ASHA BHAKTA, Ph.D., BCBA-D is a leading behavioral specialist in the Southern California area. For over 18 years, she has devoted her career to providing caring and compassionate support to families with children diagnosed with autistic spectrum/pervasive developmental disorders. Dr. Bhakta specializes in applied behavioral analysis (ABA), which focuses on the factors and principles that promote learning and emphasizes the importance of using these principles in a person’s own environment to bring about meaningful positive changes in behavior. Before founding Creative Solutions for Hope (CSH) in Costa Mesa, Dr. Bhakta was a therapist and case supervisor from 1997 until 2005.
As founder and managing director of Creative Solutions for Hope, Dr. Bhakta seeks to create an environment where each child has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential without fear of criticism or denigration. Her ultimate aim is to ensure that every program developed and supervised by the center’s staff is as unique as the individual child, and is focused on establishing trust and building self-esteem. By emphasizing a proactive approach to learning, Dr. Bhakta employs behavior management strategies to affect positive change and to help children successfully participate in the spontaneous peer interactions that can lead to a healthy, happy life.
After receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine, Bhakta completed a Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis from the University of Nevada before earning Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA) certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), a nonprofit group dedicated to providing and maintaining credentialing for behavior analysts. In 2014, Dr. Bhakta received her Ph. D. in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles campus. Dr. Bhakta is also an active board member for the nonprofit organization Educational Foundation for Independence, which provides scholarships in the form of tuition assistance for students to attend a number of K-12 private schools and college support programs for alternative learners.
CORYNN ZIZI, M.A., began her career working with children with developmental disorders and their families in 2004 working as a Behavioral Therapist. Corynn transitioned to Creative Solutions for Hope in January of 2007 and was promoted to a supervisory position from June of 2007 to November 2013. In 2014, Corynn transitioned to Business Liaison for Creative Solutions For Hope to help grow the business.
Corynn attended Concordia University in Irvine for her undergraduate work and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Subsequently, she completed graduated studies at Pepperdine University where she was awarded a Master’s Degree in Education with emphasis in Psychology.
Corynn’s interest in the field of special needs developed as a result of her exposure to children with disabilities as a volunteer for the Special Olympics of Orange County. Here she was able to combine her interest in sports and children into an experience that had a positive impact on the lives of those who live with special challenges. Working with children with autism has become a passion of hers and she continues to strive to help children lead productive lives.
ILIAN ALVAREZ, Ed.D, is a psychologist passionate about instilling hope and helping individuals accept themselves wholly. One of her deep strengths is working with individuals, mostly children and young adults who have been through a traumatic experience. As a certified Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavior Therapist and an affiliate with the National Child Stress Traumatic Stress Network, Dr. Alvarez is skilled in helping individuals better cope through their trauma. She is zealous about people living authentically and learning to be compassionate with themselves.
Dr. Alvarez’s passion and eagerness to work with children began over 15 years ago shortly after graduating from the University of California, Riverside with her Bachelor’s degree. She began working as a behavior therapist within the Lovass Institute and quickly found her strength in working with children with development disorders. Throughout her time at Lovass and several other agencies, she learned and became skillful in Applied Behavior Analysis. Her dedication to working with and fighting for each child and family became evident throughout the 10 plus years she worked with children with developmental disorders.
Her desire to continue gaining skill and knowledge led Dr. Alvarez to further her education. She received her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology. She also received her Doctorate of Education in Counseling Psychology form the American School of Profession Psychology.
For the last six years she has been dedicated to working with children and young adults within the mental health field. Working within a county contracted agency, Dr. Alvarez has gained ample experience working with individuals who experience trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety, ADHD and various other disorders.
Michelle Hinkle-Johnston is the Accounting Manager for Creative Solutions for Hope. Michelle attended University of Phoenix where she earned her BS in Business Administration. Michelle has worked in the accounting field for over 20 years. Prior to Creative Solutions for Hope, Michelle worked for companies who manufactured ventilators in Costa Mesa and aftermarket automotive accessories company in Fullerton.
Michelle also worked at H&R Block during the tax season from 2010-2015 and is a California Notary Public. Michelle also volunteered her time and money as an Every Monday Matters ambassador for the Laguna Hills H&R Block Office in 2014. Michelle brings to the table her accounting knowledge, budgeting, work ethic, organization and analytical skills. Michelle is excited to be part of a compassionate and supportive group with a mission to provide opportunities to everyone in the community.
William Chong, M.Ed. William Chong’s passion for helping children has invigorated his 12 years of practicing applied behavior analysis. His extensive training in the field, including verbal behavior and pivotal response training, enables him to provide the best possible outcome for his charges. His love of sports has led him to emphasize physical activities, such as movement and play, in his natural environment training program, giving children a fun and engaging way to work on modifying their challenging behaviors and improve their verbal skills. William has set up programs to help children and their parents both at home and in school.
William has been devoted to helping children overcome behavioral problems and physical disabilities since before 1999, when he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine. Soon after graduating, he decided to focus on behavior therapy, believing that coaching can help almost any child can get along better in daily life. In 2006, William joined Cornerstone Therapies, a center that specializes in aiding children with serious developmental issues. There, he worked as a behavior therapist and physical therapist assistant, aiding children with disabilities such as Autism, Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. Since then, he has continued to help children of many ages and disability levels.
Now, more than 12 years after beginning his professional education, William’s desire to help disabled children reach their full potential has not waned. He completed his post baccalaureate studies and earned his Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Cincinnati. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) candidate, William continues to work towards providing a better opportunity for children and their families.