With a combined 25 years of experience in the ABA field, colleagues Carrie Miranda, Crystal Nelson and Emma Palumbo had an opportunity to branch into entrepreneurship and expand into a new ABA company. With the Island of Kauai having a high demand for ABA services and expanded therapy options, the idea to venture into a nonprofit organization began to blossom. Soon to join the team was La Reina Kamalani, who brought with her a wealth of knowledge and 20 years of experience in the medical and management field. These four like-minded women have dedicated themselves to the formation of Pākōlea Support Services, and to grow into a valued community organization.
The non-profit format allows Pākōlea Support Services opportunities to expand beyond the traditional ABA Therapy model and provide a more holistic approach to client services and experiences.
Current Services include:
Initial and ongoing assessments
Individualized treatment plans
Direct services of ABA therapy by an RBT for early invention clients
Oversight and supervision of RBT by an experienced BCBA
Social Skills groups with services provided by an experienced BCBA
Group and Individual Parent/family training and support
Future goals (start date TBA):
Additional ABA Services:
Adult and Vocational Skill Building
Additional Non-ABA Services:
Additional Speech and Language Services
Counseling and Mental Health Services
Leisure and Social Opportunities for Clientele (e.g., movie nights, dances)
In addition, the non-profit structure supports Pākōlea Support Services' mission to provide our team with a safe and nurturing environment, competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and an emphasis on quality of life.
Mo'ōlelo 'o Kōlea (Story of the Kōlea)
Our company name is inspired by the story of the native Kōlea bird, and the Hawaiian term Pākōlea , which essentially means to instruct and guide so as to foster growth in a desired direction. It is thought that the Kōlea bird is an incarnation of Kōleamoku, the Hawaiian god of healing. The incredible Kōlea, just after learning to fly, manages to navigate from all the way from Alaska to Hawaii, without the benefit of any adult Kōlea to guide the way. The ability of the young Kōlea bird to overcome such incredible adversity is a metaphor for the inspiration we gain from working with so many amazing kids every day.
Meet Our Team
Our team includes a diverse group of talent who are held to the highest standard of certification and skill level in the ABA field.
Our teams are led by our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) who will provide initial and ongoing assessments, develop individualized treatment plans and programming, family education, and supervision of direct services with a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). A BCBA is required to hold at minimum a Masters Degree and have met the national board requirements to obtain certification.
The RBT provides direct services with client’s by implementing programming designed by a BCBA. An RBT receives an aninitial 40-hour training and is required to pass a national board certification. Additionally, they must receive ongoing supervision and training by a BCBA in order to maintain their credentials.
Carrie Miranda M.E.d., BCBA, LBA, President
Carrie has always had a passion for working with people. She obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work from Syracuse University in 2002 and worked in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services for 5 years. In 2007, Carrie began working with children and has served in a variety of capacities including in educational settings, as a nanny, and as a volunteer at an orphanage for children with physical and/or mental disabilities in China. She has been working in the ABA field since 2010. During that time she has gained experience working in public and private schools, home, community, and clinic settings. Carrie holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and obtained her BCBA credential in 2018. Carrie is committed to creating opportunities for growth through structuring learning and environments to suit each child’s individual needs. In her free time, Carrie enjoys hiking, kayaking, roller skating, doing home improvement projects, and spending time with her husband.
Emma Palumbo M.E.d., BCBA, LBA, Vice-President
Emma was born and raised on the North Shore of Kaua‘i and loves providing services to our local community. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Political Theatre and a Master’s of Education in ABA Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. Emma has been working in the ABA field since 2010 and has been a BCBA since 2018. She has extensive experience working in clinics, homes and community settings as well as providing services in both public and private schools. Emma has worked with clients ranging in ages from 2 years to 20 years old and particularly enjoys social skills training and increasing functional behaviors and communication. Currently, Emma lives in Kilauea with her four cats, Willis, Minxy, Bella, and Scruntchy. In her spare time she enjoys swimming at the beach, hiking and doing improv comedy.
Crystal Nelson M.E.d., BCBA, LBA, Executive Director
Crystal grew up in a small town in southern Utah where she always had a desire to make a difference in the life of those around her. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, she worked as an intern at a residential treatment center with teenagers. She graduated from Southern Utah University in 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. She continued working with people in a variety of positions including the domestic violence shelter advocate, a mentor for teens on probation, and as a paraprofessional. She began her career in ABA in 2015. During that time she worked in client’s homes, in the clinic setting, private and public school settings. Crystal then continued on to get a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Western Florida with an emphasis in ABA in 2019. She then became a BCBA and LBA in Hawaii in 2020. Crystal lives on the westside of Kauai. In her free time she enjoys beekeeping, sailing, hiking, hunting, gardening, camping, and most of all going on adventures with her dog, Dexter, and her husband.