My autistic son started ABA therapy with Engage in the fall of 2010. He had never spoken a single word. After only two months of ABA with Engage, he spoke his first word: “Cookie.” He has not slowed down. He is now using multiple-word sentences, and his frustration has decreased with his ability to communicate. His therapist is amazing. She has helped him come so far, and continues to help him learn new things. She also helps us as parents by giving us tools to use on a daily basis. I am so amazed with how far my son has come, and he would not have come this far without his therapist and Engage.
Engage Behavioral Health Leadership
Our Engage team is led by experts in the science of Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior. With more than 30 years of combined experience in the field, they understand how to work in concert with families, physicians and schools to help bring the puzzle pieces together.
As owner and president, she specializes in the assessment and treatment of children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. She is also an expert in Applied Verbal Behavior treatment for children with ASD.
Previously, Rava assisted with the establishment of the Applied Behavior Analysis program at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is also on the board of Sydney's Academy, a nonprofit school for children with autism and related disabilities.
Rava has extensive experience working with individuals diagnosed with a variety of behavioral disorders in both clinical and outpatient settings. Her problem behavior analysis experience includes working with self-injury, aggression and property destruction disorders. She also specializes in Applied Verbal Behavior programming for children with ASD.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a specialty in Applied Behavior Analysis, from the University of South Florida. She also holds a master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Florida State University.
Rava is committed to the demonstration of effective, outcome-based interventions for individuals with special needs and learning difficulties. Her goal is to create a family centered approach to therapy, where every member participates and learns.
Rava’s interest and passion for working with children with developmental disabilities began in middle school, and she started volunteering in this area when she was 12. At the age of 18 she received her first job working with adults in group homes, and at 19 attended her first training and employment working as a Behavior Therapist.
Brittany Zern, Psy.D., BCBA-D, is both a licensed Clinical Psychologist and a doctoral level Board Certified Behavioral Analyst. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of developmental and behavioral disorders among children and adolescents. She also conducts psychological assessments and evaluations, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), and provides psychotherapy to children and adolescents with a variety of concerns/diagnoses.
Dr. Zern is also an expert in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). She works with families to implement language, academic, social skill, self-help and behavioral programs for children diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Dr. Zern also assists with the supervision and training of behavior therapists.
In addition to her work experience, Dr. Zern has conducted extensive research in her field, specifically concerning the development of mood and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.
Dr. Zern earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Florida. She also holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University, and a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University.
Prior to joining Engage Behavioral Health, Dr. Zern served as a psychology resident at Family Psychology Associates in Safety Harbor, Fla.
As the clinical director, Gianna Fernandez specializes in coordinating quality, individualized ABA therapy to the clients at Engage Behavioral Health. Fernandez is responsible for the management and quality assurance of all clinical services provided by Engage’s clinical staff. She works closely with behavior analysts and therapists to ensure all staff have the continuing support and training required to provide well rounded, child-centered learning environments focused on naturalistic and functional teaching strategies.
Fernandez completed her bachelor's degree in Psychology and master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis from the University of South Florida. She joined the Engage Behavioral Health team in 2008 and has spent several years working with individuals with autism and related disabilities. She specializes in the use of direct instruction and naturalistic teaching with children in homes, schools and within various community settings.
Fernandez is committed to providing individualized services that meet the needs of each child and strives to make any environment a place for learning through interaction.
Leigh Ashley, M.A., BCBA, develops, implements and monitors verbal behavior, behavior reduction and skill acquisition programs. She also specializes in the implementation of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy utilizing Natural Environment Training strategies.
In her role as Research Director, Ashley strives to ensure that Engage Behavior Health utilizes therapy techniques based on the most recent research in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Ashley earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. She also holds a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of South Florida. Ashley has been working with children and adolescents on the autism spectrum since 2004.
Beyond her education, Ashley prides herself on striving to go above and beyond for children with developmental disabilities and their families. Her goal is to ensure the entire family is provided with the tools and support they need to successfully meet their individual goals.
Jenni completed her Masters in Behavior Analysis & Therapy from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
She has worked with children with autism and related disabilities since 2005 in family homes, schools, and clinics. She also has experience providing in-home behavioral services to families with a history of child abuse and neglect.
Her primary focus has been on functional communication and individualized training to help children and adolescents excel in their everyday lives. She looks forward to expanding her experiences with adults to include adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Jenni strives to provide services in a positive, exciting way that encourages the whole family to learn and develop together!
At Engage, our therapists are passionate about your child’s development. Engage hires board certified staff, those completing practicum hours to become board certified and those wanting to apply to certifcation programs or programs in a related field.