Who We Are

The Right Experience for Your Family

The Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP) has been a leader in diagnosing and treating autism for more than 25 years.

We began small, with about five families in 1995. Since then, we’ve grown to help more than thousands across Wisconsin. We’ve gained a reputation as a leader in early diagnosis and intervention. With a rich history of clinical research and practice, we use evidence-backed approaches grounded in applied behavior analysis (ABA) to help young children with autism reach their full potential — and it works.

By becoming a WEAP family, you are joining thousands of families who have benefitted from state-of-the-art, research-based, and individualized treatment programs, delivered by a growing team of dedicated professionals.

WEAP is part of LEARN Behavioral, a national organization dedicated to nurturing the unique potential of children with autism — and supporting families from day one. We consider you, as parents and caregivers, your child’s first and most important teacher, and we partner with you to create an environment in which you and your child can thrive.

Our Team

Mary Smith, BCBA, LBA

Vice President, Clinical Services

“My aim is to be the voice of many — the children, the families and the WEAP team — to make sure that every day a child learns a new skill, every day a family has a positive experience, and every day an employee goes home knowing that they have made the difference in the life of a child.”


Mary Smith is the executive director of the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP). She works with directors across the five WEAP regions to make sure WEAP maintains its legacy as the leading provider of quality early intensive behavioral treatment for children with autism in Wisconsin.

Mary is a board certified behavior analyst, licensed in the state of Wisconsin. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Open University, the largest university in the United Kingdom. She earned her master’s degree in special education from the Queen’s University of Belfast, and she has a post-graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis (ABA) from the University of North Texas. Mary specializes in creating and carrying out behavioral treatment programs. She is passionate about training young clinicians in their early professional years.

Mary has worked with WEAP since 1998. She has provided treatment, consultation, and training throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Africa. She has presented at a variety of international conferences and successfully represented families seeking funding for treatment.


Rebecca Thompson, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Director of Clinical Services

“My favorite moments are when I meet a new family for the first time and quickly establish a
connection with their child, inspiring hope and demonstrating the positive impact of ABA services.”


Rebecca Thompson, BCBA-D, known as “Dr. Becky,” oversees clinical training and provides mentorship to emerging behavior analysts.

She started her career with the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP) at the age of 18, encouraged by her mother, one of WEAP’s first administrative staff members. Dr. Becky quickly learned that her mother was right, and this was the job for her. She absolutely loved working with young children with autism and teaching them life-changing skills.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and her master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology from Wayne State University. She returned to WEAP during her post-doctoral internship and completed post-graduate coursework in applied behavior analysis (ABA) through the Florida Institute of Technology. She has been a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA-D), at the doctoral level, since 2013.

Today, she supervises behavioral treatment programs and leads several project-based workgroups across the LEARN network. She is passionate about equity in access to ABA services. As the president of the Wisconsin Autism Providers Association, she leads statewide advocacy efforts to change public policy and increase access to underserved families. She also serves on the Wisconsin Governor’s Autism Council and actively engages in outreach efforts to strengthen connections within the autism community.

Heather Bania, BSc

Senior Clinical Director

“Every child’s progress fuels my passion for this work.”


Heather Bania, BSc, discovered her passion for applied behavior analysis (ABA) while obtaining her bachelor’s degree in human development from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She started her career with the Green Bay Learning Center as a behavior technician (BT) in 2001.

Later that year, she transferred to the Milwaukee region, where her career continued to flourish. She was promoted to managing technician, then clinical supervisor, and ultimately, to clinical director.

Heather is the senior clinical director for the Milwaukee region, where she oversees the operation of four Learning Centers. Her journey from behavior technician to senior clinical director is a testament to her dedication and expertise in ABA.

Away from her professional commitments, Heather spends time with her husband and two children. She has an eye for decorating and savors peaceful moments relaxing by the lake.



Linda Klotz, MA, BCBA, LBA

Clinical Director

“I feel so blessed to go to work each day and to be a part of helping my clients grow and learn. Hearing some of my clients say their first words is one of the most rewarding moments in the work we do. I am so thankful for the commitment of everyone within the child’s family and clinical team because each of them is helping the child to improve his or her quality of life.”


Linda Klotz, MA, BCBA, LBA, is a dedicated behavioral treatment licensed supervisor and the clinical director for the Milwaukee, Wisconsin region.

Raised in the heart of Milwaukee, Linda continues to call this vibrant city home along with her husband and three children.

Her academic journey took her first to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she earned her undergraduate degree in psychology. She then pursued her master’s degree in applied behavior analysis (ABA) from Ball State University.

Since 2003, Linda has been devoted to working with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Her experience spans from helping toddlers as young as 18 months to guiding teenagers.

Linda’s passion particularly lies in early intervention and in the transformative power it can have on a child’s development. Linda continually seeks to expand her knowledge and share her insights by attending state and national conferences. She has presented her work at the prestigious Autism Society of Wisconsin’s Annual Conference, demonstrating her commitment to advancing the field.

Kerry Hoops, MA, BCBA

Clinical Director

“I love working at WEAP because every day is something new. There are surprises, celebrations, and challenges around every corner.”


As the clinical director of the Wisconsin Early Autism Project’s (WEAP) Green Bay region, Kerry Hoops brings more than two decades of experience and deep passion for working with children diagnosed with autism.

Her journey began during her college years at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. There, she earned a bachelor’s in psychology and human development while simultaneously gaining hands-on experience with children with autism. This experience ignited her passion for teaching children, families, and staff evidence-based practices. She went on to get her master’s in applied behavior analysis (ABA) from Ball State University.

Beyond her role at WEAP, Kerry actively contributes to the broader autism community. She has been a board member for the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin for more than five years, demonstrating her unwavering dedication to making a positive difference in the lives of those affected by autism.

Christine Laurent, BCBA, LBA

Clinical Director

“I am fortunate to wake up each morning to a job that I love and to go to sleep each night knowing that WEAP is committed to making a difference for so many clients and families.”


Christine Laurent is the clinical director and licensed supervisor for behavioral treatment in the Madison region.

Her passion for helping clients with autism ignited during her college internship at Carroll University in 1994. She majored in psychology, complemented by minors in biology and sociology. She went on to get her master’s degree in applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Over the last 25 years, she has remained committed to that mission. Her career has been exclusively tied to WEAP, where she has not only grown professionally but also impacted countless lives.

Cassie Sedlacek, LCSW

Clinical Director

“I feel humbled and honored to be a part of a team of passionate individuals dedicated to helping improve the lives of the children we work with and their families.”


Cassie Sedlacek, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), serves as the clinical director for the Eau Claire Learning Center at the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP). Cassie is not only an accomplished professional but also a proud resident of Eau Claire, where she lives with her husband and their three children.

Cassie earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and public relations from The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She went on to get a master’s degree in social work from UW-Madison.

Today, as a licensed clinical social worker, she offers her extensive expertise in the field, making a significant difference in the community.

At WEAP, Cassie plays a crucial role as part of an evaluation team conducting diagnostic assessments. Beyond her clinical duties, she is passionately involved in academia. As a preceptor with the UW-Madison School of Social Work, she guides the next generation of social workers, sharing her knowledge and experience to inspire their professional growth.