West Des Moines Staff

The Axis team is comprised of State Certified and Nationally Accredited therapists. Our highly compassionate and trained staff are ready to join your child's advocate team! 

 

BCBAs

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Kristin Hanson,
MA, BCBA, LBA -
Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Licensed Behavior Analyst, Clinical Director

Kristin is the Founder, Owner, and Clinical Director of Axis. Kristin is also the head of the Ethics Committee at Axis. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst credentialed through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and a Licensed Behavior Analyst under the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Grand View University, and her Master’s degree in Child and Adolescent Psychology with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Kristin has spent most of her career focusing on the early detection and intervention of autism spectrum disorder and specializing in early intervention. She is an active member of the Iowa Association for Behavior Analysis and participant with the Autism Society of Iowa and Autism Speaks Iowa. Kristin founded Axis on her passion for serving children and families living with autism and special needs. Kristin lives in Maxwell with her husband and three children. In her free time, she enjoys playing softball, volleyball, kickboxing, attending movies and concerts, traveling, and cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes, Auburn Tigers, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves. 

Kelsey Taylor,
MS, BCBA, LBA - Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Licensed Behavior Analyst,
Clinic Supervisor

Kelsey is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst credentialed through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and a Licensed Behavior Analyst under the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science. Kelsey is the Site Supervisor of our West Des Moines location, and is a part of Axis' Ethics Committee. Kelsey holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Drake University. Kelsey knew that she wanted to pursue a helping field that would allow her to directly interact with youth. She has always been passionate about helping children build and develop their talents and skills through implementing programs that allow them to discover their potential in a safe, respectable, and encouraging environment. She enjoys being part of an amazing learning process, celebrating little things every day, and seeing so many smiles. Kelsey lives in Ankeny with her fiancé and their two dogs, Professor and Bodhi. During her free time, Kelsey enjoys taking the family on hikes, traveling, biking, sitting around a campfire, and playing piano.

Kiley Johnson, MA, BCBA, LBA - Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Licensed Behavior Analyst

Kiley is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst credentialed through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and a Licensed Behavior Analyst under the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science. Kiley received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology through the University of South Dakota, and her Master’s Degree in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis through Arizona State University. Kiley has always had a passion for helping children, and being a positive role model in their lives. Kiley lives in Ankeny with her husband, daughter, her dogs (Stella and Beau), and her cat (Pearl). In her free time, she enjoys going to movies, taking her dogs on walks and to the dog park, and spending time with her family and friends. 

 

Occupational Therapists

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Whitney Peters,
OTD, OTR/L 
Occupational Therapist

Whitney is an Occupational Therapist certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and licensed in the state of Iowa. Whitney graduated with her Doctoral Degree in Occupational Therapy from Drake University. She has always had a strong passion for helping others and has decided to specialize in Pediatric Occupational Therapy. She graduated from Truman State University with her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Minor in Disability Studies. Whitney has always been interested in working with children with disabilities, especially after growing up with an older brother and younger sister who are both on the Autism Spectrum. Whitney also gained a passion for working with individuals with disabilities through volunteer coaching for the Arc of Story County. Whitney has Certifications in SOS Feeding Therapy and MNRI Reflex Integration. Whitney lives in Maxwell with her husband, two dogs named Mackey (Go Purdue) and Rizzo (Go Cubs), and a cat named Cali. She loves to play slow pitch softball, playing with animals, going hiking, country music, and baseball season. Whitney hopes that she can help the children and families we serve get the most out of every single day and that she can advocate for and support our clients to reach their goals and become as independent as possible.

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Kelsie Tucker,
MS, OTR/L 

Occupational Therapist

Kelsie is an Occupational Therapist certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and licensed in the state of Iowa. Kelsie graduated from Allen College with her Masters Degree in Science of Occupational Therapy. She graduated from Grand View University with a Fine Arts degree, majoring in psychology. She has always has had a passion for helping others, especially children. Kelsie has been working with kids since she was 16 years old including working at daycares and before and after school programs and grew to love working with children with disabilities. Kelsie enjoys spending time with her family, especially her nieces. She also has a Great Dane puppy named Gemma and two cats named Margo and Milo. She also enjoys all things true crime and country music. Kelsie is excited to work with the children and families we serve in order to support them in successful achievement of goals to become as independent as possible in all aspects of life. 

 

Speech Therapists

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Kelsey Phillips,
MA, CCC-SLP –
Speech Language Pathologist

Kelsey is a speech language pathologist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and licensed by the state of Iowa. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and her Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Northern Iowa. Kelsey has always had a desire to help make a difference in the lives of children and families. After job shadowing a speech language pathologist, she knew she had found her career path. She loves watching her clients learn and grow in their communication abilities. Kelsey lives in Clive with her husband, Mitch, and their dog, Marlee. She enjoys spending time outside, exploring new restaurants, traveling, cooking, and reading. 

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Amanda Beehler
Graduate Student Clinician 
Speech Intern

Amanda received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at BIOLA University in La Mirada, California. Currently, she is completing her final year of her Master of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology at NOVA Southeastern University. Amanda has always enjoyed working with children and after meeting a child with special needs, she knew she wanted to have a career helping special needs children and their families. She joins our team as a graduate student clinician. Amanda has worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist under a waiver and as a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant (SLPA) providing therapy in private clinics and in school settings. She also has worked as a Behavioral Interventionist providing in-home behavioral therapy to children with Autism. She has worked with toddlers to elementary age children, adolescents, and adults. Amanda is fluent in both English and Spanish and enjoys finding opportunities to speak Spanish. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and family, watching TV series, exploring the outdoors, and participating in her church.

 

Behavior Technicians

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MJ Holmes 
Registered Behavior Technician

MJ is a Registered Behavior Technician credentialed through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.  She received her Bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Missouri and her Master's degree in special education from Central Missouri State University.  She is currently working on her Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis through Arizona State University. MJ taught special education for 10 years in Des Moines and most recently in Waukee.  She loves celebrating with children as they grow and learn new skills.  She is excited to be part of the Axis team and continue her own educational journey.  MJ is an instructor at a local gym and enjoys helping students reach their physical and health goals.  In her free time, she enjoys being outside, kayaking, biking, and singing.  Her favorite is spending quality time with her husband and two daughters.

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Lauryn Pritchard
Registered Behavior Technician

Lauryn is a Registered Behavior Technician credentialed through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Clarke University and plans to go to graduate school for Occupational Therapy in the future. Lauryn loves that she gets to spend her day interacting with and helping children grow and develop their skills. Before working at Axis, Lauryn was a lifeguard and swim instructor for three years and has experience engaging with children and teaching them new skills. In her free time, Lauryn likes to run and hike as well as hangout out with friends and family. 

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Jordan Lillard 
Registered Behavior Technician 

Jordan is a Registered Behavior Technician credentialed through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. She received her Bachelor of Science in Genetics from Iowa State University and has always had a passion to help others each and every day. She is currently working towards her Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis through Eastern Kentucky University and plans to apply the knowledge she gains to her work as a behavior technician. Jordan loves working with children and looks forward to spending time with them and celebrating their successes. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and hanging out with her puppy, Nellie.

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Ryan Peterson
Registered Behavior Technician

Ryan is a Registered Behavior Technician credentialed through the the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology. She has always had a passion for helping people learn and grow in their everyday lives. When she is not working, Ryan can be found reading, hanging out with her dog, Rocket, and spending time with friends and family. Ryan is excited to begin her journey with Axis and eager to help make a positive impact in the lives of others.

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Kori Knox 
Behavior Technician

Kori is a recent graduate from Waukee High School and has transitioned into the Behavior Technician role after completing her internship at Axis through a Site-to-Work program. Kori plans on studying psychology in college and pursuing a career where she can specialize in working with people. Kori enjoys babysitting and interacting with kids in her freetime along with playing volleyball and spending time with friends and family. 

Gabrielle Riley  
Behavior Technician

Gabby is currently working toward becoming a Registered Behavior Technician through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. She previously attended Grand View University and plans on continuing her college education. Gabby is originally from Dubuque, Iowa, and recently moved to Des Moines. She has worked with children and adolescents since 2017 and ever since has continued to enjoy it. She loves working hands-on with clients daily and reaching milestones with them and being a part of it. In her spare time, Gabby enjoys working on projects, traveling, and going to concerts. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and family, especially her nephew and her dog Roscoe. 

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Brooke Khairzada 
Behavior Technician

Brooke is currently working towards becoming a Registered Behavior Technician through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. She is also working towards her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Iowa State and will graduate May 2022. After she graduates she would like to pursue a Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling.  She also has an Associate degree in Biology and Chemistry. Brooke is originally from Salem, New Jersey and moved to Iowa to further her education at Iowa State. In her free time she enjoys baking, traveling, and enjoying the company of friends and family. Brooke is excited to join the Axis team!

Lauren Lauterwasser  
Behavior Technician

Lauren is currently working toward becoming a Registered Behavior Technician through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. She is a recent graduate from Mount Mercy University. She was born and raised in Cedar Rapids and relocated to the Des Moines area to expand her career opportunities and found Axis along the way. She first began working with children through volunteering at her church, and decided to add a minor in child and adolescent studies after her experience helping youth with mental health issues and other traumatic adversities. When not at work, Lauren can be found taking walks with her awesome dog Lily or cooking up new recipes with her boyfriend or friends! 

Client Relations Specialist

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Kayla Holland
Client Relations Specialist

Kayla is currently a senior at Iowa State University double majoring in linguistics and English Education with an endorsement Teaching English a Second Language (TESL). She previously attended Indian Hills Community College where she received an A.A. degree and also participated in women's soccer. After Kayla graduates from Iowa State she plans to become an ESL teacher for elementary/middle schoolers. Kayla has experience tutoring children and adults from various countries in English. In her free time, she enjoys being with her boyfriend and going hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and going to the beach. She also loves to travel and spend time with their cat Theo. Kayla is excited to be apart of team Axis!