Meet our Team

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Michelle Bouchard, BCBA

Clinical Director 

My passion is to provide children and their families the very best treatment possible. I believe treatment should be individualized and specifically designed for each client; not a cookie-cutter formula for them to follow. I enjoy every aspect of my job and feel so fortunate that I get to go to work with children and their families. I have been working in the field for over 16 years, and have experience working in families’ homes, within the school district, in clinics, and research settings. 

I received my Bachelor’s in Science from Western Michigan University, where I was introduced to the field. My practicum was completed at a school designed specifically for children with autism, where I fell in love with the work, and found my niche. I then pursued my Master’s in School Psychology and became a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.

I worked at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) doing research on early intervention with children with autism; this was part of the autism intervention research program (AIRP) Autism Center of Excellence, under Dr. Laura Schreibman and Dr. Aubyn Stahmer. I was trained in Pivotal Response Training by Dr. Schreibman (the co-developer of PRT and a leading expert in treatment for children with autism) and Dr. Stahmer (developer of Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching [CPRT]). Additionally, I was trained in how to teach social communication to children with autism developed by Dr. Brooke Ingersoll and Anna Dvortcsak. I am also well versed in Naturalistic and Developmental Behavior interventions. 

Interventions Trained In:

  • Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)
  • Early Intervention Developmental Model
  • Positive Behavior Supports
  • Picture Exchange Communication (PECS)
  • Natural Environment Teaching (NET)
  • Verbal Behavior 
  • Social Communication
  • Parent Training

I look forward to an opportunity to work with you. 

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Alexadra Baum

Registered Behavior Technician

I have always had a love for helping others. Through my position as a behavioral therapist, I am able to help children grow and expand. It is an honor to work with such kind and bright kids. I am currently attending MiraCosta college, and am working to earn my Bachelor's in sociology, and eventually my Master's in social work. I am committed to serving those in need, and to providing the care that is needed. I look forward to meeting you and your child.

tania

Tania Virgen

Office Manager

Registered Behavior Technician 

I am committed to making a difference in the lives of children, working with Believing In Change allows me to do so every day. My positions at Believing In Change are Office Manager and Registered Behavior Technician. I am extremely lucky to be a part of the administrative side and the clinical side of ABA therapy, this allows me to go one step further in helping our kids! 

As a Registered Behavior Technician, working one on one with our kiddos and their families motivates me every single day to reach their goals and make a positive impact on their lives. 

I am a college student working towards a bachelor’s degree in Sociology to eventually become a licensed clinical social worker. I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.

dianna

Dianna Heun

Registered Behavior Technician 

Hi! First, I would like to start by thanking you for taking the time to get to know me! Secondly, I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with your child! I am so grateful for this opportunity as a Registered Behavior Technician for Believing In Change! I hope you will see my love for children and helping them develop to their full potential. I will provide your child a safe space, patience and encouragement. I love interacting, teaching and motivating children! I am very much a child at heart! I love Disneyland, dancing, crafting, pretend play and the ability to use the imagination. I am originally from San Fernando Valley and new resident of San Diego as of 3.5 years ago! I have worked as a preschool teacher, dance teacher and prior experience with another company as a Behavioral Therapist in the home, clinic and school setting. I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Child and Adolescence Development from California State University Northridge. I have a certificate in Early Childhood Trans-disciplinary Education and Mental Health from San Diego State University. I am currently pursing my Masters in Early Childhood Mental Health with a LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) emphasis from San Diego State University.

Look forward to meeting you and working with your child!

karen

Karen Pontarelli

Practice Manager

As Practice Manager, I do not have direct contact with the children and families, but I do feel that I am part of the assistance our company provides. I am responsible to oversee the overall operations of the practice. This includes the necessary insurance portion of authorizations and billing for services. I am always available to answer questions and provide help to the parents and the therapists.  I have always felt compelled to help others. I started my career as a Registered Nurse and worked in hospitals for 25 years in cardiology and surgery. Then I changed to another aspect of patient service, medical billing. As a billing intern I started with an autism provider with Michelle Bouchard as Clinical Director. I was eventually promoted to office manager. Michelle’s passion for the children is so contagious that I have followed to the company that she developed, and I remain dedicated to my role in the process improving children’s lives.

sabrina

Sabrina Ibarra

Registered Behavior Technician

I have always known that working with children is my passion. Now getting that opportunity as a Registered Behavior Technician with Believing in Change and seeing the positive impact we all make on these children's lives is the most rewarding feeling I have experienced. I am currently a student at MiraCosta College and pursuing my bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts to continue my work with children in the future. I look forward to working you and your children!