Academy Staff

Academy Staff

JUSTIN LEAF, PH.D., BCBA-D

Director of Training and Co-Director of Research

Dr. Justin Leaf is the Director of Training and Co-Director of Research for the Autism Partnership Foundation. Justin received his master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Science and his doctorate degree in Behavioral Psychology in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas. Justin worked directly under the mentorship of Dr. James Sherman and Dr. Jan Sheldon.

Justin has over ten years of clinical and research experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. His research interests include looking at ways to improve social skills for children and adolescents with ASD, developing friendships, comparing different teaching methodologies, and evaluating long term outcomes for children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD. Justin has taught graduate level courses in applied behavior analysis and research methodologies. Additionally, Justin has published many articles in peer reviewed journals, published several book chapters, has presented at state, national, and international conferences, and has consulted on research projects nationally and internationally.

You can reach Justin Leaf at jbleaf@apfmail.org


JOE CIHON, PH.D., BCBA-D

Co-Director of Research

Joe Cihon is the Co-Director of Research for the Autism Partnership Foundation. Joe received his bachelor’s degree in special education from Fontbonne University, master’s degree in behavior analysis at the University of North Texas under the mentorship of Dr. Shahla Alai-Rosales, Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, and Dr. Manish Vaidya, and his doctoral degree at Endicott College under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Jane Weiss. Joe has over fifteen years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities in home, school, and community settings. His research interests include evaluating approach based interventions, shaping, increasing favorable interactions among children, their families, and interventionists, developing contingencies to promote generalization and maintenance, and improving mealtimes for selective eaters. Joe has published and served as a reviewer for several prominent journals and presented research at national and international conferences.

You can reach Joe Cihon at jcihon@apfmail.org


Kristel Eddington

Academy Supervisor

Kristel is from Long Beach, California. She attended Azusa Pacific University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Special Education. She also is pursuing her master’s degree in Special Education from California State University of Long Beach.
Kristel taught fifth and sixth graders at an independent school for two years. She particularly enjoyed one-on-one time working with children with special needs. Thereafter, she joined Autism Partnership, where she received her training and worked for seven years. In 2018, Kristel joined APF as Treatment Coordinator and Fellowship Training Coordinator. Kristel supervises five of the Academy’s children, to whom she is specifically assigned. She also supervises the Academy staff and fellows.
Kristel loves training, working with new people, and watching them learn. She also adores the children and is inspired every day by their progress. “No day is the same. Working and learning at APF and its Academy is both challenging and rewarding.” In addition to her work at APF, Kristel consults with a school district in Fairbanks, Alaska. She enjoys the work and finds it interesting to see the progressive ABA therapy methodology implemented in school settings, especially with low-income families. Kristel’s goal is to continue training individuals, so they can go out into the field and change the way ABA therapy is being applied to optimize children’s progress and abilities.

Christine Milne, PH.D., BCBA-D

Academy Director

Christine received her bachelor’s degree in cognitive sciences at the University of California, Irvine, her master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from St. Cloud State University, and her doctorate in applied behavior analysis at Endicott College under the mentorship of Dr. Justin Leaf. Christine has over 11 years of experience working with individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), leading social skills groups, training staff, consulting for school districts, and supervising client cases. Her research interests include social skills interventions for individuals diagnosed with ASD, research on behaviorally based social skills groups, and staff training. Christine has published several articles in peer reviewed journals, served as a reviewer for peer reviewed journals, and has presented at national and international conferences.

You can reach Christine Milne at cmilne@apfmail.org

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