About Us

We help kids with autism thrive and grow – at home, in school, and in life.

We are CARF accredited for autism and behavior consultation services. We are proud to be the first agency in the South to achieve this distinction which is official recognition that our organization is guided by internationally recognized service standards and best practices.

Thrive Autism Solutions is the first agency in the South to be CARF-accredited for its autism programs.

Our Mission

Thrive Autism Solutions is a science-based organization that not only collects data, but applies it, improving the functioning of children, families and our company. Using evidence-based interventions, we optimize a child’s potential and increase both his and his family’s happiness, one celebrated step at a time.


Our Values

We offer the only behavioral treatment for autism endorsed by the Surgeon General and the National Institutes of Health, delivered by Board-Certified specialists.

Core Values

  • Give hope through knowledge
  • Create fun and happiness
  • Be passionate and determined
  • Learn from everyone and everything
  • Celebrate growth and success
  • Set standards for integrity
  • Develop every client and every team member to her fullest potential
  • Apply science by making data based decisions

Our Team

Raelynn Hillhouse

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Hillhouse has been named to Forbes’ elite list of “Big Achievers” and she has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, People and others. She is frequently listed among the most famous alumni of Washington University. Dr. Hillhouse has nearly two decades of senior executive experience in behavioral health. Dr. Hillhouse led Thrive to become the first CARF-accredited program in the South specifically for behavioral consultation for children with autism.

Philip Abbenhaus

President and CFO

Mr. Abbenhaus is a twenty year finance, operations, and accounting professional, specializing in executive management, capital formation, IT, internal financial reporting and compliance, and implementing complex corporate strategies. Mr. Abbenhaus has served as President or CFO for 6 different companies in the Healthcare, Professional Services, Information Technology, and Telecommunications industries. Mr. Abbenhaus has closed over $500 million in public capital transactions, secured venture capital funding for three separate start-ups, and acquired or merged four different companies. Mr. Abbenhaus lives in St Louis with his wife and four children.

Jennifer Kirby

Clinical Director
Program Director NorthWest Arkansas

Ms. Kirby is best known for her key role in collaborating with the Cleveland Clinic to bring state-of-the-art autism services to Missouri through her capacity as the founding Clinical Director of the Leffen Center for Autism. Ms. Kirby received much of her early training and clinical experience at the New England Center for Children (NECC) in Massachusetts. A hub for training and research, NECC has been transforming the lives of children with autism worldwide since 1975. Before moving to the Midwest, Ms. Kirby worked at the National Charity for Autism, TreeHouse Trust in London, England. In 2011, she was appointed to serve on Missouri Governor Nixon's inaugural Behavior Analyst Advisory Board, which established the licensing standards for the state. Ms. Kirby now serves on the executive committee for the Arkansas Association for Behavior Analysis. She also sits on the autism advocacy board for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Liz Kinsella

Program Director
St. Louis, Missouri

Ms. Kinsella is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Missouri. She received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Notre Dame and received her Master of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She has spent the last decade working with children and adults with developmental disabilities, including autism, in a variety of home, school, and clinic based Applied Behavior Analysis programs. Liz serves on the Board for the Gateway Association for Behavior Analysis. Liz has provided behavioral consultation, parent and staff/teacher training, social skills instruction and early intervention services across the Bi-state area. Working closely with families and seeing children grow and thrive is what it's all about for Liz.

Laura Barnes

Program Director
Columbia, Missouri

Ms. Barnes is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Missouri. She received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Western Michigan University and her Master's of Science in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale. For over ten years, she has worked in the areas of skill acquisition and problem behavior reduction in a variety of settings, including center-based clinics, in-home services, group homes, and in school settings. Most recently, she served as the Senior Behavior Analyst at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She has provided ABA services for children, adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities, and their caregivers, teachers, and staff. Laura is invested in her clients and strives to help every client achieve his or her individual goals, while improving the overall quality of life for the entire family.

Anna Neises

Program Director
Kansas City, Missouri

Ms. Neises is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Behavior Analyst in the states of Missouri and Kansas. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Kansas State University and a master's degree in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale. Since becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2008, Ms. Neises has provided ABA services to children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities in a variety of settings, including home, school, community, and clinic. She most recently supervised early intensive behavioral intervention services to children with autism and other complex comorbid syndromes at an interdisciplinary therapeutic preschool. She has a passion for meeting families where they are and fulfilling their potential.

Melissa Switzer

Program Director
Little Rock, Arkansas

Dr. Melissa Switzer is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral. Melissa received her Bachelor's through Doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington in Psychology. She was an active committee member of the Behavior Analyst Licensure Committee in Tennessee prior to relocating to Arkansas. She has spent the last 16 years working with individuals with developmental disabilities from the ages of early childhood through adulthood. Her experience ranges across various settings from residential in-patient facilities, to clinic, and home based therapy services. Dr. Switzer has provided behavioral consultation, individualized therapy services, trainings for teachers/parents/direct care staff on topics from self help and socialization skills, to teaching academic tasks and behavior reduction techniques. One of the most enjoyable parts of her career is taking part in watching children flourish and reach their full potential.

Brandon Thurman

Assistant Director
Northwest Arkansas

Brandon Thurman is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He received his Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with a certificate in Autism from Ball State University and serves as the treasurer for the Arkansas Association for Behavior Analysis. For the past ten years, he has worked with children and adolescents with disabilities in a variety of contexts including residential treatment, recreational day treatment, in-home, school, and clinic-based settings. He’s passionate about collaborating closely with families, schools, and other therapists to teach clients pivotal and functional skills in creative and fun ways.