Kristina's areas of expertise include:
Special Education Law (IDEIA)
Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied Verbal Behavior
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Early Childhood Education & Child Development
Parent-Child Interactive Therapy
Infant/Family Mental Health - trauma-focused
Parenting styles and theories
Kristina's knowledge of disabilities include:
Emotional Disabilities (Mood disorders, PTSD, RAD, ODD, Personality Disorders, etc.)
Social Communication Disorder
Kristina is also actively involved in the disability and early learning community. She stays current in the field as a member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the AZ Association of Behavior Analysts (AzABA), the Association of Behavior Analysts International (ABAI), the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Kristina participates in the AzABA Public Policy Committee to bring awareness and action in the area of ABA within Special Education. Kristina has been appointed to the ADE Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP) since 2013 and was on the ADE Special Education Rule Committee. She also served for four years as a Board Member for the Arizona Food Allergy Alliance as well as the Board of Directors for the AZ Branch of International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Kristina was the only parent representative in a group of 35 community leaders from around the state to participate on the First Things First Task Force to develop the Arizona Early Childhood Plan.
Kristina has over 25 years of experience in the field of Early Education, Early Intervention, and Mental Health. She has worked with the Parent Training Information Center for the state of Arizona (Raising Special Kids), as a Disability Specialist for Early Head Start, an Education Curriculum Specialist for Head Start, and a Mental Health Consultant for First Things First. Kristina is dedicated to supporting parents through the journey of special education and she provided special education consulting and advocacy to families across Arizona and Utah for over 10 years.
Kristina has many years of first-hand experience advocating for and obtaining appropriate, effective special education services for four of five children whom have various special needs including Bipolar Disorder, Autism, Anxiety disorder, Dyslexia, Hyperlexia, and Dyscalculia (Learning Disability in Mathematics), Tourette's Syndrome, ADHD (Executive Function Disorder), and OCD associated to PANDAS/PANS, post-concussive syndrome, and severe food allergies. Her eldest son now attends college in California. The next youngest is a senior and a 4-year letterman in two sports. The middle child is a talented baseball athlete preparing for high school. Kristina's two youngest are twins who are also athletes. Her three youngest children previously attended Breakthrough Academy to address their various needs and have now returned to their neighborhood, public school. What a journey!
Kristina holds a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, a post-graduate certificate in Positive Behavior Support (PBS), a certificate as a Structured Literacy Teacher specializing in Dyslexia, a specialized certificate in Infant/Family Studies and Child Trauma, and, most recently, became a Certified Level 1 PEAK facilitator. She is currently pursuing a post-baccalaureate certificate in Special Education and holds an ADE Special Education Teaching Intern certificate. Kristina has completed the coursework and supervision hours required toward becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), but continues to receive supervision by a BCBA specializing in Precision Teaching. She expects to sit for the BACB exam in Feb 2019.
Kristina most recently attended the intensive Morningside Academy Summer School Institute in Seattle to study Precision Teaching and Mathetics (from which Direct Instruction is derived). She is also trained in Lindamood-Bell programs including LiPS, Seeing Stars, and Visualizing & Verbalizing programs, Wilson Reading System and Wilson Just Words programs, Handwriting without Tears, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (training), Person-Centered Planning, Relational Frame Theory, Handwriting without Tears, Cogmed, TTRS, Social Thinking(TM), and Collaborative Problem Solving.
Kristina selects, trains, and supervises all staff in the implementation of research-based programs and interventions at Breakthrough Academy.