Our Company& Leadership
As parents of a child with autism, Ruth and Dennis Pierce founded Steps to Progress LLC because they wanted their son and other children with autism to receive the best ABA therapy available in Houston.
The Pierces also wanted to be a resource to other parents who were facing the many challenges that come with autism. Finding providers for other services, working with insurance companies, managing scheduling challenges at work, therapy, and sibling commitments, sorting through conflicting advice on other treatments and therapies, and navigating through the process of school placement and academics are all difficulties that parents of autistic children share. Ruth and Dennis wanted to create a company that would help to address these challenges.
Prior to Steps to Progress, Ruth managed the business side of an in-home ABA provider for which Claudio Rodriguez supervised therapy. In 2009, when Ruth and Dennis formed Steps to Progress, Claudio Rodriguez, M.S., BCBA, agreed to be the Program Director for the company. They decided to provide both clinic-based and in-home ABA therapy for families who needed help, and the rest is history.
A Family Helping Families
Ruth and Dennis both have engineering degrees from Texas A&M University. Dennis previously worked as an Operations Manager for a major oil company while Ruth worked as an engineer for a major oil company then, after obtaining her law degree, as an attorney in the oil industry.
The Pierces’ son was originally diagnosed in 2005 and has been receiving ABA therapy ever since. He attended private preschools and kindergarten accompanied by an ABA therapist. After briefly attending a private school for children with autism, he began public school in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, where he currently attends. Their son also participates in Special Olympics and Adaptive Sports at the Langham Creek YMCA.
The Pierces are very proud of the significant progress their son has made due to his hard work and the hard work of his ABA therapists, teachers, and speech therapists. He is now a fun-loving teenager who enjoys participating in school and sports, playing with his dogs, teasing his twin brother, and planning the next movie viewing or family vacation. The Pierces want families with autistic children to know that, with the right care, they too can see progress in their child and watch them live happy, productive lives.
Claudio Rodriguez, M.S., BCBA, Program Director
Claudio Rodriguez, M.S., BCBA, has been working with children with autism for over 15 years, including children of many different ages and with varying behavioral challenges. Claudio began working with children with autism at another Houston ABA provider and later worked for a psychologist trained by Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas, a pioneer in the original research associated with ABA therapy. As Program Director at Steps to Progress LLC, Claudio received training from and collaborated with the psychologists of Autism Partnership, former graduate students of Dr. Lovaas at UCLA and authors of several well-known books on autism, including A Work in Progress and Sense and Nonsense in the Behavioral Treatment of Autism: It Has to Be Said.
Claudio’s dedication to children with autism is unparalleled. His focus, first and foremost, is on the best interest of each child who walks through our door. He works with children with autism in many different environments and with families to address the issues that are of greatest concern for their children. One of his highest priorities is in helping parents learn to ensure the safety of their children both at home and in the community.
Claudio’s focus on training therapists is to make them think about the antecedents to and functions of their client’s behavior and to not simply follow rote instructions or programs. He has high expectations of his staff in their provision of ABA therapy as well as in their professionalism.
Lanay Boulet, B.S., Clinical Supervisor
Lanay Boulet has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Child Development from Houston Baptist University and has over nine years of experience working with children with autism. She has worked with children with autism in many different environments, including clinic, home, and school settings.
In addition to training from Steps to Progress, Lanay has received training from Autism Partnership, particularly in the area of social skills groups, leading to several years of managing the Steps to Progress social skills groups. She is currently responsible for hiring and training of all new staff, as well as ensuring their completion of RBT training and certification. Lanay also continues to serve as Case Supervisor for several clients.
Lanay is currently pursuing her Master of Science degree in Psychology with the goal of becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
Ashley Yu, M.S., BCBA
Robert Marmor, M.S., BCBA
Tamar Abrilian, M.S., BCBA
Taylor Williams, M.A., BCBA
Jessica Vo, B.S.
Celia Torres has been with Steps to Progress LLC for over six years. She manages the client intake process, which includes interviewing and answering questions for all prospective clients of Steps to Progress, as well as handling all steps in the process up to intake. Celia also has expertise in medical billing and provides input and oversight for that process.
Chellsie Villegas, B.S.
Chellsie Villegas has a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision from The University of Houston.
Ashley Tipps, B.A.
Ashley Tipps has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration/Management from Texas A&M University – Kingsville.