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Meet the Team

Dana Heimann, Lead BCBA

Lead Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
Dana Heimann, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

Dana has worked with individuals with special needs for over 12 years!  Her 11 years of experience in Early Intervention as a Developmental Therapist led to her interest in developing her career in the field of ABA.

Dana began at The Autism Clinic at Hope in 2019 as an RBT.  She became a BCBA in 2021 and now serves clients through Therapy Relief at Hope.  She loves utilizing the principles of ABA to help individuals of all ages overcome challenges and acquire new skills so that they can fully participate in their day-to-day lives!

In her free time, Dana loves to exercise, share meals with her family and friends, travel and most of all, create memories with her husband of 13 years and their 9-year-old daughter.

Kathlees Nicholson-Schal, Lead Occupational Therapist

Lead Occupational Therapist 
Kathleen Nicholson-Schahl, MOT, OTR/L

Kathleen graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology then attended Maryville University where she graduated with a Master in Occupational Therapy (MOT). While in school, Kathleen worked with Hope as a Registered Behavior Technician. She has attended in-depth continuing education courses in the areas of feeding (sensory, behavioral, oral motor, medical), sensory processing and modulation, emotional regulation, primitive reflexes, strengths-based services, executive functioning, and more. Kathleen has a passion for helping families adapt to the needs of the learner and collaborating with other professionals. When she is not working, Kathleen enjoys spending time with her family including her dog Luna and cat Callie.

SLP, Melissa Fitzgerald

Lead Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)
Melissa Fitzgerald, MS, CCC/SLP

Melissa Fitzgerald has been a speech-language pathologist at Therapy Relief at Hope since 2020.  She has 15 years of experience helping individuals of all ages to improve communication and swallowing. Melissa received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and graduated with her Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2008.  She began her career helping individuals find ways to communicate through various forms of augmentative and alternative communication.  She then spent about ten years as a home health SLP assisting patients as they recovered from strokes or other brain injury or disease. 

During her time at TRH, she has worked virtually for the Hope Learning Academy in Springfield helping many of the students find an effective form of communication.  She is passionate that everyone deserves a voice and educates daily on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).  Melissa is the lead SLP at TRH available to the speech pathology team to problem solve clinical dilemnas.