top of page

ABLS Staff


Photography: Gerry Evelyn

Mariela Vargas-Irwin 
Executive Director


Licensed Psychologist

Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral

Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst

Dr. Vargas obtained her doctoral degree from Rutgers University, completed her internship at Boston Children’s Hospital, and pursued post-doctoral training at the Baker Children’s Center. She has over thirty years of experience working with children with autism and other developmental disorders with behavioral challenges. Dr. Vargas has worked as a home-based behavioral therapist, overseen home-based programs, designed training protocols for ABA therapists and supervisors, and consulted with families and schools. She was the second president of the Massachusetts Association for Behavior Analysis and has presented in numerous national and international Autism and ABA conferences. A licensed Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, she is the founder and executive director of Applied Behavioral Learning Services (ABLS). Her interests include inclusion, social skills, and executive behavior.

Lila Salas

Assistant Director


Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst 

Lila has been practicing in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis since 2007, after she graduated with her BA in Child & Family Psychology from Biola University in southern California. Lila then moved to Boston, MA to obtain her MS in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Simmons University, graduating in 2010. Lila has worked at ABLS since 2015, as a Lead Behavior Therapist, until becoming Assistant Director in 2022.  Before ABLS, Lila worked as a Behavior Specialist for publics schools in the greater Boston area, training teachers and administrators in early intervention preschools, elementary schools and high school settings.  Lila’s interests include verbal behavior, social skills and culturally-responsive ABA. 

Kim Cornell

Coordinator of Operations

Kim is responsible for on boarding new staff, payroll, and the coordination of insurance billing and copayments, as well as other varied operations.

Colleen Perez

Insurance Coordinator

Colleen is responsible for coordinating insurance requirements for families, attendance, and various other activities at the center.

Behavior Analysts
Behavior Analysts

Connor Gaffney


Connor Gaffney obtained his master's and undergraduate degrees from Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts in 2018 and earned his BCBA in 2021. Connor has nearly a decade of behavior analytic experience in several areas, including vocational instruction services, animal behaviorism, in-home behavior therapy, treatment plan development, and social skills groups. Connor's professional interests include early intervention of autism, animal training, and vocational/social skills training for young adults.


Cassandra Whitman


Cassandra has worked with children in a variety of settings since 2011. She completed her Master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders at Elms College and then stepped up to a supervisory position as a Behavior Analyst at ABLS in the Western Massachusetts region. Her interests include intensive early intervention and verbal behavior. In her free time, Cassandra enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with family and pets.


Yuki Maeda


Yuki received her Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Tufts University and then proceeded to complete post-graduate coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of Massachusetts. She joined Applied Behavioral Learning Services in 2009 as a Behavior Therapist and was then promoted to Lead Behavior Therapist, Behavior Analyst, and Senior Clinical Care Coordinator. Her interests include the application of Applied Behavior Analysis to academic instruction. In her free time, Yuki enjoys spending time with her family and riding her horse.

Behavior Technicians
Rowena Walsh
Stephanie Reamer
Annmarie Carey
Sophia Oliver
Marc Joseph
Asaf Gray-Mandell
Carol Civetti
Michael Spring
Barbara Delgado
Maria Krafcik
Ian Downie
Lucas MacNeill
Lindsay Anderson
Mackenzie Murphy
Mariam Ameri
bottom of page