Our Staff

Naomi SwiezyNaomi Swiezy, PhD, HSPP
DIRECTOR

Dr. Swiezy founded and started directing HANDS in Autism® in 2004Her areas of research and career interest include Applied Behavior Analysis, staff and caregiver training, and the behavioral assessment and treatment of autism spectrum and related disorders as well as global systems change and implementation effortsAs the Director of HANDS in Autism®, she provides consultation in clinic as well as in the community through home intervention and school contracts and collaborations.


Tiffany NealTiffany Neal, PhD
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Dr. Neal joined the HANDS team in 2011Her areas of research and career interest include school-based trainings related to functional behavioral assessments (FBAs), behavioral interventions, observational methods, data collection, ASDs, and RtIDr. Neal’s training efforts as the Assistant Director at HANDS in Autism® have focused on training across disciplines, diagnostic considerations, and how to develop collaborative partnerships within school systems and between schools and families.


Lori Henley
OFFICE MANAGER

Lori joined the HANDS team in 2021, after serving as a graduate coordinator at Florida State University, where she earned her MA in Arts Administration.  She started her career 20 years ago as a teacher in the Ohio public school system. Lori takes interest in supporting administrators and professional staff by facilitating logistics in conducting services, sharing resources, and assisting the daily flow and productivity.  Lori is excited to assist the HANDS team as the Office Manager in working to provide services to a full range of consumers in the field of autism and related disorders. 


Tara Lugo

CARE COORDINATOR

Tara joined the HANDS team in 2022 after completing her MSW from IUPUI. Her MSW concentration focuses on community and organizational leadership and she has gained expertise on community development, creating connections, program development, and program management. In her spare time, Tara loves to hike at her local state parks, read, and play with her cat, Dempsey. Tara is excited to share her experiences and passion for social work with the HANDS team as the Care Coordinator.


Diana Posadas

COORDINATED CARE TECHNICIAN

Diana joined the HANDS team in 2022. She is a recent graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, earning her bachelor’s in science degree in Psychology. Upon graduation Diana worked as a Registered Behavior Technician where she learned how to apply Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with her clients. Her passion towards ABA and those diagnosed with Autism has grown since and continues to grow in her role with HANDS as a Coordinated Care Technician.


Christina Rogers, BSW, MSW, LSW

TRANSITION SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Christina joined the HANDS team in 2022. She has been with IU School of Medicine for 17 years. Her career development has been in disability advocacy  for the past 13 yrs assisting families looking at current Situations and orchestrating future goals successfully (Transition). When Christina is not at work, you will find her in her gardens.


Danielle Behnke, MHA, CCLS

TRANSITION SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Danielle joined the HANDS team in 2022, with 11 years of experience working in the pediatric healthcare setting as a Certified Child Life Specialist. She has her Bachelors of Arts in psychology and Masters in Healthcare Administration. She has a strong passion for providing individualized, pro-active and collaborative practices for all individuals with ASD and related disorders. Danielle is thrilled to be able to share her passions, and apply her previous education and work experiences in her role at HANDS as a Transition Support Specialist.


Tracy pictureTracy Collins, MSEd

SPECIAL EDUCATION SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Tracy Collins joined the HANDS team in 2022. She has been a Special Education Teacher for the last 25 years working with individuals who have autism spectrum and related disorders.  She holds a passionate commitment to individuals with ASD and their development.  Her interest is in emphasizing the relevance of learning to the world beyond the classroom.  Her focus is on collaboration, training and building partnerships with all those who support individuals with ASD.


KurtKurt Bassett
PROGRAM ASSISTANT

Kurt joined the HANDS team in 2017, coming from a wide range of experience, including; 4 years as a records manager at IDOE, 5 years as a cart collector at Walmart, interning for the Arc of Us, and a teacher aid at his church’s preschool. He volunteers at Riley Hospital, the Children’s Museum, and the Indianapolis Zoo. His hobbies include watching TV, reading history books, sailing, going on vacation with my family cooking, and play with his dog. Kurt currently works to help put materials together for schools and trainings, host Coffee With Kurt, and assist on other office responsibilities on the HANDS team as a Program Assistant.  


Iryna Ashby, PhD
INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGNER

Iryna joined the HANDS team in 2008 as a behavioral specialist. She came back in 2017 as an instructional designer. Iryna hold PhD in curriculum and instruction, focusing on learning design and technologyShe has extensive experience with course development for online and face-to-face learners, data visualization, and information architecture to support diverse learners in higher education and industry. Her research interests include competency-based education, interdisciplinary education and collaboration within and across interdisciplinary teams, lifelong learning, and improvement of online learning experiences and environments. 


Aditi Deodhar, PhD
RESEARCH SPECIALIST

Aditi joined the HANDS team in 2019 after completing her PhD in Developmental Psychology at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research focused on the development of self-regulation and socio-emotional processes during early childhood. In her spare time, she is an avid reader and loves to travel. Aditi is a Research Specialist at HANDS in Autism® collaborating on multiple ongoing research and service projects, as well as communicating research & data with diverse stakeholders including families, educators, medical professionals, and other community providers. 


Ryan WolfeRyan Wolfe
MULTIMEDIA SPECIALIST

Ryan has been a part of the HANDS team since 2018. His areas of interest include social media planning, Salesforce/Marketing Cloud, media strategy development, market research and video design and production. Ryan currently works to use all of these tools to help promote the needs with ASD with outreach and information for the community through his role on the HANDS team as a Multimedia Specialist. 


Claire Freeborn
MULTIMEDIA SPECIALIST

Claire joined the HANDS team in 2021 after earning her Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in Marketing and Management. She takes interest in combining her love for the community affected by ASD with her desire to create and design effective communication tools. Claire is working to make the services of HANDS more widely known and utilized in her current role as a Multimedia Specialist for HANDS in Autism® 


Mackenzie Kruger
DIRECT SUPPORT ASSISTANT

Mackenzie joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently a senior at IUPUI in the Purdue School of Science studying Psychology and Neuroscience. Her current areas of academic and research interest include cognition, behavior, and abnormal psychology. She hopes to grow her experience and learning through her role as a Direct Support Specialist.


Cate Clark

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER

Cate joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently in her junior year at Butler University studying Dance and Psychology. Her current areas of academic and research interest include developmental, abnormal, and sports psychology. At HANDS, she is eager to help and gain more experience in her role as a community volunteer.


Allison Crawford-Wallis

STUDENT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Allison joined the HANDS team in 2021 and recently graduated from IUPUI in the Purdue School of Science studying Psychology with a minor in Sociology and a certificate in Child Abuse and Neglect. Her interest stems from personal interaction with individuals on the autism spectrum and the experiences they have faced navigating daily life. She hopes to gain more knowledge about autism and how best to help those in need of assistance.


Connor Hesher

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Connor joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is a sophomore at IUPUI in the School of Health and Human Sciences studying Health Science on a pre-medical degree. His current areas of academic and research interest include health outcomes and problems encompassing natural and behavioral science. Connor will provide a role of being a Research Assistant for the HANDS research team.


Yashaswini Uppalapati

PROJECT ECHO RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Yashaswini joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Health Informatics at IUPUI, in the School of Informatics and Computing. Her current research areas include healthcare data analysis and biostatistics. Yashaswini works as a Research Assistant at HANDS, where she is currently working on the Autism Project ECHO. She is eager to deepen her knowledge and diversify her skillset through this role.


Maria Pranaya Penta Reddy 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ASSOCIATE (CEA)

Maria joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is in her final semester pursuing a masters in health informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. Her research interests include effective integration of clinical decision support systems for the better health outcomes and data analysis. Maria is working as a community engagement associate at HANDS. She is very much eager to see herself as a civic-minded graduate through this role as CEA by deepening her knowledge in the work environment with HANDS. 


Mounika Gottipati

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Mounika joined the HANDS team in 2022. She is a Health Informatics master’s student at IUPUI in the SOIC department. Her current areas of academic and research interests include health data analytics, electronic health record systems, and clinical informatics. Mounika works as a Research Assistant at HANDS and is excited to be a part of the team and hopes to enhance her skills and knowledge to achieve higher career growth in the healthcare data analysis field.


Sai Yashashwini Achanti

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Sai joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing her masters in the Health Informatics in the school of informatics and computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She has completed her undergrad in Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm-D) and worked as a drug safety associate for AstraZeneca-Covishield project. Sai’s interests include research and data analysis. Through this role, Sai hopes to expand her knowledge in the field of research, hone her data skills, and establish new relationships. 


Vijayani Bomma

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Vijayani joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is a graduate student in the School of Informatics and Computing. Vijayani is actively seeking knowledge and eager to learn more about data-driven medical infrastructure and is very enthusiastic about interning with Hands in Autism in the Neurodiagnostic Research Institute’s Adolescent Autism Project. Being from the area of dentistry, Vijayani has had a significant influence on encountering autistic people and the strategies to approach them with care. 


Suma Chadalavada

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Suma joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing a master’s in Health Informatics at IUPUI in the school of Informatics and Computing.  Suma’s areas of interest in research include healthcare data analysis & coding. With her role at HANDS as a Research Assistant for ECHO & ASDLE Autism Project, she is excited to explore her knowledge in the field of Health Informatics & take time to reflect, self-explain and identify any gaps in knowledge with real time experience. 


Swapnik Hazari 

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Swapnik Hazari Joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing his Masters in Health Informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He has completed his Bachelors in Dentistry. His current academic and research interests include data analysis, Electronic Health Records and Clinical Informatics. Swapnik works as a Research Assistant at HANDS in Autism Neurodiagnostic Research Institute’s (NDI) Adolescent Autism Project and is excited to enhance his data analysis skills and knowledge through this role.  


Sai Pooja Navudu 

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Sai Pooja joined the HANDS team in the year 2022 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Health Informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in dentistry. Her current areas of interest are clinical informatics, data analysis, and biostatistics. She works as a research assistant for the Neurodiagnostic Research Institute’s (NDI) Adolescent Autism Project and is excited to enhance her skills in this area which provides an opportunity for future growth in her career.


Olivia Hersberger 

STUDENT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Olivia joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is a current senior at IUPUI in the school of Health and Human Science for Rehab and Disabilities studying Kinesiology for Exercise Science. Olivia’s current areas of academic and research interest include overall health outcomes and Special Needs. At HANDS, Olivia is eager to learn and help as a Student Support Specialist.


Breya Whitefield

FIELD-BASED ASSISTANT

Breya joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently a 4th year practicum student in the Ball State PhD program. Currently, she is working towards receiving her doctoral degree in school psychology with interests in research and clinical practice related to Autism and behavioral interventions. At HANDS, Breya is looking forward to gaining knowledge and experience to support her growth as a scientist-practitioner in training.


Hindola Kancherla

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Hindola joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing a Masters in Health Informatics from the SOIC department of IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University) and working as a Research Assistant and Intern for The Polis Center where she works on the State of Aging project which helps in Community Health Assessment of elderly people. Hindola’s areas of interest include clinical analytics to provide decision support and systems analysis and design for health care informatics. She is very interested in exploring and improving her coding skills in her role with HANDS.


Rasagna Vallabh

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Rasagna joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Health Informatics from the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. She holds an undergraduate degree in Doctor of Pharmacy and worked as a Clinical Pharmacist in India. Through her role as a Research Assistant at HANDS she is excited to gain practical knowledge in healthcare data and statistical analysis.


Sri Harshita Bokka

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Sri Harshita joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing a master’s in health informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis after completing a bachelor’s in pharmacy. Her current academic and research interests include Data Analytics, Clinical Informatics and Electronic Health Records. Sri Harshita works as a Research Assistant at HANDS and is excited to strengthen her knowledge and abilities to gain greater career progress in the healthcare data analytics field through this role.


RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Vamshi krishna joined the HANDS team in the year 2022 and is currently pursuing his master’s in health informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. He holds a bachelor’s degree in dentistry. His current areas of interest are clinical informatics, data analysis, clinical architecture, and electronic health records. Vamshi works as a research assistant at HANDS and is excited to learn and improve his skills, which will be useful in his further career .


Latha Sree Rayala

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Latha Sree joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing a Masters in Health Informatics. Latha Sree completed a Bachelor of Dental Surgery, and her areas of interest include healthcare data analysis and EHR systems. By working as a Research Assistant at Hands in Autism, she wants to expand her knowledge and skills that are helpful for career growth.


Ameer Suhel Mohammed

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Ameer joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently enrolled in his third semester of an MS program in health informatics, earning a Bachelor of Pharmacy as a prerequisite. Data analysis, machine learning, clinical informatics, and EHR systems are primarily Ameer’s areas of interest. He looks forward to gaining knowledge, experience, and skills through his role with HANDS to advance his career.


Koushik Reddy Kaila 

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Koushik Reddy joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in health informatics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC). He holds a Bachelor of Science in Dentistry. His ongoing academic and research interests involve data analysis, Electronic Health Information, and Biomedical Informatics. Koushik is a Research Assistant at the HANDS in Autism – Neurodiagnostic Research Institute’s (NDI) Adolescent Autism Project, where he hopes to improve his data analysis abilities and expertise.


Santosh Kumar Sirasapalli

PROJECT ECHO RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Santosh joined the HANDS team in the spring of 2022 and is a graduate student at IUPUI studying MS in Health Informatics. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) degree from Andhra University in India, and he finished his internship there. His areas of interest in research include data management, visualization, and applications of machine learning to clinical data analysis. Working on the Autism Healthcare ECHO project at HANDS as a Data Management Associate has peaked his interest in enhancing skills and knowledge in the field of healthcare data analytics.


Suguna Simhadri

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Suguna joined the HANDS team in 2022. She is currently enrolled at IUPUI in the third semester of her master’s program in health informatics. Her undergraduate studies were in dental surgery. EHRs, large data processing and analysis, and artificial intelligence are some of her research interests. She is eager to enhance her career by obtaining knowledge, expertise, and skills from her work with HANDS.


Archana Darsanapu

STUDENT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Archana joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Health Informatics at IUPUI, in the School of Informatics and Computing. Her current areas of academic and research interests include health data analytics, coding, and clinical informatics. She completed her undergrad in Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) and worked as co-editor in a non-profit organization namely Indian Pharmaceutical Association Students’ Forum (IPASF) between March 2020 to March 2021 and successfully published four student magazines. She hopes to give her best assistance and gain more knowledge through this period regarding Autism.


Alexandra headshot

Alexandra Patterson

STUDENT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Alexandra joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently a sophomore at IUPUI in the School of Health and Human Sciences studying Health Science on a Pre-Physician Assistant degree. She hopes to gain more knowledge about autism and expand her skills that will later contribute in her career.


Reshma headshotReshma Chowdary Gogineni, BDS, MSHI

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Dr. Reshma joined the HANDS team in 2022. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery from GITAM Dental college and Hospital Visakhapatnam, India, and is currently pursuing Master’s in Health Informatics at School of Informatics and Computing. Her current areas of academic and research interest include health data analysis leading to improved health outcomes. She works as a research assistant at HANDS in Autism® in the project Indiana Interagency Autism Coordinating Council (IIACC).