Meet Our Team
Maryam Abedi, Ph.D, LMFT, B.C.B.A-D.
Dr. Maryam Abedi is the Founder and Clinical Director of ABEDI, Inc. She has over 30 years of experience in the management of services for people with complex behavior challenges as well as providing behavior consultation and training. She spends much of her time consulting with families of individuals with developmental disabilities, schools, residential facilities, and adult foster family agencies. In addition, Dr. Abedi has conducted various seminars and workshops on the topics of non-aversive behavior management strategies and staff development, both locally and nationally.
Dr. Abedi is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is the co-author of The Periodic Service Review, a book on the total quality assurance system for human services and education.
For a complete list of Dr. Abedi’s presentations and publications, click here.
Julia Shaull, L.C.S.W., B.C.B.A.
Senior Clinical Consultant
Julia is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She is the co-author of The Periodic Service Review: A total quality assurance system for human services and education, as well as competency based staff training programs.
Julia has been working to improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities throughout her career. Her experiences include clinical, administrative, leadership, staff training, parent education and organizational behavior management. Julia has worked in schools, homes and communities with pre-school to adult clients and their support teams. She developed a day training service for adults, from an idea to a service for hundreds of people in a multi-county area. She is certified in Pivotal Response Training through the Koegel Autism Center.
Katie Bruellet, MA, B.C.B.A.
Director of Behavior Services in Orange County
Katie is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has over 11 years of experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities who display significant challenging behaviors. Katie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from CSU Fullerton and her Master’s in Teaching from National University. She joined ABEDI in 2011 and is currently working as the Director of Behavior Services overseeing ABA services.
Laura Butler, MS, B.C.B.A.
Laura is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 15 years experience working with individuals and families with Autism. Laura earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Cortland College in upstate NY and a Master’s degree in ABA from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Laura has worked in a variety of settings including home, school, and clinic based programs. She has experience in designing and implementing social skills programs, toilet training, severe behavior management, parent consultation, and day programs/group homes. Her current interest includes teaching functional communication and the assessment and treatment of severe problem behaviors including physical and verbal aggression, self injury, and property destruction. Additionally, she is interested in research in the area of analyzing the utility of functional assessments and behaviors maintained by multiple functions. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, participating in triathlons, and taking her dog to the beach.
Lessly A. Negrete, MA, B.C.B.A.
Senior Consulting Supervisor
Lessly is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 9 years of experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities, especially those who display high level of challenging behaviors. Lessly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Behavior with a minor in Educational Studies from the University of California Irvine. She further pursued her Master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in child development and behavior analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her interest lies in helping those clients who exhibit problem behaviors to better access their environment by teaching them the appropriate replacement skills. Lessly joined the ABEDI team in 2014. In her free time, Lessly enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching Netflix or discovering new restaurants in various locations.
Lizeth Corral, MA, B.C.B.A.
Manager of ABA/AST Services in Los Angeles County
Lizeth is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from California State University, Northridge. Lizeth has extensive experience teaching social skills to adolescents with Autism within clinic settings and has conducted parent education classes to help parents create social opportunities for their children while coaching them to be more social. Lizeth joined ABEDI in 2012 and has worked as Behavior Interventionist and later as Consulting Supervisor overseeing both AST and ABA services in the North Los Angeles area. This year Lizeth took on yet another position as manager of ABA/AST services in the North Los Angeles area. Lizeth’s interest lies in research involving family dynamics/ecological factors and their impact on children’s development and growth.
Rachel Hofman, MA, B.C.B.A.
Rachel is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her Master’s degree in Behavior Clinical Psychology from California State University- Northridge. Rachel joined ABEDI in 2009. She initially worked as a Behavior Interventionist and later as a Consulting Supervisor overseeing the implementation of ABA services in North Los Angeles area. Rachel has worked with toddlers, preschoolers, elementary school children, teenagers and adults with developmental disabilities, mainly those with Autism throughout her career.
Ivanna Ayala, MA, B.C.B.A.
Ivanna is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from California State University Northridge, and later completed coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis through Florida Technical Institute. Ivanna has co-developed, ran,and overseen the provision of parent training groups for foster parents and parents of children with developmental disabilities in a clinic setting. She has also taught entry-level psychology courses at California State University, Northridge. Ivanna joined ABEDI in 2014 and currently is working as a Consulting Supervisor overseeing both AST and ABA services in the North Los Angeles area.
Neomi Garzon, MS, B.C.B.A
Neomi is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her Masters Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from California State University Northridge. She first started volunteering with individuals with disabilities while she completed her Bachelors degree in 2012. Following this she joined the ABEDI team in 2014. She has worked with both children and adult, and currently she is working as Consulting Supervisor overseeing the provision of ABA and AST services in the North Los Angeles Area. She also has experience consulting with group homes. She is passionate about what she does and is interested in both parent and staff training.
Sally Sahebi, MS, B.C.B.A
Sally is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her family suggested she work with children because they saw how well they responded to her. Sally joined ABEDI in 2012 as a Behavior Interventionist and worked with both children and adults with developmental disabilities. Her effective approach in treatments, creativity in addressing challenges and many positive outcomes as a result of her services prompted Sally to pursue a career as a Behavior Analyst. She is now a Consulting Supervisor providing both AST and ABA services in the North Los Angeles area. In her spare time, Sally enjoys travelling, researching, reading books, and spending quality time with her family, friends, and dog.
Rebecca Woode, MS, B.C.B.A
Rebecca is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. She has been working with children with and without developmental disabilities since 2010 when she graduated Whittier College with her BA in Psychology. She has experience in and outside of the classroom and has been involved in swim programs and surf camps for children and young adults with ASD. In 2014 she was introduced to the field of ABA and since then gained experience in multiple teaching methodologies including DTT, PRT, and naturalistic teaching. In 2017, Rebecca decided to further her education and went back to school for her MS in Applied Behavior Analysis. One of her passions in the field is teaching functional communication to early childhood learners along with the use of functional communication to decrease a variety of severe challenging behaviors. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys hiking with her husband, cooking and spending time with her family.
Andrea Jackson, M.A., BCBA
Andrea is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and soon to be School Psychologist. She comes to ABEDI with 4 years of experience working with students with disabilities in the home and school settings. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of California, Riverside in 2014 and her master’s degree in Counseling with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis at La Sierra University in Riverside, California in 2017. She also earned her BCBA in 2017. Andrea is currently pursuing an Education Specialist degree and Pupil Personnel Services credential in School Psychology that is expected by March of 2019. Her experience ranges from early start clients through age 22, with a variety of disabling conditions and unique needs. Andrea has provided behavioral consultation in the form of direct parent/staff training as well as group staff training in school and agency settings. She is passionate about supporting individuals in gaining independence and providing functional and appropriate training to family and caregivers regarding managing challenging behaviors and maintaining skills.
Manager of PRIDE Adult Day Service and Behavior Respite Service in Orange County
Trace joined ABEDI in 2017 as a manager of PRIDE Adult Day Service and Behavior Respite Service. Trace was born, raised and educated in Wellington, New Zealand. She earned her bachelor degree from Wellington Teachers College in early education.She came to America in 1992 when she began her teaching career working with individuals with special needs primarily in the private sector. Trace has worked with preschoolers, elementary school children, teenagers and adults with developmental disabilities, mostly those with Autism throughout her career. Her interest has always been in Customizing Employment for people with disabilities.
Trace is also a yoga instructor to special needs children which she enjoys tremendously. She has earned ACRE Certification which is a national certification in basic employment services including customize employment .
Behavior Respite Coordinator
Lisa joined ABEDI team in 2017 as Behavior Respite Coordinator. She earned her Bachelor degree from CSU Fullerton in psychology. Lisa has multiple years experience working with children and adults with developmental disabilities and challenging behaviors both in community and home settings. Prior to graduating, Lisa began her career working as a Job Coach as well as volunteering in special education classrooms. She gained experience in teaching, caring for and supporting those with developmental disabilities by teaching meaningful life skills such as functional communication, self-care, independent living skills and coping skills. In her spare time Lisa enjoys reading and listening to music.
Staffing & Recruitment Specialist
Michelle is ABEDI’s Staffing and Recruitment Specialist. She has nearly 10 years of experience working within the field of ABA supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. She attended the University of California, Irvine, where she majored in Criminology, Law and Sociology but decided to pursue her career within ABA. This decision was inspired by her father at the time who suggested for Michelle to use her talents and skills to help others. Michelle has an active role in provision of ABA services as she uses her skills to recruit qualified staff and to collaborate with all supervisors to develop the most suitable support team for ABEDI clients. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and devoting her time to multiple volunteer projects.
Alexandra Smith is a Registered Behavior Technician with a bachelor’s degree in applied studies. She has been ABEDI Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) instructor for over two years. Alexandra currently is working on her Master’s degree in education, as well as taking classes to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She has over ten years experience in the field of ABA dealing with individuals of all ages with ASD challenged with complex behaviors and intellectual disabilities. Alexandra has been part of the ABEDI, Inc. team since 2013 working her way up from behavior interventionist, to lead behavior interventionist, and consulting supervisor providing parent training.
Manager of Administrative Services
Rhonda Rivas comes to ABEDI, Inc. with over 20 years of medical office administrative experience. As our point person for Human Resources, she provides support for all our staff.
With her extensive knowledge of health insurance and insurance billing, our families have found Rhonda to be very helpful and supportive in navigating the insurance maze.
Rhonda will be happy to help you with determining eligibility and benefits with your specific insurance plan. She is ready to assist you to secure services for a family member or yourself with ABEDI, Inc.
Marjan has joined ABEDI team with more than 20 years of administrative and financial experience. She manages the day to day operation of North Los Angeles office and oversees ABEDI accounts payable and receivable as well as managing purchases and expenses.