is a teaching and learning opportunity.

Our Commitment

With gentle, persistent persuasion, we help children become active participants in the learning processes of communication, socialization, and self-management. We partner with families in the therapeutic process and help them with the resources and training they need to understand their children's unique needs.

Young toddler solving a puzzle.

Our Approach

Services are based on the most current and innovative methodologies offered in the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). For each child, we conduct thorough assessments and implement highly individualized and well-rounded treatment packages. Instructional strategies are data driven and are drawn from literature-based methods authored by respected specialists in the field of behaviorism.

Naturalistic settings are simulated to systematically prepare students for learning in the inclusion setting. Inclusion success is systematic and purposeful. Support is provided by collaborating with the educators in the inclusion setting to help the child succeed in one of the most important transitions he/she will make.

At Learners' Compass our approach is collaborative. We find the key to success is consistency and a cohesive team. We believe each child deserves a team with all hands on deck to help foster their full potential. We work with educators and all providers (Medical Professionals, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, etc).

Although much hard work lies ahead for learners in therapy, we will work even harder to motivate, encourage, and make it worth the child's time. We will make learning fun (Matching Law-Herrnstein 1961;Davison et al., 1988).

Our Board of Advisors

Athena Nicholas, RN

Parent of Child with Autism and Co-founder of REED Academy

Dr. Denise Ross, Ph.D

Professor of psychology and education, The Chicago School in the Department of Applied Behavior Analysis

Dr. Sima Toosi, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, NY Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical College

Dr. Catherine M. Cavaliere, PhD, OTR/L

Professor, Dominican College

Our Director

Leila Farshchian, M.A., BCBA

Leila Farshchian is a Certified Special Educator and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with extensive experience working with children with autism and special needs. Since 1997, she has used Applied Behavior Analytic (ABA) methods for the treatment of learners with ASD in school, home, and community settings. She has designed programs and curricula for public and private schools in NY and NJ. She has conducted workshops, counseled families, and directed small and large teams of educators to provide treatment in public schools and home settings. In her last public school programming, after 4 years of leadership as the Coordinator of the Autism Program, the NJ Board of Education in Trenton awarded the program as top 3 programs for Children with Autism in the state of NJ in 2007.

Leila received her Masters of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis from Columbia University, Teachers College. She developed a curriculum for over 800 ABA data-driven programs, encompassing individualized skills in the areas of academic, self-management, verbal behavior/language, leisure skills, joint attention, inclusion, and behavior management.

Her memberships include The International Association for Behavior Analysis, Autism NJ, Autism Speaks, the NJ Association for Behavior Analysis, and International Health Awareness Network.

Our Supervisory Team

Our ABA supervisors coordinate home-based ABA intervention programs. They provide parent and staff training, collaborate with other educators/therapists on the child's team and provide interventions for our students.

Christine Grogan, M.A. BCBA

Christine is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a Bachelors in Psychology from Stony Brook University (SUNY) and a Masters in Special Education from Dowling College.  She received her Principals certification from Seton Hall University.  She has provided services to learners with disabilities and autism since 1992. She served as the Director of EPIC school from 1997 to 2008 where she developed a state of the art science based program for individuals with Autism ages 3-21.  She has been an Early Intervention Specialist  since 2013.  She has provided services to learners with autism in the private and public sector.  She has supported and trained teams of ABA Providers.   She is currently the Clinical Supervisor at Learners’ Compass supporting our providers, families, and bringing quality ABA interventions to our learners.

Dina Marinaccio, M.A.

Dina has been providing services to learners on the Autism spectrum since 1991. She completed her Masters in Developmental Disabilities in 1998 from Jersey City State College. She has provided services to individuals with Autism in home based, center based, and public school settings. She currently provides individual based student support services in home based ABA programs. She supports the Learners’ Compass ABA Supervisors in treatment design and curriculum development

Our Behavior Specialists

Learners' Compass behavior specialists provide school/agency supports and mentorship to our colleagues in pursuit of their BCBA/BCaBA.

Carly Francisco, BCBA

Carly Francisco is a board certified behavior analyst and has been working with individuals with Autism since 2019.  She has provided services at Alpine Learning Group and several other ABA providers in New Jersey.  She has experience in supervising and coordinating home programs, completing skills assessments, designing behavior reduction programs and parent training.

Catalena Oot, M.A.

Catalena, BCBA pending, has been providing services to learners on the Autism spectrum since 2009. She completed her masters in Applied Behavior Analysis from Caldwell University, NJ. She has provided ABA services in home based, center based, and public school settings. She provides ABA therapeutic services, leads teams of providers, and coordinates ABA home based programs to our learners at Learners’ Compass.

Deirdre Moon, M.S. BCBA

Deirdre has worked with learners with autism since 1995. She joined the team at Alpine Learning Group in 1995 as certified teacher of the handicapped and a case manager. She has provided interventions for youngsters ages 2-21, with varied needs. She currently provides consultative services and therapeutic services in Learners’ Compass outreach ABA programs.

Dianna Maranilli, M.A. BCBA

Diana has worked with learners with autism since 1994. She has worked in private and public programs for youngsters ages 2-21, with varied needs. She has presented workshops and provided training programs for professional and non-professional audiences. She provides parent training, staff training, consultative services, and direct services in school and home-based settings. She specializes in severe behavior disorders.

Ebony Owens, M.S.

Ebony, BCBA pending, has been providing services to learners on the Autism spectrum since 2013. She completed her masters in Criminal Justice: Behavior Analysis Specialization from St. Joseph University. She has provided ABA services in home based and center based programs for learns with Autism.   She provides ABA therapeutic services, leads teams of providers, and coordinates ABA home based programs to our learners at Learners’ Compass.

Jessica Skariah, MS

Jessica Skariah, received her master’s degree in developmental disabilities at Nova Southeastern University.  She is currently pursuing her BCBA.  She has been working with individuals with Autism since 2015 and worked as a paraprofessional at Windsor Bergen Academy.  Jessica has experience coordinating home programs, implementing behavior intervention plans and parent training.

Kathleen Rothenbucher, BCBA

Kathleen Rothenbucher is a board certified behavior analyst and has been working with individuals with Autism since 2008.  Kathleen has a master’s degree in special education and is a certified teacher.  She has been working as a consultant to public school programs as well as coordinating home programs for children with autism.  She has experience conducting functional behavior assessments, parent training and developing behavior treatment procedures.

Kerri Cury, BS

Kerri Cury, received her degree in psychology from James Madison University.  She has been working with individuals with Autism since 2004.  She was a paraprofessional at REED Academy and worked with several other ABA providers.  She has supported several students in public and private schools.  Kerri has experience developing and implementing ABA programming for learners in their homes, parent training, data management, implementing behavior intervention protocols and reducing disruptive behavior.

Linda Donovan, MS

Linda Donovan, received her master’s degree and teaching certification in special education from New Jersey City University.  She has provided ABA services to individuals with Autism since 1992.  Linda was a teacher at Alpine Learning Group and has supported children in public and private schools.  She has experience developing quality ABA based home programs, parent training and behavior management.

Mary D'Amico, MS BCBA

Mary has provided services to learners with autism since 1993. She began as a speech therapist and classroom teacher after receiving her BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology from East Stroudsburg University in 1991. She completed her Masters in teaching in 1998 from Leman College and received her BCBA in 2016 from Florida Institute of Technology. She has been providing ABA interventions in schools since 1995. She began her work as an independent contractor and ABA provider in the home and school settings in 2001. She currently provides consultative services and therapeutic services in Learners’ Compass ABA programs. She also provides ABA Toolbox consultation services to districts for ABA curriculum/ program development. 

Maxiell Mercado, MA

Maxiell Mercado received her master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from Ballstate University.  She is a registered behavior technician (RBT) and has been working with individuals with Autism since 2016.  She is an instructor at EPIC, a private school for individuals with autism.  She also coordinates home programs, has experience with job coaching and is pursuing her BCBA certification.

Michelle O’Brien, B.A.

Michelle O’Brien has a BA in Special Education. She has been dedicated to providing services for individuals with autism since 1995. She has provided services at Alpine Learning Group, EPIC School, Nexus Language builders and several other programs in Northern New Jersey. Her expertise is assessment, and program supervision for individual students as well as whole classroom supports.

Xaviera Rivera

Xaviera has a Bachelor of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology with a dual minor in Elementary Education and Psychology from Hofstra University. She has attended numerous conferences and training for Applied Behavior Analysis. She began her with work with learners with autism in 2000 as an early intervention therapist and youngsters ages 2-16. She specializes in parent training, school-based consultation, home programs, and challenging behaviors.

Zabrina Kearns, M.A.

Zabrina received her BA from New Jersey City University in 2006 in Special Education and her MA in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University in 2016. She is completing her BCBA coursework through Florida Institute of Technology’s ABA program. She began ABA interventions in 1999. She has taught in public and private school-based programs with learners aged 3-21. At this time she is a Supervisor in a private school. Zabrina provides direct instruction, coordination, behavioral consultation and parent training in our home-based programs.

Our ABA Instructors

Learners' Compass ABA instructors provide data based interventions to our learners in the home or school setting. They provide parent training and collaborate with the team. We currently have a small team of dedicated and motivated instructors. They all have at least a BA and three plus years experience in Applied Behavior Analytic intervention.

Member of

The Council of Autism Service Providers supports its members by cultivating, sharing, and advocating for provider best practices in autism services. CASP represents the autism provider community to the nation at large including government, payers, and the general public. We serve as a force for change, providing information and education and promoting standards that enhance quality.

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