Changing Perspectives, Changing Lives

It is the anticipated outcome of SYC that each individual be provided with the necessary supports and opportunities to participate in living experiences which empowers them to achieve their highest potential in the least restrictive environment.

Behavior Support ServicesWhole Person AssessmentsCrisis Support ServicesBehavior Intervention TrainingsSTART Teams
Behavior Support Services
Positive behavioral methods, plans and training for residential agencies

Our clinical team will provide an effective person-centered framework to safely manage & prevent difficult behavior. This service is intended to reduce, eliminate and/or prevent the occurrence of severe behaviors posing a health and safety risk. Behavior Support Services (BSS) provides direct care service providers with the training and intervention strategies necessary to manage and modify difficult behaviors, while teaching functionally related replacement skills. It is also intended that the outcomes of this service will allow for individuals to be served in the least restrictive environments and under least restrictive conditions.

  • Meet Title 17 Requirement
  • Admission Screening
  • Observation and Data Collection
  • Report Writing: Initial 30/60/90 Day, Quarterly Reports, Annual Report
  • Report Writing: Behavioral Functional Analysis and Individual Service Plan including Proactive/Reactive Interventions and strategies for identified behaviors including Life Skills
  • In-Service (BFA/ISP implementation training)
  • Attend Regional Center Meetings
  • Available Phone Support
  • CCL Trainings for Administrator
  • Additional staff training and education
  • Connecting to Local Resources

The focus of these efforts must be integrated with the following life supports:

  • Individuals should be offered opportunities to develop functional skills to live and enjoy their lives.
  • Individuals should be empowered to exercise choice and to control their own lives.
  • Each individual’s services should be delivered in accordance with a single, comprehensive Behavior Functional Analysis and Individual Service Plan that is developed, monitored and coordinated by the individual’s support team.
  • Each individual’s capacity for learning, growing and changing should be continually recognized by his/her entire circle of supports.

SYC provides expertise in the following areas:

  • Assessment and intervention in home, supported living and adult services settings.
  • Training of Direct Support Professionals and staff regarding techniques that would work for the individual.
  • Knowledge of and referral to generic resources in the community.
  • Specialization in working with Direct Support Professionals and families to provide needed assistance for immediate problems.

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BSS Staff

Ryan Landis

Behavior Specialist

With a comprehensive background serving different communities, Ryan demonstrates exceptional positivity, inclusivity, and enthusiasm. His ability to focus on consumer strengths and humanize characteristics regardless of how challenging the situation presents renders a meaningful impact to any team. At SYC, Ryan serves the developmentally disabled community as a behavior consultant. He is dedicated to providing service that reflects compassion, integrity, and honesty.


Melanie Burke

Melanie Burke

Behavior Specialist

Melanie is a behaviorist with over 20 years of experience working with the developmentally disabled community. She serves the community with great passion focusing on problem solving, helping others, and training. In her experience, Melanie has learned to see the positive aspects of challenging situations. Her constant growth and enthusiasm have paved her path as a successful behaviorist. At Stephanie Young Consultants, she enjoys collaborating with a team that is inspiring, purposeful, and determined to be a part of a greater change in the lives of those who deserve it most.


Sue Raymond

Sue Raymond

Behavior Specialist

Sue has extensive experience serving developmentally disabled individuals. With 35 years of experience as a behavior specialist, Sue has demonstrated her commitment to acting with kindness, empathy, and integrity. At Stephanie Young Consultants, Sue continues to grow and work with an interdisciplinary team that is experienced as passionate as she is. Her knowledge continues to provide support to SYC and the population they serve.


Angelica Avila

Angelica Avila

Behavior Specialist

Angelica Avila is a passionate and dedicated behavior specialist. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biopsychology from UC Santa Barbara in 2019, where her love for understanding the intricate connection between biology and behavior first began. With an empathetic and patient approach, Angelica excels in assessing and analyzing behaviors, bringing a unique perspective to her practice. She believes in tailoring interventions specifically to the individual's needs, ensuring the highest likelihood of success. Having worked with a diverse range of individuals and families, Angelica has gained invaluable experience in designing behavior intervention plans, implementing strategies, and providing ongoing support. Angelica is thrilled to be part of the SYC team, working hand in hand with individuals and families to foster positive behavioral changes and improve overall quality of life.

SYC is the epitome of professionalism and knowledge in the are of which it specializes. The Resident's Palace has used SYC services since starting of operations in 2008. Each of the team members has exhibited care, concern, and kindness toward me and my clients and staff always, during this relationship. SYC is awesome!!!!
- Phyllis Bolton (Resident’s Palace ARF)

I love working with SYC. They are very attentive to our clients’ needs and I know that our residents are receiving the best behavioral support possible with them. Their reports are always on time and are leaps and bounds better than other behaviorists that I’ve used in the past. SYC’s professionalism and attentiveness make my job as a business owner so much easier, I highly recommend them.
– Elise Jenkins (Mt.Helix/Valle Linda ARF)

Whole Person Assessments
Comprehensive report with recommendations for successful placement

The Whole Person Assessment (WPA) is a comprehensive report with the purpose of providing the transitional team the appropriate recommendations to support the individual with a successful transition from their current placement to the community. Each assessment takes into consideration the individual’s needs including medical, psychiatric, and behavioral in addition to their wants and desires. All of these factors are carefully reviewed by the WPA team in order to identify the appropriate recommendations to ensure the best quality of life for the individual.

The WPA Report will assist the regional center service coordinator, new placement administration and direct support professionals (DSP) with a concise idea of who they are supporting, how best to assist them in making a successful transition, and strategies for providing a stable, long term placement. The aim is to make the transition as easy as possible for all parties involved. In order for the individual to be successful in his/her community, the Whole Person Assessment will recommend strategies, services and accommodations, required by the individual.

Recommendations categories are:

  • Outcome
  • Transitional Strategies
  • Home
  • Direct Support Professionals
  • Medical
  • Psychiatric
  • Behavioral
  • Vocational/Educational
  • General Support Strategies
  • Therapeutic Services
WPA Consultants
Cristina Wilgenhof-Estrada

Cristina Wilgenhof-Estrada, LMFT

Cristina earned her master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in 2011. She has worked in the mental health field for over 10 years and has spent most of her career supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in various capacities. Her experience includes individual psychotherapy, behavioral assessments and therapy, and placement assessments including integral involvement in the Whole Person Assessment department at Stephanie Young Consultants. Cristina is committed to a strengths-based, person-centered approach, and she is passionate about advocating for all of her clients to receive the best supports possible to promote their successful involvement in the community as well as full, meaningful, and healthy lives.


Shannon Branson

Shannon Branson

WPA Interviewer/Writer

Shannon Branson has over 16 years of experience. She specialized in transitioning clients from the developmental centers and managing their services in a community setting. She is also a mother of two wonderful autistic children which gives her a unique perspective.


Chris Shilling

Chris Shilling

WPA Writer

Chris Shilling has spent over a decade supporting people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. He has worked with Stephanie Young Consultants completing Whole Person Assessments for over 5 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University.


Ben Cote

Ben Cote

LCSW, WPA Writer

Ben is a licensed clinical social worker who has more than twenty years of experience working with people with developmental disabilities. He has extensive experience working in special education with all grade levels, as well as non-profit social service organizations. In addition to writing Whole Person Assessments for Stephanie Young Consultants Ben is a practicing psychotherapist with a specialty in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The WPA gives not only a comprehensive report of our loved one, but will also facilitate consistency and cohesion when providing treatment on various levels (e.g. medical care, behavioral intervention, vocational skills). By having this assessment done we can rest easy and be confident knowing that we can reference our loved one’s needs at any time and share their experience in totality.
– Yvonne and Al Beck (Parents and Conservators)

The Whole Person Assessment process conducted by Stephanie Young and her team has become an integral part of the community placement process and as aided in ensuring that client’s needs are met in their new environments.
- Patricia A. Rambo (Forensic Specialist, San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center)

Crisis Support Services
24/7 prevention and emergency response interventions

As the frontline emergency responder, Crisis Support Services' (CSS) primary goal is to provide on-going prevention services through crisis prevention and emergency response intervention, behavioral support, training, and critical situation support 24 hours/7 days a week, 365 days a year. CSS team members are equipped to respond to critical situations and provide on-going support utilizing evidence-based practices over the duration of the crisis to stabilize the individual in the immediate and long-term placement. Team members are specifically trained to help assess and assist during situations when police or hospitalization involvement is deemed necessary.

Crisis Support Services currently supports Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center, South Central Los Angeles Regional Center, San Andreas Regional Center and Tri-Counties Regional Center.

Our services include:
  • On-Going Prevention Support
  • Emergency Response Intervention
  • Behavioral Support Education
  • Person-Center Planning
  • Support System Training
  • Assist with Police and Hospitalization
  • Assist with Transitions
  • Stabilize and Maintain Placement
  • Connect with Generic Services
  • Troubled Family Support
  • Wellness Check
  • Court Order Issues and Concerns
  • Grief Support
CSS Team:
Matthew Kells

Matthew Kells

Team Leader: San Andreas Regional Center

Matthew Kells is a dedicated and compassionate leader with a wealth of experience serving vulnerable populations. With a degree in Sociology from San Jose State University he specializes in civil rights, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Matthew has been committed to creating an inclusive and equitable society his whole life. Throughout his career Matthew has focused on making an impact on the lives of those in need. Matthew comes with extensive experience working with unhoused populations and crisis support. Matthew is always tirelessly advocating for people who don’t have a voice.


Jessica Kellog

Jessica Kellogg

Team Leader: Tri Counties Regional Center

Jessica joined the SYC CSS team in 2021, bringing with her a passion for supporting individuals within the community. Jessica has a strong background working in advocacy and emphasizing the importance of community resources in enhancing ongoing support and education for those navigating the unique challenges of living with Developmental Disability and coping with mental health issues. In her local community, Jessica served as president of the Board for the Mental Health Association. She worked closely with her community to raise funds for the continuation of program development and badly needed services. With a background in clinical case management and counseling, specializing in substance use disorders, Jessica brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as the Team Leader of San Luis Obispo CSS. She shares her dedication to empowering individuals to achieve their highest potential. Jessica is committed to creating a positive and empowering team environment within a company whose mission is to provide quality care under scientifically based practices.


AJ Ramos

AJ Ramos

Team Leader: Tri-Counties Regional Center

Since 2013, AJ has worked on the frontline of mental health; serving in psychiatric facilities, community settings, and short-term residential therapeutic programs. AJ has held multiple roles ranging from: mental health worker, unit clerk, home-health aide, enhanced respite worker, behavioral interventionist, youth development specialist, direct care worker, and assistant manager. Holding multiple roles has given AJ a 360-view of how we can better serve our underserved populations. AJ has proven himself to be a dependable leader and an advocate for mental health, at-risk youth, and the developmentally disabled. AJ is excited to lead the Ventura County Crisis Support Services team, continue helping others, and put his compassion into action.


Taryn Eaton

Taryn Eaton

Team Leader: Lanterman Regional Center

Taryn graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor's of Art Degree in psychology. Taryn went on to get her Master's of Science Degree in psychology from Oakland University. During undergraduate and graduate school, Taryn worked as a 1:1 aide in schools, as a registered behavior technician in a psychiatric facility, and as direct support staff in residential homes, eventually working her way up to program manager. With over a decade of experience, Taryn has dedicated herself to being an effective advocate for the developmentally disabled in the community.


Sharon Lam

Sharon Lam

Clinical Manager: Lanterman Regional Center

Sharon has served individuals with developmental disabilities for the past 7.5 years. She has experience working in the hospital, clinic and in-home settings within the medical and mental health field and has had 6 years of clinical and managerial experience in the field of ABA. Her true passion is serving others and seeing the growth in the individuals she works with, as well as providing clinical mentorship in the field of mental and behavioral health. Outside of work, you can see Sharon spending her time traveling, exploring coffee shops and breweries, and spending time at home baking and cooking.


Stephanie Olvera

Stephanie Olvera

Team Leader: South-Central Los Angeles Regional Center

Stephanie Olvera has supported the developmentally disabled population for over 8 years. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Social Behavior. Stephanie then continued her graduate education with a Master's program designed for Marriage and Family Therapy clinicians. Since then, Stephanie has conducted extensive work with ABA services, residential facilities, and school-based services for dual diagnosis consumers. Mental health and advocacy for individuals has been a long-stemmed passion that has motivated Stephanie to continue providing professional support for everyone that she serves.

What Parents Are Saying...

Since CSS has been working with my son his aggression at home has lessened. CSS has been very consistent with visits with my son. CSS has helped my son’s behaviors at home. CSS taught my son ways to be calm and be patient when he gets frustrated. My daughter’s crisis counselor is very patient with her. We know she has frequent mood swings. CSS always spends additional time with her as needed. Extra support when I am at my limits.

Thank you for being so patient with my autistic, selective mute son. He works well with you and I feel relieved that he gets to work with you.

Behavior Intervention Trainings

Community Care Licensed (CCL) approved Behavior Intervention Trainings are designed to provide best practices and safe behavior management methods to parents, residential staff and regional center professionals. By empowering professionals with education and training, we can create safe and respectful environments that enrich the lives of the individuals we serve.

  • CCL approved trainings for residential administrators
  • Increase awareness of prevention techniques to minimize conflict
  • Improve employee retention by giving staff the skills to resolve crisis situations
  • Enhance care and support for staff and the people we serve
  • Increase productivity with better tools and skills for staff
  • Minimize the risk of potential liability
  • Raise staff skills at using verbal and nonverbal de-escalation techniques
Trending Topics
Dealing With Difficult People

Many of the people we deal with are attempting to express their confusion, misery, helplessness or anxiety. In many instances, this can come across as anger. Anger that is directed at you! This training addresses the different types of personalities, understanding our responses, and how to deal with difficult people.

Anger Management

This training will include identifying and managing anger as an emotion. We will go into detail concerning what is anger, the purpose, feelings associated with anger, empowerment, anger vs. aggression and resolution. We will review successful strategies to be proactive, reactive and systemic.

Conflict Resolution

This training identifies different types and causes of conflict, positive and negative consequences, and ways to resolve conflicts. This course is designed to train parents and staff in basic intervention and prevention techniques. We will review successful strategies to be proactive, reactive and systemic to move from conflict to problem resolution.

Crisis Intervention Prevention

Providing practical information on how to define a crisis, assess for imminent danger, interact with someone in crisis, de-escalate a crisis situation and prevent new ones. This course is designed to train parents and staff basic crisis intervention and prevention techniques.

After The Trauma

This training will discuss what can be expected after the trauma, common changes in children and how to seek help. Identifying different steps you can do to help a child after a trauma including: making children feel safe, allowing children to talk about their worries and feelings, getting back to routines, increasing time spent with family and friends, taking time to deal with your feelings about the situation at hand, and remembering that people in the same way can react to traumatic events in different ways.

“The speaker is an effective group facilitator, as she is sensitive to the audiences' own experiences and expertise. She is effective in making people feel good about what they do, which seems to help her audiences receive new information more readily, She is encouraging and motivating.” – Viki Luke, WRC Training Coordinator

Trainings Available
  • 5150 Police Training
  • Addictions
  • After the Traum: Helping Children Cope
  • Anger Management
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Behavior Change for Weight Loss
  • Bi-Polar Disorder
  • Borderline, Boundaries and Beyond
  • Bullying Part 1: Sticks and Stones
  • Bullying Part 2: Don’t Be Intimidated
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Coping with Grief and Loss
  • Crisis Intervention Prevention
  • Crisis Management
  • Crisis Support for DD Individuals
  • Dealing with Difficult People
  • Defining Professional Boundaries
  • Ditching Depression
  • Identifying a Predator
  • Let’s Make a Plan
  • Non-Verbal Communication
  • Persistent and Repetitive Behavior
  • Person Centered Planning
  • Schizophrenia Training
  • Self-Care Training
  • Sex Ed-Beyond the Birds and the Bees
  • Strategies for Socialization
  • Successful Changes in Routine
  • Suicide Prevention Training
  • Supporting Individuals with Mental Health Diagnoses
  • The 411 on Behavior Plans
  • The Art of Setting Limits
  • The Role of a Behaviorist Specialist
  • The Rules-Ready, Set, Go
  • Understanding Autism
  • Understanding the function of Behavior
  • Understanding Behaviors Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury
START TEAMS
START (Systemic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources and Treatment)

This comprehensive model of service supports optimizes independence, treatment, and community living for individuals with IDD and behavioral health needs. It promotes person-centered approaches and training for individuals, families and caregivers by applying core principles of positive psychology, utilization of therapeutic tools, provision of multi-modal clinical assessments, promoting enjoyable therapeutic recreational experiences and optimal utilization of existing resources through: Linkages with partners, engagement of service user, family, and other circles of support involvement; promotion of improved expertise across systems of care and the utilization of services designed to fill gaps.

Services are based upon a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment. The START model conceptualizes presenting problems within the context of the environment in which the person lives, works and interacts with those around them. The goal of the START program is to build capacity through relationships across service systems in order to help people remain on their homes and communities and enhance the ability of the community to best support them. START teams base their work and approaches on recognized best practices that together form the START models Guiding Principles.

SYC provides START Team in the Los Angeles County area.

START Graphic
  • SYC Is The Epitome Of Professionalism And Knowledge In The Area of Which It Specializes. ...
    "SYC is the epitome of professionalism and knowledge in the are of which it specializes. The Resident's Palace has used SYC services since starting of operations in 2008. Each of the team members has exhibited care, concern, and kindness toward me and my clients and staff always, during this relationship. SYC is awesome!"
    Phyllis Bolton, Resident’s Palace ARF
  • I love working with SYC. They are very attentive to our clients’ needs......
    "I love working with SYC. They are very attentive to our clients’ needs and I know that our residents are receiving the best behavioral support possible with them. Their reports are always on time and are leaps and bounds better than other behaviorists that I’ve used in the past. SYC’s professionalism and attentiveness make my job as a business owner so much easier, I highly recommend them."
    Elise Jenkins, Mt.Helix/Valle Linda ARF