Meet the Team

Executive

Brooke Wagner, M.A., RDI® Program Certified Consultant

CEO, Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc.

Brooke

Brooke Wagner, M. A. has supported individuals with special needs both locally and internationally since 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Santa Clara University, a Masters Degree in Human Behavior from National University, and is an RDI® Program Certified Consultant. In addition, Brooke is an RDI® supervisor through RDIConnect in Houston, TX. In this role, she guides and supervises RDI® consultants in training through their supervision requirements. She has also received extensive training and experience in developing and implementing comprehensive programs utilizing RDI®, ABA, Floortime, PRT, PECS, How Does Your Engine Run?, Handwriting Without Tears, Social Stories, Touch Math, and TEACCH.

Brooke believes in a supportive and comprehensive approach and, therefore, uses a variety of methodologies based on her past experiences when providing recommendations. In addition, she finds it necessary to regularly communicate with all other specialized therapists (Speech, OT, PT, etc.). Brooke also served on the board of the San Diego Autism Society of America for four years and successfully directed the annual “Swing Away For the ASA” golf tournament fundraiser in 2007. As a native to San Diego, she believes in supporting her local community through outreach opportunities, sharing information and resources and connecting with clients and those impacted with developmental delays on a human level.

Clinical Directors

Gail Ludwig, M.A. CCC, SLP, RDI® Program Certified Consultant

Clinical Director, Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc.

Gail Ludwig, M.A., is an RDI® program certified consultant, a licensed speech/language pathologist and certified HANDLE™ screener. Graduating with a Master’s in Speech Pathology in 1982, she has been a practicing speech/language pathologist for over 30 years. She received her RDI® certification in 2008 and became a HANDLE™ screener in 2009. Presently, she primarily works as an RDI® consultant for TAG, Inc., however, she also supervises their speech therapy program and does occasional HANDLE™ screenings. Because of her extensive experience and trainings, she is able to look at clients in a comprehensive way which considers their communication strengths and challenges, relationship obstacles and sensory motor functioning. Lastly, she has several years of experience supporting students in their school setting, acting as a consultant to school staff and supervising school shadows.

Gail is very passionate about her work and has experience with clients of all ages. In addition to consulting with parents, she often sees adult clients with various disabilities including autism, brain injury, sensory processing deficits, learning, developmental or psychological disabilities. Her philosophy is based on establishing a trusting relationship with her clients and supporting them in a way that considers their needs and ability to receive feedback. She is a very caring person and works hard at supporting her clients to achieve their maximum potential.

Jackie Zaldua, M.A., BCBA, RDI® Program Certified Consultant

Clinical Director, Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc.

Jackie Zaldua, M.A., BCBA, has specialized in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) since 2002. She is passionate about utilizing a comprehensive approach to working with children and families impacted by autism and has a strong background in supervising developmentally based behavioral programs as well as expertise as a staff development specialist and certified Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) trainer. In 2012, Jackie joined the TAG, Inc. team. As Clinical Director of TAG Carlsbad, she is honored to provide clinical supervision and support to our dedicated staff. Jackie truly enjoys seeing each client develop both as individuals and in their family relationships as they experience growth on many levels.

Jackie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Science (2002) and a Masters of Arts Degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling-Early Childhood Education (2003) from California State University, Northridge. Her background and training in child development was consistent with the RDI® philosophy and she obtained her RDI certification in 2010. Jackie had the privilege of receiving her RDI® clinical training by Dr. Rachelle Sheely, co-founder of the RDI® program. As an RDI® Consultant, Jackie finds great joy in teaching parents and educators how to foster their child’s developmental growth in key areas such as emotional engagement, joint attention, co-regulation, social communication, self-awareness, personal goal setting, and real-world problem solving. She values teaching parents how to build strong relationships with their child and encourages parents to engage in self-care so that they can maintain a healthy guiding role for their child.

In 2014, Jackie obtained her credential as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She completed BCBA coursework from the University of Northern Texas. As a BCBA, she is skilled in implementing Functional Behavior Assessments, analyzing patterns of behavior, developing measurable treatment plans that utilize positive proactive support strategies and analyzing data to measure goal progress. Furthermore, she emphases the use of a naturalistic approach, a trusting relationship between tutor and child, and developmentally appropriate practice. Jackie provides ABA training for TAG staff, oversight of treatment plans, and provides supervision for our Registered Behavior Technicians in training.

It is important to distinguish that the Crisis Prevention Intervention and Relationship Development Intervention Certifications are not behavior-analytic in nature and are not covered by the BACB credential.

Kathryn Bovino, M.A., ITDS, RDI® Program Certified Consultant + Certified Yoga Instructor

Clinical Director, Therapeutic Approach to Growth, Inc.

Kathryn Bovino, M.A., BCBA is the Clinical Director at our TAG Temecula location.  Kathryn has worked in the field of child development since 2000 and with families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders and other related challenges since 2004. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and earned her Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, with a Graduate Certificate in Autism, from Ball State University.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida and has maintained certifications as a RDI® Program Consultant and Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS) since 2006, as well as a Therapy Dog Team Handler since 2014.

After managing her own developmentally focused practice for six years, Kathryn decided to join TAG in 2012. From the start, her mission has been to provide support through an individualized, developmental, relationship-based approach as she strives to incorporate strategies that encourage growth and empowerment for the child AND the parents, while creating a better quality of life for the whole family.  Kathryn has worked as a developmental specialist in early intervention, as well as provided one on one support in home, center and school-based programs.  She has taught in a private school and camps for autism, as well as designed, implemented, and supervised behavioral and relationship focused programs. Kathryn is also a certified yoga instructor and she began practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation in 2000.  She maintains a certification in Life Balance Yoga Therapy and to teach Aerial Yoga.  She applies strategies from her trainings into her programs at TAG, when appropriate.  In addition, she strives to stay up to date on current research and applications within the field of autism, behavior analysis, as well as yoga and mindfulness. In 2019, she discovered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and she immediately began to incorporate it.  She actively participates in additional trainings and research of ACT and is excited to include this mindfulness based behavioral therapy approach within her work with TAG families.

Case Supervisors

Dr. Kimberly Van Dusen LMFT, RPT

Case Supervisor, Parent Training Consultant

kim-van-dusen-case-supervisor

Dr. Kim has a Master’s in TV Broadcasting, a Doctorate in Psychology, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Registered Play Therapist. She was previously a Program Manager for a local non profit agency implementing a positive behavior support program in over 20 elementary schools.

Dr. Kim has also owned a private practice and specialized seeing children ages 0-17. She currently speaks at various conferences, provides parenting consultations and parenting workshops, and has previously facilitated weekly prenatal and postnatal support groups. Dr. Kim is also a university professor for Master’s and Doctoral level students teaching courses in parent child therapy and play therapy.

Dr. Kim is a TODAY Show Parenting Team Contributor and is a regular guest as a parenting expert on KFMB News 8 Morning Extra on the CW San Diego.  She is passionate about working with parents, families, and children and is a proud member of the TAG team!

Blake Baum, LPCC

Case Supervisor & Parent Training Consultant

Blake is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor specializing in children and adults with developmental delays and mental health heath disorders (most commonly including anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and depression).  She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Counseling.  She has since worked in the non-profit and for-profit sectors with children and adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities, providing direct behavior services, case management, and individual and group therapy.  She has also led social skills groups for elementary age children and advocacy groups for young adults.

As a mother to two young boys Blake understands that treatment often extends beyond the child, and that providing support and guidance to the family unit is equally important.  She both encourages healthy self-care for parents and participates in physical activities like yoga, spin, and hiking to improve and maintain mental health.

Blake is an advocate for child-led activities and promotes natural, play-based behavioral services.  She believes this is essential to promote confidence and relationship building within the family.  An individual approach is utilized to ensure growth within the family while each member maintains their own unique identity.

Stephanie Myung, M.S., BCBA, CTRS.

Case Supervisor & Parent Training Consultant

Stephanie’s passion for and experience in working with individuals with autism and their families began in 2002. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation (2006) from Ithaca College and a Masters of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism from the Sage Colleges (2012). She obtained her credential as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2013.

Starting her career as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Stephanie incorporated a person-centered approach to therapeutic intervention. She developed and implemented therapeutic programming for individuals with autism and other disabilities, to include yoga, art, and animal assisted therapy (with the use of therapy and Assistance Dogs International certified facility dogs). As her career developed, so did her interest in the field behavioral science, leading her to pursue her credential as a BCBA. Stephanie is skilled in pairing therapeutic interventions and recreation and leisure activities with behavior analytic principles in a way that helps individuals to meet their goals while increasing their quality of life. She has always been fascinated by the human-animal bond and interested in the therapeutic effects dogs can have on the lives of individuals with disabilities. Building upon this passion, she has become experienced in positive reinforement dog training and developing therapy and facility dog programs in schools and therapy centers.

As a BCBA, Stephanie specializes in natural environment teaching as well as functional communication training. She is well versed in implementing functional behavior assessments, developing behavior support plans, and providing training and support to staff. She is honored to be able to be part of the TAG team and support individuals with autism and their families.

RDI® Consultants

Amy Olts, M.A.

RDI® Program Certified Consultant

Amy O.

Amy Olts received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Cornell University and worked as an ABA therapist in the San Diego area for close to two years. After learning about RDI® and its benefits to families of children with autism, she decided to shift her focus and is currently an RDI® Program Certified Consultant (since 2008). Amy also has her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, and the skills she learned in her program have been instrumental in supporting the families that she works with.

She is dedicated to applying her knowledge, experience and coursework toward helping children with developmental disorders and their families.  Her genuine care for the families that she works with, coupled with her natural interpersonal skills make the experience of working with her a valuable and memorable one for both families and children.

Christine “Kiki” Haddad, MPS ATR, RBT

RDI® Program Certified Consultant + Art Therapist

Christine “Kiki” Haddad Zaynoun MPS ATR is an art therapist who received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the American University of Cairo in 2012, and her master’s degree in creative arts therapy from Pratt Institute in New York in 2014. She has also received her RDI® Program certification after training by the founders; Dr. Gutstein & Dr. Sheely.

Kiki is currently working as an art therapist and RDI® Program Certified Consultant at TAG. She worked at Imagine Academy for Autism and The League Education and Treatment Center in NYC as well as the Advance Society and the Learning Resource Center in Cairo, Egypt where she practiced art therapy and DIR® Floortime therapy with children and their parents with a wide range of special needs of ages 2 to 30. She has even dedicated some of her time practicing art therapy with underprivileged children in the slums of Egypt and the Dominican Republic. Kiki features in “Art Therapy: The Movie”, a documentary about art therapy across the globe and has written a chapter in the upcoming book “Art Therapy in the Middle East”.

Kiki has 10+ years of experience supporting those with special needs, which she is immensely passionate for; but also loves art, music, traveling and reading!

Niina Kivilahti-Korkala, M.A.

RDI® Program Certified Consultant

Niina Kivilahti-Korkala, M.A. has supported and taught individuals from preschoolers to adults since 2002. She has worked as a teacher, an adult educator, an ABA therapist, an early childhood interventionist, and as a parent trainer. Niina joined the TAG team in 2012 as an RDI extender. She holds a Masters in Educational Psychology from University of Oulu, Finland (2003), a Teaching Credential from University of Oulu, Finland (2003), and is a Specialist in Competence Based Qualifications, Finland (2008).

Niina has worked for over 10 years as a group exercise instructor and still enjoys taking classes herself. She sees exercise as part of a healthy life style and also a benefit to mental health. She feels honored to work with families to improve the quality of life for the whole family. She is passionate about what she does and is honored to serve families and help them develop to be the best that they can be.

Jaclyn Collins, RDI Consultant +OT

RDI® Program Certified Consultant

Jaclyn Collins, MOT, OTR/L is an occupational therapist who received her Bachelors of Science in Community Nutrition in 2012 from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota and her Masters of Occupational Therapy in 2014 from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. She is currently in training to become an RDI consultant, as well as a Somatic Experiencing practitioner. Jaclyn has worked with individuals across the lifespan in various environments (home, clinic, and hospital); however, children and their families speak closest to her heart. Jaclyn uses evidence-based practice, strengths-based empowerment techniques, collaboration, and occupation as catalysts towards helping children and their families live their lives to the fullest. She is experienced at using playful, intrinsically motivating, and expressive interventions to assist children with building both developmental and life skills, as well as partnering with families to facilitate their growth. She believes regulation is key to developing healthy and trusting relationships and works to guide clients toward understanding their own sensory and nervous systems. Outside of work, Jaclyn enjoys hiking, backpacking, running, paddle boarding, yoga, traveling, all things coffee, and DIYing.

Paraprofessionals

Rajan Singh, RBT

Paraprofessional

Rajan graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology. During high school and college, he was involved in Best Buddies, an organization that creates opportunities to make one-to-one friendships with people with developmental disabilities. From there he realized his passion for helping people and he now looks forward to bringing that same passion to the TAG organization!

In his free time, Rajan enjoys making art, exploring new areas, and spending time with friends and family. His long-term goal is to grow professionally at TAG and eventually continue his education in developmental psychology.

Carli Proctor, RBT

Paraprofessional

Carli received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of San Diego in May of 2018. During her time at USD, she was a research assistant for a study focused on treatment for young children with externalizing behavior problems. In 2015 Carli started as a teacher’s assistant at the Child Development Center on campus and worked with children between the ages of two and five years.

Carli was born and raised in San Diego, California. She loves to travel, listen to music, read, and spend time with her friends, family, and dog. She has always had a passion for children, originally wanting to be a teacher but changed her mind after falling in love with psychology. She is excited about the experience, and knowledge that TAG will provide which will help her reach her long-term goal of becoming a licensed clinical psychologist.

William Webb, RBT

Paraprofessional

I was born and raised in sunny San Diego.  I love all the classic things about San Diego. I enjoy being outside, going to the beach, hiking, swimming, surfing, biking, hiking and dance.  I am a recent graduate from Cal State San Marcos with my BA in Psychology.  My career goal is to be an OT.  I love working with kids, and aim to bring out the best in them. I think it’s very important to have fun and enjoy everyday life on your way to your goals and dreams.

Monique Ford, RBT

Paraprofessional

Monique has always loved working with children. She knew she always wanted to work with children when she would pretend her childhood cat “Mikey” was a student and she was a teacher in her room. She holds an Associate’s degree in General Education from Brookdale Community College (2008) and a Bachelor’s degree in History from National University (2016). She began her career as an Education Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club in Carlsbad, CA in 2011. She worked closely with at-risk children with behavioral, emotional and learning difficulties from ages 5 to 18.

Her life took a turn when she learned that her youngest son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, just two months before his third birthday. Monique chose to dedicate her life to helping her son better adapt to the world, while still embracing his unique self. She began to gain interest in students with special needs and became an Instructional Aide for the Carlsbad Unified School District in 2014. She worked in a moderate/severe classroom of children with autism. Although her goal for many years was to become a history high school teacher, she realized she needed to focus more on students with special needs. Monique’s goal was to work 1:1 with this population and unearth their potential and passions with the world because of her experience with her own son. She is currently a graduate student at Arizona State University (2018). Her ultimate goal is to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and help under-served communities become more aware, accepting and accommodating to individuals with autism and their families. She is also fluent in three languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish. Monique is embracing this beautiful journey and she thanks her sons for changing her life for the better, despite the challenges they face in the world of autism. For now, Monique’s priority is to take care of her two boys ages 14 and 6, go on train rides, watch movies at the theater and listen to audiobooks. She is also homeschooling her youngest son and excited to finish graduate school this year. Lastly, she is enjoying her journey as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) at TAG!

Katherine Buckley, RBT

Paraprofessional

Katherine graduated from Cal State Northridge with a Bachelors in Science. She has experience in ABA early childhood development and currently works part-time at Tustin Unified School District. Katherine has worked with children who have mild/ moderate and moderate/ severe disabilities since 2015. Katherine’s background is in fitness and health and has taught and coached swimming for close to 7 years. Her hobbies include hiking, traveling and family time. Katherine plans on going back to school for her BCBA in the future.

Torry Poulson, RBT

Paraprofessional

Victoria (Torry) Poulson joined the TAG Carlsbad team in 2018. She started her career in special education as a teachers assistant working with special needs students at a local high school. It was there she took on a leadership role in running their Special Olympics program, a position she found personally meaningful. During this experience, she developed a passion and love for working with students with special needs. The staff at the school took notice and began asking her to babysit their own children with autism/special needs and she thrived in this role. Torry joined the TAG team excited to further her knowledge and expertise in working with children and teens with autism. She plans to further her college education and major in the field of Special Education. We are excited to have her on our team as she brings a great deal of enthusiasm and care to her role and is passionate about developing her clinical skills!

Nicole Cochrane, RBT

Paraprofessional

Nicole Cochrane graduated from the University of Arizona May 2019 with her Bachelor of Arts in Special Education and Rehabilitation and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. While pursuing her degree in Arizona, she worked on campus with students with intellectual disabilities who were duel enrolled in their high school and the university. She has always had a passion for working with children and individuals with disabilities, but this opportunity made her want to keep making a difference after she graduated.

Nicole was born in Minnesota, but moved to California when she was in the 3rd grade. She loves to spend time with family and relax at the beach. Her long term is to attend graduate school and become an Occupational Therapist.

Olivia Hyde, RBT

Paraprofessional

Olivia Hyde is currently pursuing her degree in Special Education in Interdisciplinary Studies through Liberty University’s online programs. After graduating high school early, Olivia spent a semester interning in a high school special education classroom and nannying for a child on the spectrum.

Olivia is from a small town in Illinois and moved to San Diego in the middle of 2019 when her husband got stationed at Miramar. She loves to spend her time outdoors or with friends, family and her cat. She is thrilled to be a part of the TAG team and is eager to gain experience throughout her journey in the sunny state of California and here at TAG!

Kayla Eddings, RBT

Paraprofessional

Kayla Eddings received both her B.A. (2016) and M.A. (2019) in Psychology from California Baptist University. She is currently taking classes to receive her M.A. in Special Education with an emphasis in ABA therapy from Arizona State University. Kayla has a younger sister with Down Syndrome and has been actively involved in all aspects of her life, both at home and in the classroom. Kayla loves outdoor activities such as hiking and off-roading, coaching volleyball, playing with her dogs, and spending time with her family and friends.

Kayla has always had a passion for working with children with learning disabilities and is grateful for the opportunity to work at TAG. Kayla hopes to become a BCBA by Fall of 2012 and is looking forward to using her experiences to have a positive impact on children and their families.

Melissa Dominy, RBT

Paraprofessional

Melissa Dominy joined the TAG Carlsbad team in 2020. Her experience has predominantly revolved around Special Olympics and Unified Sports Programs. Melissa started her involvement in recreational programs and services at the University of West Florida, where she pursued her B.S. in Community & Health Promotion. From there, she went on to serve Washington State University as Graduate Assistant for University Recreation while pursuing a master’s in Sport Management. In her role, she served on multiple committees and administrative positions for inclusive programs catering to diverse needs, even piloting a Unified Sports program in the Pullman, WA community. Melissa has also officiated in Special Olympics and Wheelchair Basketball tournaments, getting to work closely with participants and families. Melissa is extremely passionate about sports and programs that aim to include everyone. Her desire to create an inclusive environment for everyone to play led her to become a Registered Behavior Technician. Melissa is eager to work with children and teens with autism, hoping to foster an environment of growth and fun! Melissa hopes to continue her education and become an Occupational Therapist. She spends most of her free time looking for new hiking and camping spots with her dog.

Administration

Kerrie Sarkissian

Billing/Revenue Cycle Management Supervisor

Kerrie joined TAG in June 2018, as the Billing Specialist. She previously worked with a multi-state ABA agency as the Director of Operations. Prior to that she worked 12 years with LifeScan, a Johnson & Johnson company in the Payer & Channel Development department. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons.

Charmaine Tanjuakio

Carlsbad Office Admin

Charmaine joined the TAG team in January 2020 as the Carlsbad office admin. She previously worked as a tutor at an ABA company where her passion for helping others grew. She is thrilled to take on this role where she can continue to help others and assist TAG families. In her free time, Charmaine enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling.

Katie Oliver

Miramar Office Admin

Katie Oliver graduated from California State University, Chico in 2018 where she received her bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in Health and Wellness. Katie is excited to be a part of the TAG team where she can apply the skills she has learned from school but also her passion for helping others. When she is not working, Katie enjoys exploring San Diego with her roommates and spending time with her family.

Therapy Animals

Nala Bovino

Certified Therapy Dog

Nala is a certified Therapy dog (along with her handler Kathryn Bovino) at TAG.  Nala attended The Good Dog Training School and received her Canine Good Citizen Certification in November 2013.  After receiving her CGC certification, Nala attended the K9 Dog Park School.  She graduated from their Therapy Dog class and succeeded in passing her Love on a Leash (LOAL) Therapy Dog Control Evaluation.  Upon graduation, Nala continued on her journey to participate in supervised visits under the guidance of LOAL staff.  In April 2014, Nala and Kathryn were certified as a Therapy Dog Team with Love on a Leash, Inc.  The team has experience providing therapy in nursing homes, veteran’s facilities, and libraries.  Nala joined the TAG team to support and meet the needs of individual clients. She has experience helping individuals face and overcome their fears of animals, as well as support individuals in their own goals and to come out of their shell and share more about themselves.  In addition to Nala’s therapeutic pursuits, in her spare time, she enjoys swimming in the ocean, playing fetch, and snuggling.

Ryder Wagner

Certified Therapy Dog

Ryder is a certified Therapy Dog through Love on a Leash, along with his handler, Brooke Wagner, CEO of TAG.. At 3 years old, Ryder is our empathetic and energetic dog that never fails to put a smile on our TAG clients’ and teams’ faces. Ryder graduated from their Therapy Dog class and passed his Love on the Leash Therapy Dog Control Evaluation with flying colors! He thoroughly enjoyed his LOAL training and the time he has spent at schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Ryder loves to swim, snuggle, play fetch, and is the most loyal companion. He is known to cry along side of you, comforting you through all of your tears! Next time you see him, make sure to give him lots of tummy rubs, he loves them. Ryder joined the TAG Therapy Dog team to support and meet the needs of individual clients, along with Nala.  He has experience supporting individuals with their own goals, and loves being there for our TAG clients! Let us know if you would like to meet Ryder!