About Us

New Thinking, New Approach, Improved Growth and Development.

A Behavioral Approach has an all-inclusive approach using ABA to help children and families. We work with families to develop a plan that works for everyone. During this process we provide parent training and modeling so that parents, siblings and all those in the home can have a consistent approach to behavior and will provide and support an environment of understanding and growth.

Our parent training model includes an initial consultation from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or a Behavior Specialist. During this time we will discuss the needs of your family and how we can support your child. We will review or plan assessments and meet with other providers to ensure the he/she receive a comprehensive program. After the intake we will design a program specific to the needs of your child. We will provide you with the guidance and training needed to create maximum learning opportunities.

Our Philosophy

Together we collaboratively approach our community and beyond with our core beliefs, application of sound ethics, and the execution of professional practices. With this approach we offer research based Applied Behavioral strategies and practice with integrity to all school, institutions, families, and children.

Get To Know Us

Monica St.Amand-Santos

Dr. Monica Santos founded A Behavioral Approach (formerly ABLE) in 2017 to help children with autism acquire the skills needed to live an independent life.  Dr. Santos worked as an ABA therapist and certified special education teacher for over 10 years prior to acquiring her BCBA in 2012. 

She has since completed coursework and attained her 092, special education administrator certification, and her Ph.D. in Psychology, in the area of social psychology.  She partnered with Mandy Grass in 2020.  Between the two of them, they have over 20 years of experience in public education in the field of special education.  Combined, they have over 10 years experience working as behavior analyst in both the classroom and in consultative roles.  Both Dr. Santos and Ms. Grass along with their highly qualified team have the skills and experienced needed to help your child navigate the road ahead be it educationally, life skills or behaviorally. 

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Taylor Brinker

Director of Center Services

Taylor Brinker has a B.A. in Child Study, from the University of Saint Joseph. She will be graduating, in May 2021, with her Masters Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. 

Taylor started her career as an intern for the company and has been with us ever since. She is the Director of Center Services, for both of our locations in Old Saybrook and Watertown, Connecticut.  Taylor is also a behavior specialist and works with clients, from all age ranges, implementing ABA programming and social skills groups. Taylor looks forward to continuing her career, with A Behavioral Approach. ” My favorite part about my job is seeing the continued growth and success that each client has, through our programming and intervention. I love working with each family,on their individual needs. A Behavioral Approach invests in all facets of a client’s development- social skills, behavior intervention, functional skills and emotional regulation, which provides effective programming and success for each client. I love being a part of this, every step of the way”. 


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Mona Desjardins

Home Services Coordinator – Behavior Specialist

I have worked with children in one capacity or another for almost thirty years, and special education for the last seventeen. In 1999 I found a passion for special learners and began to focus my energy and education in the field.

 I was first introduced to the world of Applied Behavior Analysis in 2000 and knew that I had found my place. As I slowly realized how vital an education was in reaching my goals I went back to school and submerged myself in a position in an Early Intensive Behavior Intervention Program at a Connecticut RESC. After working in different districts along the CT shoreline in inclusionary classrooms, reverse inclusion classrooms, and special education preschool programs I couldn’t get enough and fast tracked my education and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology-Child Study in 2012.

My current career objectives are to utilize my experiences while executing my skills in maximizing a safe, developmental, age appropriate and educational environment that will provide children on the Autism spectrum with the support they and their family need to be successful. My goal with each client is to work on developing and integrating a curriculum that focuses on each child’s unique strengths and instills a therapeutic approach that focuses on multiple experiences and perpetuates positive outcomes. I have been a Registered Behavior Technician with the BABC since 2015 and continue to strive towards completing my Master’s Degree in Autism Intervention in conjunction with BCBA certification.


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Mandy Grass

Behavior Analyst – MA, BCBA, LBA (CT)

Mandy received her bachelors from St. Lawrence University, her master’s in special education from Fairfield University and her sixth year in autism from Southern Connecticut State University.

Mandy has been in special education for 10 years first as a paraeducator, then as a special education teacher and now as Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2015. Ms. Grass has worked in a variety of settings including an outplacement school, public schools, and homes. She has consulted as a behavior analyst with several districts. Mandy has been with A Behavior Approach as a BCBA since November 2019 at which time worked as a supervisor for in-home and center-based services. She currently works on implementing behavioral, cognitive-behavioral and social cognitive strategies to treat children and young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and/or other behavioral and developmental disabilities.

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Brieana Watson

M.S., BCBA, LBA (CT)

After getting my Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Rhode Island I knew I wanted to pursue a career working with children with special needs.

Afterwards I participated in several internships and worked in programs with children with Autism. Through these experiences I discovered how inspired and passionate I am about this field. Completing the Master of Science in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis program at the University of Saint Joseph solidified my career path to work with children with Autism. I joined A Behavioral Approach because I wanted to learn more about the implementation of Behavioral Analysis and I was intrigued to work with such a diverse population. I recently passed my exam and became a BCBA. I love that I have acquired new skills, but am still challenged every day. I enjoy working for A Behavioral Approach because I feel we all come together with determination and enthusiasm to help others. I look forward to all the wonderful opportunities that lie ahead!

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Caryn Mello-Kennedy

M.A., BCBA, LBA (CT)

Caryn has over 21 years of experience working with children with autism. She has her Bachelors from Vassar College, her Masters in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College,

Columbia University, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Caryn has worked throughout the eastern half of the United States and Scotland, where she lived for three years.

A Connecticut resident for over 12 years now, she has extensive experience with school districts, DDS, and home services. A mom of two great boys, she is thrilled to be a part of the A Behavioral Approach’s family.

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Caitlin Doherty

Behavior Specialist

Caitlin has been working in the ABA field for over 5 years. She is a graduate of Mt. Saint Vincent in NY. She holds a degree in sociology and early childhood education.

She is also a special education teacher in a specialized behavioral program as well as a case manager for in home clients. She is PMT and RBT trained. Caitlin enjoys working with children of all ages and backgrounds.

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Brenda Padelli

Behavior Specialist

I began my career in 2002, as a direct care staff in an elementary school classroom for students with Autism. I was impressed with how students were able to learn

both academic and life skills by the teaching methods of applied behavior analysis. I wanted to do more for these children. Taking several courses in ABA and then eventually receiving my RBT (Registered Behavior Technician through the BACB). I am also CPI and PMT certified. I am still employed in a public school as a special-ed paraprofessional. I have several clients after school giving support to them and their families for a positive outcome. I have conducted Social Skills group. My days are full, but the inspiration I feel when I see the goals being met by my students and clients makes my heart even fuller! Knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of my students and clients! I am proud to be surrounded by a great team of professionals at A Behavioral Approach that have the same goals as me! Making a difference in the lives of our clients and their families. In my spare time I am a DIY kind of person always taking on projects in my home. I have 2 grown boys with busy lives themselves so when we can we love to spend quality time together.

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Janice Litwinas

Behavior Specialist

Miss Janice received her B.S. in Human Services from Springfield College 2008 She is a behavior specialist, for A Behavioral Approach! Janice works in the home and community setting for children

that are diagnosed with autism and she gives the families support that they need. She also works for the Coventry Public Schools. She works closely with the Special Education teachers to implement cognitive – behaviors and social cognitive strategies to help children that are diagnosed with autism and other behavioral needs. Janice has a tremendous background experience with working with children that are diagnosed with autism.

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Amanda King

Behavior Specialist

Amanda has worked with children for ten years in multiple capacities including school systems, park and recreation centers, summer camps, special education programs and ABA facilities.

She has my Masters in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Capella University and I am working towards my RBT certification. I am also PMT trained and absolutely love what I do and the populations I work with! When Amanda first started on this journey, she was employed in the Old Saybrook school system while nannying and working as a youth counselor at Old Saybrook Park and Rec. She has recently joined A Behavioral Approach in October 2019, prior to that she was employed at another ABA agency while working in the Guilford school district. Applied Behavioral Analysis has always been a passion of Amanda’s and she is excited to continue her journey!

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Anele Barbieri

LEAD Center Staff

Anele started her ABA Career 5 years ago through the public school system.  During her time in the public school system, she has practiced ABA principles in her everyday practices.

Anele is in the process of obtaining her RBT credentials.  Anele’s favorite part of her job is seeing the growth and success that each client gains through ABA programming. 

Anele is honored to be a part of the “A Behavioral Approach” family.



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Holly Hanecak

LEAD Center Staff

Holly Hanecak joined A Behavioral Approach July of 2020. Holly has 11 years of experience working with children. Holly is a behavior interventionist, at our Watertown center and is working towards her RBT certification. ” I love being a part of the little accomplishments every day”. 

Megan Kelley

LEAD Center Staff

Megan has been working in the ABA field for 13 years as paraprofessional in the public schools, a staff trainer  and Case Manager. She has worked with a variety of clients from 3 to 21 years of age.  Megan has a passion for working with children and helping people.

She  loves using creativity when working with children and teaching  mindfulness as a yoga instructor. Megan has a bachelor’s in Psychology from Clark Summit University and she lives in Southeastern Connecticut with her sweet son and husband.  

Megan has recently joined the team and she believes that by working here she will make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and families.
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Paula Belliveau

Office Administrator

Paula has worked in an administrative position for over 20 years. She has been with A Behavioral Approach for over three years. She oversees insurance billing

and claims as well as verifies clients’ insurance coverages. She also processes client authorizations and maintains client files. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading and cross stitching

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