Simona Akcin, MBA, BCBA
Co-Founder, Director of Clinic
Mrs. Akcin is the founder and Clinical Director of Lumina Autism Center with more than 12 years of experience. She is originally from Romania. She holds two Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics and European Studies, graduating top of her class in 2002. She completed the MBA program with honors at Kennesaw State University, being one of the few Beta Gamma Sigma inductees in her class.
Upon her first son’s diagnosis of autism, Mrs. Akcin decided to change her career and pursue the BCBA certification in order to help not only her son, but also the children in Romania. She completed the BCBA coursework requirement with Florida Institute of Technology.
Mrs. Akcin is actively involved with current research and best practices in Applied Behavior Analysis by attending various workshops and conferences with leaders in the field like Dr. Iwatta, Dr. Carbone, Nancy Kauffman and the specialists at Marcus Autism Center, GSU Center for Leadership in Disability and Emory Autism Center in Atlanta, GA. While not working, she enjoys being outdoors with her three children and preparing home cooked meals for her family. Mrs. Akcin is a native Romanian, fluent in English and Spanish, and has working knowledge of French, Italian, Latin and Turkish.
Shireen is a candidate for BCBA and has worked as an ABA Therapist for 12 years in NYC Early Intervention Program, along being a therapist, she was also the clinical supervisor for the Brooklyn Borough. She supervised and trained therapist at the second largest agency in New York. Shireen moved to Atlanta, GA in September of 2016. She started working at Forsyth County Board of Education as a Behavior Specialist and completed her certification in Adapted Curriculum, Kindergarten-12thgrade.
Shireen takes on a holistic approach when working with children. She concentrates on all five areas of development and on how to integrate learning within to them to get the optimal results. Shireen believes independence is the key for self awareness and advocacy. She strives for her clients to make the maximum progress by creating new and fun activities.
She recently moved from New York City with her husband and two children aged 7 & 5. She holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Behavior Analysis and a Master in Special/General Education.
Joy Hawkins, a recent transplant to Atlanta, GA from Los Angeles, CA, brings 13 years of experience in the field of Behavior Therapy. Joy has worked with children and young adults with varied abilities inclusive of those with mental health diagnosis and developmental delays to aid in improving their daily functioning through the development of social/emotional and communication skills. Having worked in residential, institutional, and educational settings, Joy takes on a holistic approach to behavior therapy, seeing the child/young adult as a whole being with their own goals, thoughts, and feelings rather than merely a problem to be solved.
Joy’s passion and commitment to youth is evident in her one-on-one sessions with youth and is driven home through group/parent training. Joy strives to improve not only the child/young adults quality of life by aiding in the development of skills that can foster independence but also teaches the family/care providers tools to work with them thus helping the child/young adult better integrate into the home but society as well. Joy is goal driven and strives to equip her clients with skills that will ensure continued success far beyond their time with her.
Tecoya Mahan is an Arkansas native and graduate of The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Tecoya absolutely love kids and has a passion for helping them in any way that she can. She has volunteered with children who come from all backgrounds and walks of life for many years. Tecoya has also worked for organizations such as Christian Competition as a Cheer Coach, Girl Scout of America as a Camp Counselor, and Jack Robey Jr. High as the Flag Line Coordinator.
Tecoya believes that all children have the ability to learn but no two children learn the same. Sometimes it’s best to adjust your teaching style based on children’s learning style to get the best results.