About VtABA

The Vermont Association for Behavior Analysis (VtABA) is an affiliate chapter of the Association for Behavior Analysis International. VtABA aims to support professionals, families and the community by promoting an ethical, effective, individualized and research based application of behavior analytic principals. We support the growth and effectiveness of behavior analysts, other professionals and families within the state of Vermont by offering current and meaningful continuing education opportunities that are relevant to behavior analysis. VtABA hosts an annual meeting in the fall for its members to keep them up to date on the chapter's activities over the year. Board Member nominations take place after the annual meeting and elections are held online in late January.

VtABA organizes and provides an annual conference to professionals and the community by bringing nationally recognized leaders in the fields of applied behavior analysis and education to speak on topics ranging from current research to implementation of behavior analytic principles in an applied setting.

VtABA firmly believes that current research is the cornerstone of effective behavior analytic principles and thus supports and promotes behavior analytic research within the state of Vermont. Our goal is to advocate for the implementation of effective behavior analysis services across disciplines to meet the individualized needs of persons within the state of Vermont.

  • Utilize the VtABA website and social media to increase communication between members and provide resources that will benefit behavior analysts and the greater community.
  • Offer continuing education credits for BCBA’s and BCaBA’s by providing local trainings on topics relating to the field of applied behavior analysis.
  • Organize networking events for behavior analysis professionals.
  • Advocate for and ensure that certification through the Behavior Analysis Certification Board is the standard for professional behavior analysis practice in Vermont.
  • Support and advocate for an accurate representation of behavior analysis outside the field of applied behavior analysis within professional presentations, materials and media.
  • Contribute to the common goal of supporting the betterment of others through effective practice by engaging in and adhering to a respectful and effective collaborative working relationship with other professionals.

Board Members

The Team Behind the Vermont Association for Behavior Analysis

Emma Smith, MA, BCBA

Acting Chair

Emma Smith is a Vermont native who has been working in the field of ABA for over 9 years. After completing her masters at Teachers College, Columbia University, she became board certified in 2013. Following two years in CA acting as a Behavior Analyst and Clinical Director, Emma returned to VT. She currently works as a behavior analyst at SD Associates. In her role as a BA she develops and oversees ABA programs for clients, trains new staff, provides supervision to people perusing their BCBA/BCaBA, and works closely with families. Emma has worked with students from 18 months to 23 years of age and of all levels.

Terra L. Reed, MA, BCBA

Chair Elect

Terra Reed currently works in the Autism Spectrum Program at Howard Center as an Autism Specialist. In this role she provides consultation and program oversight to families and school teams within Chittenden County. Terra has over 10 years’ experience working with people with Autism. Terra enjoys working with a variety of students implementing individualized interventions to help them reach their goals. Terra became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in the fall of 2015.

Merlin Poutre, M.S., BCBA

Chair Emeritus

Merlin is currently in his second year serving on the VtABA Board.

Lianne Lussier, M.Ed., BCBA


After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education in 2009, Lianne Lussier worked as a general educator for three years before joining the Counseling Service of Addison County in Middlebury, VT as a Programming Specialist in the Intensive School Supports Program. She recently became board certified in February 2017, but has worked with students needing additional services in the public school system for over five years. In her current role, she develops behavior plans for students of all ages, as well as provides oversight to staff and collaborates with other team members to work toward student goals.

Michelle Tahair, MA, BCBA


Michelle Tahair currently works in the Autism Spectrum Program at Howard Center as an Autism Specialist. In this role she provides program oversight to families and school teams within Chittenden County. Michelle has over 5 years’ experience working with people with Autism. She became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in May of 2016. Michelle enjoys working with a variety of students and collaborating with their families and school teams to support them in reaching their goals.

Alyse Heffelfinger, M.Ed., BCBA

Board Member

Alyse moved to VT from Texas when she was 12. While finishing up her undergraduate degree at UVM she began doing some PCA work for an individual with autism. This job, over time and with a twist of fate, became a career and launched her into the field of ABA. She has been working for SD associates since 2010 and has held several job titles within the company beginning with BI and ending with BCBA. In her free time she loves to do anything and everything that involves being outside, sunshine, and warm weather.

Jessica Wilson, BCBA

Board Member

Jess started working in the ABA field in 2012 as a behavioral instructor for an intensive needs program. Her experience consists of working in public schools, private programs, and in home settings primarily with individuals on the Autism Spectrum. She became a Board Certified assistant Behavior Analyst in May of 2015. She is currently a Behavior Analyst at an independent school in Windsor, Vermont called Foundations Upper Valley. She works collaboratively on a school team and with families and enjoys providing consultation to increase the independence and quality of life of her clients.
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