Jessica ZawackiM.Ed., BSL, BCBAChief Clinical Officer

Jessica received her bachelors of science in Psychology with a Minor in Latin and Human Behavioral Studies from Ursinus College in 2008. She began working with individuals with autism in 2006 where she was an ABA/VB therapist working with a teenager within his family home delivering discrete trial instruction. She then went on to intern in 2007 in a preschool classroom with individuals with varying developmental disabilities and behavior disorders. She joined the PAAL Program in 2008 as a direct care staff member. She then pursued further education within the field and obtained her Master’s Degree in Education through Temple University in their Curriculum, Instruction, Technology, and Education program that aligned with the BCBA course sequence. During her time at Temple she co-authored a book chapter with Dr. Matt Tincani in “Educating Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders” focusing on functional communication training and pivotal response training. Jessica also authored a chapter with Dr. Peter Gerhardt focusing on adaptive behavior and older learners in  “Social Skills and Adaptive Behavior in Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Shortly following her degree, in 2012, Jessica obtained her board certification in applied behavior analysis and was promoted within PAAL to the program’s Senior Behavior Analyst. She has maintained employment with PAAL for over 10 years where she has become a certified private special education teacher, worked as the Coordinator of Adult Services, and now holds the position of Chief Clinical Officer responsible for the clinical health of the program. Jessica is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree through Lehigh University in the Special Education Department. As of fall 2020, she is all but dissertation. Through the course of her education and time at PAAL, Jessica has presented locally, nationally, and internationally within various Conferences, at institutions of higher learning, and at various programs and schools within a consultative capacity. Her presentation experience ranges from instruction in global best practices for learners with autism such as community-based instruction, collaborative approaches among disciplines, and quality of life approaches to her own research studies on staff training using technology, increases indices of happiness and preference assessments, and unique function-based strategies to address dangerous behaviors. Jessica also participates in instruction through the VCS (verified course sequence) in educating other BCBAs. She currently collaborates with the Consorizo Humanitas and Associazione (Rome) and the ALBA association (Pescara) to deliver the necessary instruction in supervision (from the task list) for master’s level students to meet requirements toward their BCBA. Jessica is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and Philadelphia Metro Association for Behavior Analysis. 

Jessica has a special interest in improving outcomes of staff training and published an article in 2016 on the use of remote technology to provide in-vivo feedback to staff working with adults with autism. She has secondary interests in measuring variables associated with indices of happiness as well as the collaborative process and overlap between psychiatry, neurology, and applied behavior analysis.