The Patterns Team

One of the most rewarding aspects of our field is finding the right staffing fit for our clients. At Patterns, our staff has been strategically developed with our clients in mind. We firmly believe that our team can inspire and support behavior change through evidence-based teaching methods. In addition to their expertise, the members of our Patterns team are personable, engaging, and interested in doing all that they can to meet the needs of our clients.

The Patterns team at the Autism Awareness Night - Angels Stadium

The Patterns team at the Autism Awareness Night - Angels Stadium


Ihab Shahawi - M.A., MBA


President & CEO

Ihab our new President, has been a student and practitioner in the field of ASD since 1983, he has a BA & MA in Psychology and an MBA from UCLA. Having studied and worked with the likes of Dr. Ivar Lovaas and Dr. Gary LaVigna, luminaries and pioneers in the ABA field. In 1996 he founded The SAILS Group, an organization specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents with Autism and other intellectual and developmental disorders who are behaviorally challenging. He enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.


Vivian ELShahawi


Financial Director

Vivian received her BS in Biology from the University of Virginia and since has worked at helping those in need, first as a candy striper hospital volunteer while in college and then as a counselor to addicted street children in her hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia. Since 2002 has been the operations director of The SAILS Group, an organization focused on services to children and adults on the Autism Spectrum. We welcome her now to Patterns as our Financial Director. Vivian enjoys time traveling, spending time with her husband, children, and 2 grandchildren.

Clinical leadership

AMBER RAEMER - M.S., BCBA - Orange County, California


Clinical Director

Amber our Clinical Director, has brought a level and expertise that we are very excited to utilize. She trained both Katie and Robbie Fattal (Patterns Founders) for 6 years while they were special education teachers. With more than 22 years in the field, Amber has used her BCBA in various ways such as consulting in Hawaii, Alaska, Las Vegas, and Tennessee, as well as local districts including PYLUSD, Garden Grove, Long Beach, Newport-Mesa, San Luis Obispo, and Oceanside. She worked closely with Clark County school district for 15 years, supporting and working with families and the school district to develop quality ABA programming. Amber has two kids (10 year-old girl, and 8 year-old boy) and spends her time attending her children’s sporting events.


Vicki Sasahara - M.A., BCBA

Vicki Sasahara.JPG

Lead Clinical Manager

Vicki has been with Patterns since 2013 and has served as a Case Supervisor and now Lead Clinical Manager. She graduated from UCSD with a BS and MA in Psychology and is also a BCBA. Vicki has been in the field for 13 years and is passionate about working with families so they can together reach their fullest potential.


Katie Flaherty - M.S., BCBA


Clinical Manager

Katie has been with Patterns since 2013, starting as a Parent Consultant and then Case Supervisor while obtaining field work hours for her BCBA. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with her B.S. in Liberal Studies and teaching credential and M.S. in special education. Katie has worked in the field serving children and adults with disabilities for 17 years through various roles including Recreation Leader, Special Olympics coach, Instructional Assistant, and is currently a Special Education Teacher and ABA Case Supervisor.  Katie is passionate about advocating on behalf of individuals with disabilities and enjoys working to find positive solutions to help them succeed to their individual potential. In her spare time Katie enjoys hiking, cooking and traveling with her husband.


Brooke Tawanna - M.S., BCBA


Clinical Manager

In 2005, Brooke received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine where she studied psychology and education. She began working as a behavior interventionist in 2006 and quickly realized her passion for the field and for the children she was able to help. In 2010 she completed her Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud State University and then completed the requirements to become a BCBA in 2012. In her free time, Ms. Tawanna enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters.


Erin Mitchell - M.S.W., BCBA

Clinical Manager

Erin earned her BA and MSW on Long Island, New York, where she first began working in the field.  She is passionate about helping individuals and families with special needs.  Relocating to the west coast, Erin has expanded her skills and knowledge and received her BCBA.  Her experience includes working directly with clients, training staff, supervising, consulting in school districts, presenting at International Conferences and conducting research.


Ariana OBrien - M.A.


Clinical Manager

Ariana has been working in the field for over 15 years and now calls Patterns home by working as a Clinical Manager. She graduated from CSULB with her BA in Child Development and Family Studies and USC with her Masters in teaching. She has three daughters (ages 1-5) and loves spending time outdoors with her family.


Brian Cooper - M.Ed.

Brian Cooper.JPG

Clinical Manager

Brian is a Clinical Manager at Patterns and has been in the field of ABA for 5 years. He graduated from UCI with his BS, later received his Masters of Education from ASU, and is currently pursuing his BCBA. Brian spent 1 year in a neurobiology clinic, 3 years in an animal behavior lab, and has been with Patterns for 2 years. He thrives off of supporting others (both clients and staff) to succeed by reaching their goals.


Juliana Luna - M.S.


Clinical Manager

Juliana has been in the field serving children with autism and other special needs for over 17 years and joined the Patterns team as a Clinical Manager. She has a Masters degree in ABA from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. Juliana has participated in published research studies, consulted to families and other professionals all over the US as well as South America, and coordinated, directed, and lead a variety of social skills groups. She enjoys being in the outdoors, participating in half-marathons, traveling whenever she gets the chance and being with family and friends.


Courtney Muehlebach


Program Manager

Courtney earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development from California State University, Fullerton, in 2008 and has spent the time since working in the behavioral health field and non-profit sector and volunteering with organizations that support individuals with special needs. Her 5 years’ experience as a behavior therapist has given her a unique perspective for a Program Manager that guides the support she provides each day to the staff and families at Patterns. In her spare time, Ms. Muehlebach enjoys spending time with her family and friends and running and bike riding at the beach.


Ariana Lopez


Lead Scheduler

Ariana Lopez has been employed with Patterns since 2015. She was initially hired on as a part time Direct Interventionist and part time Administrative Assistant. She received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology from Cal State Dominguez Hills in May of 2015. In her spare time, Ms. Lopez enjoys spending time with her family, dancing, bowling, and watching the Anaheim Ducks win. Ariana is also Fluent in Spanish.


Lesly Michel



Lesly Michel was hired on with Patterns in May 2016 as a Receptionist and has since transferred to the amazing Scheduling Department. Ms. Michel has a 4-year-old daughter, and together they love going to the library, parks, and simply walking their dog.


Vanessa Villasenor

Office Manager


Vanessa Villasenor joined the Patterns team in June 2016. She has 10+ years of experience in administration and medical billing while previously working at Kaiser Permanente and Hoag Hospital. In her free time, Ms. Villasenor enjoys spending time with her family, catching up on her reading, and attending Angel and Dodger games. She looks forwards to putting all her experience to valuable use here at Patterns.


Keith Berglund

Human Resources Director


Mr. Berglund received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University and has worked in the Social Services field for nearly 20 years. He started his career as a Direct Care Professional and has held many leadership positions within the industry since. His expertise has been integral in the development of Human Resource departments from their inception through successful implementation and operation from start-up organizations to Fortune 500 companies. In his spare time, Mr. Berglund enjoys traveling, playing competitive sports, coaching high school football, and spending time with his wife and two rescued dogs.


Krystal Simmonds-Smith

Human Resources Generalist

Krystal is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Business Administration online with Strayer University and has worked in the Social Services field providing Direct Care for individuals with Developmental and Intellectual disabilities as well as performing administrative duties for just over 8 years. She joined the HR team in 2016 and has been assisting Patterns with recruiting and hiring new personnel which is an instrumental part of providing the services needed for our clients. In her spare time she enjoys reading, watching movies and playing video games.