Our Team

Autism From the Start® is proud of their credible staff of highly educated individuals who have dedicated their lives and professional studies to Autism. Please take a moment and get to know the team.

 
Michelle Macrorie.png

DR. MICHELLE MACRORIE, FOUNDER/CEO, PEDIATRIC PSYCHOLOGIST

Michelle Macrorie approaches the world with the heart of a mother and the mind of a dreamer. Favorite thing in the world is to simply hang out with her two kids and husband and enjoy the ensuing laughter. She also loves her butterfly garden, long walks, and chocolate in its many forms.

In 1999, Michelle earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Pediatric and Neuropsychology. She went on to spend years conducting developmental evaluations for young children which blossomed into a deep passion for, and specialization in, Autism. Given the marked needs that exist for these families, Michelle set out on a mission to do more….thus was born Autism From The Start®.

 

Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)

 
AMY SANNER, CLINICAL DIRECTOR   Amy Sanner is our “Lead Nerd”, the curator of our craft, and our resident ethics police. She loves research, all things chocolate, her three teenagers, and her super duper hubby (not necessarily in that order). Since 1996, Amy has enjoyed a varied history of working in the field of ABA that spans a wide range of ages, worldly locations (e.g., Taiwan), and settings.  Amy graduated from the University of Kansas in 2001 with her masters degree in Human Development (the then ABA Department) and has been a BCBA since 2002. Amy joined Autism From the Start® in 2015 and we have been well-served ever since.

AMY SANNER, CLINICAL DIRECTOR

Amy Sanner is our “Lead Nerd”, the curator of our craft, and our resident ethics police. She loves research, all things chocolate, her three teenagers, and her super duper hubby (not necessarily in that order). Since 1996, Amy has enjoyed a varied history of working in the field of ABA that spans a wide range of ages, worldly locations (e.g., Taiwan), and settings.

Amy graduated from the University of Kansas in 2001 with her masters degree in Human Development (the then ABA Department) and has been a BCBA since 2002. Amy joined Autism From the Start® in 2015 and we have been well-served ever since.

KARI NIETZEL, CENTER DIRECTOR   Kari Nietzel is the wind beneath our wings. She is a positive energy who perpetually wears a smile. She can be found most often exercising and chasing her two tiny humans. Kari is the voice of our people and bridges the communication gap among us.  At the University of Missouri, Kari earned an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders in 2011 and her master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism in 2012. While at MU, she contributed to the development of a published social skills program and continues to have a special interest in teaching social communication.

KARI NIETZEL, CENTER DIRECTOR

Kari Nietzel is the wind beneath our wings. She is a positive energy who perpetually wears a smile. She can be found most often exercising and chasing her two tiny humans. Kari is the voice of our people and bridges the communication gap among us.

At the University of Missouri, Kari earned an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders in 2011 and her master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism in 2012. While at MU, she contributed to the development of a published social skills program and continues to have a special interest in teaching social communication.

RACHEL FERBEZAR   Rachel Ferbezar is a beautiful balance of an intellectual, Type-A personality and a sweet, kind, and gracious soul. She and her highschool sweetheart husband are the proud parents of Riley, their dog. Rachel is a dependable worker, a great listener, and a sounding board for all.  A Shawnee-native, she and her husband relocated to Michigan for a time so Rachel could earn a master’s degree in ABA from Western Michigan University in 2016. While in graduate school, she specialized in Early Intervention and Organizational Behavior Management and takes a special interest in our youngest children with new diagnoses.

RACHEL FERBEZAR

Rachel Ferbezar is a beautiful balance of an intellectual, Type-A personality and a sweet, kind, and gracious soul. She and her highschool sweetheart husband are the proud parents of Riley, their dog. Rachel is a dependable worker, a great listener, and a sounding board for all.

A Shawnee-native, she and her husband relocated to Michigan for a time so Rachel could earn a master’s degree in ABA from Western Michigan University in 2016. While in graduate school, she specialized in Early Intervention and Organizational Behavior Management and takes a special interest in our youngest children with new diagnoses.

RACHEL GEMMILL   Rachel Gemmill is a heartfelt newlywed and soon-to-be-mom. She enjoys recreational league sports and has a love/hate relationship with house projects. Her superpower is her sensitivity to kids and empathy for others. She is an astute observer of the children with whom she is working and has an intense focus during sessions.  She earned an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders from Fort Hays in 2012 and a master’s in ABA from the University of Cincinnati in 2016. Rachel loves working with complex behaviors and has a special interest in teaching play and social skills.

RACHEL GEMMILL

Rachel Gemmill is a heartfelt newlywed and soon-to-be-mom. She enjoys recreational league sports and has a love/hate relationship with house projects. Her superpower is her sensitivity to kids and empathy for others. She is an astute observer of the children with whom she is working and has an intense focus during sessions.

She earned an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders from Fort Hays in 2012 and a master’s in ABA from the University of Cincinnati in 2016. Rachel loves working with complex behaviors and has a special interest in teaching play and social skills.

Lead Technicians

 
COLLEEN HUETTENMUELLER, SENIOR  Colleen Huettenmueller is our forever maternal figure of the House. She is a calm soul with creative skills and a caretaking heart. She enjoys working out, reading, cooking, and spending time outdoors with her two children.  Colleen graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 2001 and began her career working with children with autism in 2004. She has willingly taken on a leadership role at Autism From The Start®, serves on our Leadership Team, manages our Social Media, and is the mastermind behind our weekly Circle Time Curriculum and Fun Fridays Schedule.

COLLEEN HUETTENMUELLER, SENIOR

Colleen Huettenmueller is our forever maternal figure of the House. She is a calm soul with creative skills and a caretaking heart. She enjoys working out, reading, cooking, and spending time outdoors with her two children.

Colleen graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 2001 and began her career working with children with autism in 2004. She has willingly taken on a leadership role at Autism From The Start®, serves on our Leadership Team, manages our Social Media, and is the mastermind behind our weekly Circle Time Curriculum and Fun Fridays Schedule.

KALEIGH WATTS, LEAD  Kaleigh Watts is a dedicated mom of two, an independent thinker, a lover of all things in nature, and a loyal rule follower. We count on her to keep our place safe, to ensure we are adequately caring for the environment, and to share with us a host of random facts.  Kaleigh is a 2012 graduate of the ABA program at the University of Kansas and has worked in the field of autism ever since. She serves on our Leadership Team and has been a consistent and dependable figure at Autism From The Start® since the opening of the Children’s House in 2016.

KALEIGH WATTS, LEAD

Kaleigh Watts is a dedicated mom of two, an independent thinker, a lover of all things in nature, and a loyal rule follower. We count on her to keep our place safe, to ensure we are adequately caring for the environment, and to share with us a host of random facts.

Kaleigh is a 2012 graduate of the ABA program at the University of Kansas and has worked in the field of autism ever since. She serves on our Leadership Team and has been a consistent and dependable figure at Autism From The Start® since the opening of the Children’s House in 2016.

SAMANTHA OHMES, LEAD  Samantha Ohmes is an introspective, sweet, and kind human being. She is very family-focused, never complains, and is a proud Cat Lover. Some of her favorite activities include reading and playing Tetris.  Samantha graduated from Kansas State University in 2014 with her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology and went on to earn her master’s degree in ABA from Ball State University in 2017. Samantha has worked exclusively with children under the age of 5 in a one-on-one basis since 2014. She joined Autism From the Start® in July 2017 and has been a dream to have.

SAMANTHA OHMES, LEAD

Samantha Ohmes is an introspective, sweet, and kind human being. She is very family-focused, never complains, and is a proud Cat Lover. Some of her favorite activities include reading and playing Tetris.

Samantha graduated from Kansas State University in 2014 with her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology and went on to earn her master’s degree in ABA from Ball State University in 2017. Samantha has worked exclusively with children under the age of 5 in a one-on-one basis since 2014. She joined Autism From the Start® in July 2017 and has been a dream to have.

SARAH GREGAR, LEAD  Sarah Gregar has a wicked sense of humor, an easygoing nature, and a laid-back vibe. She and her husband love to travel and she is a superfan of all things sports. Sarah is the leader of our March Madness Pool and a diehard loyalist to our local sports teams. Her superpower is connecting with kids in an intuitive, playful, and tender manner.  Sarah graduated from Avila University in 2010 with a degree in Middle School Education. She has worked with children of all ages since 2002 and focused exclusively on children with autism since 2011. She has been part of our Autism From the Start® family since June 2017.

SARAH GREGAR, LEAD

Sarah Gregar has a wicked sense of humor, an easygoing nature, and a laid-back vibe. She and her husband love to travel and she is a superfan of all things sports. Sarah is the leader of our March Madness Pool and a diehard loyalist to our local sports teams. Her superpower is connecting with kids in an intuitive, playful, and tender manner.

Sarah graduated from Avila University in 2010 with a degree in Middle School Education. She has worked with children of all ages since 2002 and focused exclusively on children with autism since 2011. She has been part of our Autism From the Start® family since June 2017.

 
MALLORY KELLER, LEAD  Mallory Keller is an outgoing gal, full of encouragement and help for others. She is big ‘Dog Mom’ with a positive take on life and a lover of yoga, reading, and the environment.  In 2008, Mallory earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and has been working as a behavior technician providing center-based autism services to young children since. Before joining our team in February 2018, Mallory had already accumulated a wealth of experience in running small group learning activities and promoting ‘learning to learn’ skills in small children.

MALLORY KELLER, LEAD

Mallory Keller is an outgoing gal, full of encouragement and help for others. She is big ‘Dog Mom’ with a positive take on life and a lover of yoga, reading, and the environment.

In 2008, Mallory earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and has been working as a behavior technician providing center-based autism services to young children since. Before joining our team in February 2018, Mallory had already accumulated a wealth of experience in running small group learning activities and promoting ‘learning to learn’ skills in small children.

 
 
 

Interns (RBTs studying to become BCBAs)

 
TALLY FRIESEN  Talley Friesen is a small town girl who has traveled the world to help others. During her adolescence, she and her family spent two years as missionaries at a Bolivian orphanage. Talley is a kind soul with a giving nature and a heart for adventure. She enjoys running, playing volleyball, cooking, and spending time with friends.  Talley graduated from the ABA program at the University of Kansas in 2016 and soon joined our team in October of the same year. Talley is now one of our impressive interns, working on her master’s degree in ABA in order to become a Behavior Analyst.

TALLY FRIESEN

Talley Friesen is a small town girl who has traveled the world to help others. During her adolescence, she and her family spent two years as missionaries at a Bolivian orphanage. Talley is a kind soul with a giving nature and a heart for adventure. She enjoys running, playing volleyball, cooking, and spending time with friends.

Talley graduated from the ABA program at the University of Kansas in 2016 and soon joined our team in October of the same year. Talley is now one of our impressive interns, working on her master’s degree in ABA in order to become a Behavior Analyst.

JORDAN HOPPER  Jordan Hopper is a doer of good deeds, a compassionate soul, and soon to be a father. He is a willing learner who pushes himself beyond his comfort zone. His superpower is domination in board games and puzzles.  In 2015, Jordan graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Psychology and a minor in ABA. He first worked as a para-educator with kindergarten students and then as a behavior technician with adolescents before joining Autism From the Start® in February 2017. He is now one of our interns, working on his master’s degree to become a Behavior Analyst.

JORDAN HOPPER

Jordan Hopper is a doer of good deeds, a compassionate soul, and soon to be a father. He is a willing learner who pushes himself beyond his comfort zone. His superpower is domination in board games and puzzles.

In 2015, Jordan graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Psychology and a minor in ABA. He first worked as a para-educator with kindergarten students and then as a behavior technician with adolescents before joining Autism From the Start® in February 2017. He is now one of our interns, working on his master’s degree to become a Behavior Analyst.

LAUREN MIZE  Lauren Mize is a hardworking ‘Steady Eddie’. She is motivated, dependable, consistent, level-headed, and responsible. She loves her dog Theo, KU basketball, and children with autism.  Graduating from KU with a degree in ABA and a minor in Psychology, Lauren has been an integral part of our Autism From The Start® family since April 2017. She is now one of our star interns, working on her master’s degree to become a Behavior Analyst.

LAUREN MIZE

Lauren Mize is a hardworking ‘Steady Eddie’. She is motivated, dependable, consistent, level-headed, and responsible. She loves her dog Theo, KU basketball, and children with autism.

Graduating from KU with a degree in ABA and a minor in Psychology, Lauren has been an integral part of our Autism From The Start® family since April 2017. She is now one of our star interns, working on her master’s degree to become a Behavior Analyst.

HANNAH MORRIS  Hannah Morris is an angelic personality who innately clicks with all children--a natural kid whisperer. She is happiest frolicking outdoors with her dogs (and husband!), running, and existing in the mountains. She is a healthy kombucha drinking soul who has a passion for fostering children, special olympics, and church.  Hannah graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Health Science and a minor in Psychology. While in school, she worked at the Thompson Center for Autism and in July 2017, joined our happy family. Hannah is currently working on her master’s degree in ABA in order to become a Behavior Analyst.

HANNAH MORRIS

Hannah Morris is an angelic personality who innately clicks with all children--a natural kid whisperer. She is happiest frolicking outdoors with her dogs (and husband!), running, and existing in the mountains. She is a healthy kombucha drinking soul who has a passion for fostering children, special olympics, and church.

Hannah graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Health Science and a minor in Psychology. While in school, she worked at the Thompson Center for Autism and in July 2017, joined our happy family. Hannah is currently working on her master’s degree in ABA in order to become a Behavior Analyst.

Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs)

 
MADDIE CULLINGS  Maddie Cullings is anything but “Mad Dog”, as we affectionately call her. She is consistently easygoing, humble, pleasant, flexible, and dependable. Her power (and her weakness) comes from her love of Oreos and she is a dedicated nail polish consumer.  Maddie graduated from Benedictine College with a degree in Psychology in May 2017 and immediately found her place at Autism From the Start®. She is now also back in school working on her master’s degree in Communication Disorders.

MADDIE CULLINGS

Maddie Cullings is anything but “Mad Dog”, as we affectionately call her. She is consistently easygoing, humble, pleasant, flexible, and dependable. Her power (and her weakness) comes from her love of Oreos and she is a dedicated nail polish consumer.

Maddie graduated from Benedictine College with a degree in Psychology in May 2017 and immediately found her place at Autism From the Start®. She is now also back in school working on her master’s degree in Communication Disorders.

LACY DeARMOND  Lacy DeArmond is our positive spark of sunshine and exudes deep gratitude for life. She has a strong drive to see success and consistently aims for self-improvement. In addition to her fiance, she loves cooking, baking, and the Dallas Cowboys.  During college, Lacy began her work with young children with autism and for 5 years happily served as a para-educator in the Olathe Schools Early Intervention Program. Luckily, life steered her in our direction and she joined our Autism From the Start® family in February 2018.

LACY DeARMOND

Lacy DeArmond is our positive spark of sunshine and exudes deep gratitude for life. She has a strong drive to see success and consistently aims for self-improvement. In addition to her fiance, she loves cooking, baking, and the Dallas Cowboys.

During college, Lacy began her work with young children with autism and for 5 years happily served as a para-educator in the Olathe Schools Early Intervention Program. Luckily, life steered her in our direction and she joined our Autism From the Start® family in February 2018.

SHANNA FURGE  Shanna Furge is a proud Hoosier from Indiana and a passionate and thoughtful person. She loves hanging with her husband, loving on her cats, exploring her city, and staying active outdoors. Best of all, she is also passionate about helping children with autism.  Shanna graduated from Purdue University with honors obtaining a degree in Psychology and immediately started working in an autism center. From there, she joined our team in April 2018 and boy are we happy about that!

SHANNA FURGE

Shanna Furge is a proud Hoosier from Indiana and a passionate and thoughtful person. She loves hanging with her husband, loving on her cats, exploring her city, and staying active outdoors. Best of all, she is also passionate about helping children with autism.

Shanna graduated from Purdue University with honors obtaining a degree in Psychology and immediately started working in an autism center. From there, she joined our team in April 2018 and boy are we happy about that!

ALE CARRILLO  Alejandra “Ale” Carrillo is a calm, focused, and helpful person. She loves traveling, music, eating, and online shopping. Ale has a passion for “nerdy and science-related things” and won KU’s Undergraduate Research Award. Ale volunteers her time to help non-profit organizations support hispanic youth and individuals with developmental disabilities. Ale is also bilingual and can read, write, and speak Spanish.  This spring, she will earn her undergraduate degree in ABA with a minor in Psychology.

ALE CARRILLO

Alejandra “Ale” Carrillo is a calm, focused, and helpful person. She loves traveling, music, eating, and online shopping. Ale has a passion for “nerdy and science-related things” and won KU’s Undergraduate Research Award. Ale volunteers her time to help non-profit organizations support hispanic youth and individuals with developmental disabilities. Ale is also bilingual and can read, write, and speak Spanish.

This spring, she will earn her undergraduate degree in ABA with a minor in Psychology.

 
OLIVIA HUNT  Olivia Hunt is a ‘glass half full’ person with a great work ethic and a grateful heart. She enjoys reading, hiking, playing with her cat, and binge-watching shows. She has a hidden talent in working with wall art--lettering and decals (check out our walls....).  Olivia graduated from the University of Kansas in 2018 with a degree in ABA. She enthusiastically worked on research teams while in school and has a passion for the field. Olivia joined our family in July 2018.

OLIVIA HUNT

Olivia Hunt is a ‘glass half full’ person with a great work ethic and a grateful heart. She enjoys reading, hiking, playing with her cat, and binge-watching shows. She has a hidden talent in working with wall art--lettering and decals (check out our walls....).

Olivia graduated from the University of Kansas in 2018 with a degree in ABA. She enthusiastically worked on research teams while in school and has a passion for the field. Olivia joined our family in July 2018.

AMANDA HUYNH  Amanda Huynh is a crafty, creative, and thoughtful person with genuine positivity. She loves working out, coaching gymnastics and supporting the Chiefs. Her superpower is reading, writing, and speaking Vietnamese.  Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas in 2015 with a degree in Community Health and Development and an emphasis in ABA, along with a minor in Communication Disorders. After she marries the love of her life later this year, she has plans to continue her education and become a BCBA.

AMANDA HUYNH

Amanda Huynh is a crafty, creative, and thoughtful person with genuine positivity. She loves working out, coaching gymnastics and supporting the Chiefs. Her superpower is reading, writing, and speaking Vietnamese.

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas in 2015 with a degree in Community Health and Development and an emphasis in ABA, along with a minor in Communication Disorders. After she marries the love of her life later this year, she has plans to continue her education and become a BCBA.

ALEJANDRA SMITH  Alejandra Smith is a hippie at heart with a carefree vibe. Her interests span from nature to puzzles and from dancing to reading. Alejandra is fluent in Spanish and has a head full of great hair.  In 2014, she graduated from Missouri State University with her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and has worked at autism centers since 2016. Alejandra floated into the arms of Autism From the Start® in July 2018 and we’re sure glad she did.

ALEJANDRA SMITH

Alejandra Smith is a hippie at heart with a carefree vibe. Her interests span from nature to puzzles and from dancing to reading. Alejandra is fluent in Spanish and has a head full of great hair.

In 2014, she graduated from Missouri State University with her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and has worked at autism centers since 2016. Alejandra floated into the arms of Autism From the Start® in July 2018 and we’re sure glad she did.

BROOKE BLEVINS  Brooke Blevins is a positive, calm and cheerful presence. She is a Harry Potter Superfan, and lover of all things dogs.   In 2018 Brooke graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Applied Behavioral Science with an emphasis in early autism intervention as well as a degree in Psychology. Brooke previously worked as a behavior technician providing ABA services to elementary aged children before joining the team at AFTS in January 2019.

BROOKE BLEVINS

Brooke Blevins is a positive, calm and cheerful presence. She is a Harry Potter Superfan, and lover of all things dogs.

In 2018 Brooke graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Applied Behavioral Science with an emphasis in early autism intervention as well as a degree in Psychology. Brooke previously worked as a behavior technician providing ABA services to elementary aged children before joining the team at AFTS in January 2019.

 
SAMANTHA INGRAM  Samantha “Sam” Ingram is a dedicated, friendly, easygoing fountain of happiness at Autism From The Start. You can often find her caught up in a good book, creating art through drawing, or hiking a new trail. She has a natural ability to connect with, and gain adoration from, any child.    Sam graduated in 2011 from the University of Kansas with a degree in Applied Behavioral Science with a focus in early childhood intervention. After working with children in a center-based resource and later while cruising around the world, she joined our family in January 2019.

SAMANTHA INGRAM

Samantha “Sam” Ingram is a dedicated, friendly, easygoing fountain of happiness at Autism From The Start. You can often find her caught up in a good book, creating art through drawing, or hiking a new trail. She has a natural ability to connect with, and gain adoration from, any child.  

Sam graduated in 2011 from the University of Kansas with a degree in Applied Behavioral Science with a focus in early childhood intervention. After working with children in a center-based resource and later while cruising around the world, she joined our family in January 2019.

 

Office Administration

 
LIZZIE KAMAN, OFFICE MANAGER   Lizzie Kaman is our internal worker bee and the gal behind the curtain in much of what makes things tick at our center. While she enjoys cooking and exercising, she spends much of her energy keeping up with her two firecracker girls. Lizzie (and her husband) has a great sense of humor and she is always willing to do whatever it takes.  She is a graduate of Kansas State University and has a degree in Family Studies and Human Services. Lizzie has been a great find for Autism From the Start® ever since 2016.

LIZZIE KAMAN, OFFICE MANAGER

Lizzie Kaman is our internal worker bee and the gal behind the curtain in much of what makes things tick at our center. While she enjoys cooking and exercising, she spends much of her energy keeping up with her two firecracker girls. Lizzie (and her husband) has a great sense of humor and she is always willing to do whatever it takes.

She is a graduate of Kansas State University and has a degree in Family Studies and Human Services. Lizzie has been a great find for Autism From the Start® ever since 2016.

KAREN HOUGH, BILLING MANAGER   Karen Hough is a devoted mother of one and an animal lover to her core. She has an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and while her daughter was young, started her own photography and makeup artistry businesses.  More recently, she worked in managerial and administrative positions, having overseen several employees and front office operations. Karen joined Autism From the Start® in early 2018 and developed our Billing Department--saving us all a significant amount of stress. We are so grateful to have her on board!

KAREN HOUGH, BILLING MANAGER

Karen Hough is a devoted mother of one and an animal lover to her core. She has an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and while her daughter was young, started her own photography and makeup artistry businesses.

More recently, she worked in managerial and administrative positions, having overseen several employees and front office operations. Karen joined Autism From the Start® in early 2018 and developed our Billing Department--saving us all a significant amount of stress. We are so grateful to have her on board!