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Meet The Staff

Meet Our Team

Asha Persaud, MS ~ Executive Director  

Asha Persaud earned dual bachelor degrees from The Pennsylvania State University in Psychology and Spanish and completed coursework in Behavior Analysis. She went on to earn her Masters of Science in School Psychology from Duquesne University. With over 15 years of research experience, Ms. Persaud has trained extensively in diagnostic assessments and behavioral interventions. Ms.Persaud was the Research Coordinator for the Center for Excellence in Autism Research at the University of Pittsburgh. She was responsible for administrating the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and coordinating a research project on language processing in individuals with autism. Ms. Persaud has several years of experience as a TSS, BSC, and Regional Director of a wraparound agency, specializing in autism spectrum disorders. As an educational consultant for several school districts, Ms. Persaud has given presentations and trained teachers and paraprofessionals on inclusion strategies in the regular education classroom and assisted in the development of behavior plans. Ms. Persaud was the Director of Autism Services for The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, where she offered consultation and training services to families and staff.

Ms. Persaud has been involved in the Autism Speaks “Walk Now for Autism” for several years and has served as 
Co-Chair for the School Teams. She is the President of The Hope for Autism Foundation, a non-profit company founded to benefit families and individuals affected by autism spectrum disorders.

Administrative Department

Meaghan Nescot ~ Center Director

Meaghan Nescot joined The Hope Learning Center in 2009 and works closely with the administrative, therapeutic and educational staff in overseeing the day to day operations of the center. Meaghan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services with a minor in Psychology from Geneva College. Meaghan has several years of experience working one on one as a Therapeutic Staff Support for children with Autism, Asperger’s,Down Syndrome, ADHD, and behavioral issues prior to her start at Hope. She has also volunteered her time working in different settings with children such as after school programs, summer camps, alternative housing for children, and schools.

Audrey Mackie ~ Personnel Supervisor

Audrey Mackie joined The Hope Learning Center in 2011 working in an administrative capacity.  Audrey earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech and Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Audrey has an extensive background in media and public relations in addition to event planing.  Audrey works closely with the executive director and administrative team managing day to day operations and staff relations.  In addition to her administrative duties Audrey assists in planning and executing the annual Talent Show and Night with Santa events at Hope to benefit The Hope for Autism Foundation.  

Audrey enjoys volunteering for the different community outreach programs that The Hope Learning Center participates in, such as Walk Now for Autism Speaks and The Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania.  

Therapeutic Services

Speech Therapy Department

Haley Jarrett, MS, CCC-SLP ~ Therapy Supervisor

EducationMaster of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University.

Focus of Practice: Speech and Language Pathology

Experience:  Haley Jarrett joined The Hope Learning Center in 2012. provides services in the Verbal Behavior program as well as the clinic. Haley works with clients who utilize Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) including iPad applications such as Proloquo2Go and speech generating devices from Tobii DynaVox and the Prentke Romich Company. Haley is trained and has experience with the Language Acquisitions through Motor Planning (LAMP), which is a therapeutic approach based on motor learning. She is trained in the theory supporting the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and the protocols for how to appropriately implement the phases of PECS. Haley is interested in improving communication outcomes and enhancing the quality of life for individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorders and other complex communication needs. As supervisor of therapy services, Haley is responsible for the oversight of therapeutic staff, collaboration between services, and the ongoing development of quality and integrity of therapy sessions.

Stacie Schneider, MA, CCC-SLP ~ Supervising Speech and Language Pathologist

Education:  Master of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Pittsburgh and Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University.

Focus of Practice: Speech and Language Pathology

Experience:  Stacie Schneider joined The Hope Learning Center in 2009.  Stacie has several years of experience working with the pediatric population in various outpatient rehabilitation centers.  She has worked with children from birth to age 21 with a variety of speech and medical diagnoses including: Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, expressive and receptive language, articulation, fluency, cleft palate, pragmatics, and genetic disorders.  

Stacie is recognized as an Adjunct Clinical Instructor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at Duquesne University for her dedication and time supervising students working towards their maters's degree in Speech-Language Pathology.  Stacie also supervises master's degree students from The University of Pittsburgh.

Kylie Racioppo, MS, CCC-SLP ~ Speech and Language Pathologist

Education:  Master of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology and Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Focus of Practice: Speech and Language Pathology

Experience:  Kylie Racioppo joined The Hope Learning Center in 2011.  During graduate school, Kylie gained experience working with several different populations in various settings such as a school for children with special needs, specialized clinics and a hospital. She has also worked one on one at inclusive summer camps that enable children with autism to be integrated among their typical peers. Kylie is skilled in working with children with autism and early childhood language disorders.

Chelsea McGinn, MA, CCC-SLP ~ Speech and Language Pathologist

Education:  Masters of Arts in Speech Language Pathology and Bachelors of Arts in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania 

Focus of Practice: Speech and Language Pathology

Experience: Chelsea Hackworth joined The Hope Learning Center since 2013.  During graduate school, Chelsea gained experience working with children who had a variety of medical and developmental disabilities at both The Governor George Leader Speech and Hearing Clinic and Seneca Valley School District. 

Chelsea recently completed her Clinical Fellowship and is excited to continue her work within the field of speech-language pathology and working with children on the Autism Spectrum and those with language, articulation, and fluency needs.  Chelsea provides treatment at the Wexford location and through schools contracted with The Hope Learning Center.

Jocelyn Shuber, MA, CCC-SLP ~ Speech and Language Pathologist

Education:  Master of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh and Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University.

Focus of Practice: Speech and Language Pathology

Experience:  Jocelyn Shuber completed an internship with The Hope Learning Center and came on staff in 2014. Jocelyn had the privilege of providing both individual and group speech therapy to children in a variety of settings, including pediatric outpatient clinics and a local middle school.  

Jocelyn currently serves as a mobile therapist, treating clients in Pittsburgh and its surrounding communities.  She has experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum and those with articulation, language, and fluency disorders.

Occupational Therapy Department

Shannon Hurley, MS, OTR/L ~ Occupational Therapist

Education:  Master's degree in Occupational Therapy and Undergraduate degree in health sciences from Gannon University.

Focus of Practice: Occupational Therapy 

Experience: Shannon Hurley joined The Hope Learning Center in 2014.  She completed her thesis work in the Quality of Life in Adolescents with High Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome using Creative Arts Activities. She has worked with the pediatric population in a variety of settings such as Early Intervention services, outpatient services, and school-related OT services. 

Physical Therapy Department

Casey Burlett, PT, DPT ~ Physical Therapist

Education:  Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Chatham University and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Slippery Rock University.

Focus of Practice: Physical Therapy 

Experience: Casey Burlett joined  The Hope Learning Center in 2015. Casey has had a passion for working with children in various settings ever since graduation. She has gained experience treating children ages 0-21 years old by providing outpatient services, school-related services, and early intervention services. She has experience treating children with a variety of medical diagnoses including: Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, and Global Developmental Delay. Casey is interested in play-based therapy in order to help all children maximize their independence at home and throughout their communities. She enjoys helping make a difference in families lives by providing individualized services to assist children in reaching their full physical potential.

Educational Department

Jennifer Simpkins 


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Katherine Hagan 


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Laine Collins, MS

Education: Master's of Science and Bachelor's degree in Education from The University of Tennessee

Focus of Practice:  Education

Experience: Laine Collins joined The Hope Learning Center in the fall of 2015.  Laine is currently enrolled in classes in order to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Prior to working at The Hope Learning Center, Laine worked with over 120 middle school students in Knoxville, Tennessee. Laine earned both her Bachelor's degree and her Master's of Science in Education from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 

Kristie Laughlin 

EducationBachelor's Degree in Family and Consumer Science from Ball State University 

Focus of Practice: Child Development

Experience:  Kristie Laughlin joined The Hope Learning Center in 2016.  Kristie will be starting her graduate program in January to receive Master's Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with an Emphasis in Autism from Ball State University.  Kristie has experience working with children of all ages and skill sets on the autism spectrum through her internship at The LOGAN Center in South Bend, Indiana, she was also a 1:1 Behavior Technician at The Behavior Analysis Center for Autism in Elkhart, Indiana as an Instructor of Step-Up classroom at Applied Behavioral Services in West Chester, Ohio.  Kristie has completed her training for the Registered Behavior Technician credential and will be sitting for the exam in January 2017.  

Jane Kennedy, M Ed., Special Education

Education Masters in Special Education from Robert Morris University and Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education from Grove City College

Focus of Practice: Special Education 

Experience:  Jane Kennedy joined The Hope Learning Center in 2016.  Jane has five years of education experience in preschool and early education as well as working one on one with children with special needs.

AnneMarie Irlbacher 

Education Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania 

Focus of Practice: Speech and Hearing Sciences 

Experience: AnneMarie Irlbacher joined The Hope Learning Center in 2016.  AnneMarie has gained a plethora of experience in working with children with communication and special needs over the years through her work at DynaVox Mayer Johnson, LifeSteps preschool, and The Children's Institute.  Throughout her years she has been a Speech Language Pathology Assistant, Developmental Screener and Support Team Lead.  

Jeanine Boerio, M.S. Ed. 

Education Master of Science in Education from Franciscan University and Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Bonaventure University 

Focus of Practice: English and Virtual Education 

Experience:  Jeanine Boerio joined The Hope Learning Center in 2016.  Jeanine has gained experience thru out the years as a pre-k teacher, aid, private nanny and continuing to teach 4th graders CCD at her church.  


Desirae Moody, M Ed. 


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