Breakthrough Academy 

Kristina Blackledge, MS, MFT, PBIS-C, SLT
Founder/CEO & Director
kristina@azbreakthroughacademy.org​ 

Kristina's areas of expertise include:​​​​​​


Evidence-based Practice
Special Education

Special Education Law (IDEIA)
Precision Teaching
Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Verbal Behavior

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Early Childhood Education & Child Development
Play Therapy
Parent-Child Interactive Therapy
Infant/Family Mental Health - trauma-focused

Transition Services
Parenting styles and theories

Implementation Science


Knowledge of disabilities ​​including but not limited to:

Dyslexia, Autism, Executive Functioning/ADHD, Emotional Disabilities (Mood disorders, PTSD, RAD, ODD, Personality Disorders, etc.), PANDAS/PANS, Social Communication Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Brain Injury




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). Most recently  Kristina joined the AzABA Public Policy Committee to bring awareness and action in the area of ABA in Special Education. In 2013, Kristina was appointed to the ADE Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP) and invited on the ADE Special Education Rule Committee. In the past, she also served for four years as a Board Member for the Arizona Food Allergy Alliance and on the Board of Directors for the AZ Branch of International Dyslexia Association (IDA). In addition  she 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 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, ADHD, Dyslexia, Hyperlexia, and Dyscalculia (Learning Disability in Mathematics), Tourette's Syndrome, ADHD (Executive Function Disorder), OCD associated to PANS, post-concussive syndrome, and severe food allergies. Her eldest son graduated in May 2017 and attend college to study Business and Information Technology in California. Her middle child is a talented baseball athlete with at least five tournament championship rings and a successful tournament in Cooperstown, NY (home of the Little League and Major League Baseball Hall of Fame). Her youngest child (one without any disability) chose to attend Breakthrough Academy for its innovative, alternative, small, and personalized education. What a compliment!! 

About Kristina:

Kristina holds a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, a post-graduate certificate in Positive Behavior Support (PBS) and completed the coursework required toward becoming a BCBA, a certificate as a Structured Literacy Teacher (SLT), and a specialized certificate in Infant/Family Studies and Child Trauma. She is currently pursuing a post-baccalaureate certificate in Special Education and holds an ADE Special Education Teaching Intern certificate. She receives supervision by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and expects to sit for the exam in Feb 2019.


Kristina is trained in Precision Teaching, Lindamood-Bell LiPS, Seeing Stars, and Visualizing & Verbalizing programs, Wilson WRS and Just Words programs, Spell-Links 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 trains and supervises all staff in the implementation of research-based programs and interventions as well as the precision teaching and evidence-based practice at Breakthrough Academy.

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