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Potential Made Possible

4710 Timber Trail Drive
Middletown, Ohio 45044

Meet Melissa Hayes, Director of the Autism Learning Center

Melissa - our Director of the Autism Learning Center received a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education  from00051 Mount Vernon Nazarene University, an Intervention Specialist License and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Xavier University. She has been teaching at Abilities First for 8 years, and has been teaching children with disabilities for a total of 14 years. 


Jessica Haas - K/1 Teacher

Jessica graduated from Morehead State University in Kentucky where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and 00052Special Education (Learning and Behavioral Disorders). She always wanted to be a teacher and found a deeper interest in Special Education when taking college courses. Jessica wants to see every child succeed and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the children to their fullest potential. She feels a lot of accomplishment when she sees a child who was struggling with a task or concept, able to understand and overcome the obstacle.

Jessica is interested in specializing with children who have Autism and other disabilities.

Brandi Ruscher and Sarah Doller- Preschool Teachers

Brandi received a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies with a focus in Child Development from Miami University and a Master’s degree00049 in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Arizona State. She has worked with children in a variety of settings and has a strong background in behavioral challenges.

Brandi has a special interest in Autism and true desire to help children and their families achieve their maximum potential.


Sarah became involved with the Autism Learning Center in October 2015 when she became an intern in the program 00047for two school years. In June 2017, she completed her education at Granite State College earning a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Sarah became interested in Special Education when she saw the struggles her own daughter was experiencing in the classroom; she believes that all children possess gifts, and when a child is placed in a nurturing environment, these gifts can flouri


Deborah Kesseh-Osei - Family Advocate/Classroom Assistant


Deborah holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Northern Kentucky University and complete her Master's Degree in Social Work00048 from Wright State University. She has a special interest in assisting and serving individuals with special needs,especially children and has been working with individuals of all age ranges with disabilities and special needs since 2008.

Her goal is to assist and empower families to better their lives and our community.

Amber Cales - Classroom Assistant

Amber joined our team as a classroom assistant at the beginning of February 2017. She and her husband have 3 boys and Amber joins 00050our team having been on the other side of the fence, as a parent of a child receiving therapy services at Abilities First. Amber feels excited and honored to put the lessons she has learned from being a parent of a child with different abilities, into working with other children & supporting other families here at Abilities First. 

Abilities First Development Department offers a number of ways you can support local children and adults with disabilities.

Please contact Development Department at 513-423-9496 if you have any questions.
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About Us

From birth through life, Abilities First of Middletown and Franklin, Ohio provides a broad array of individual and group programs for children and adults with disabilities.  

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Services for Children

Potential is Made Possible through our coordinated services - Autism Learning Center, Free Therapy Screenings, Pediatric Therapies, and Integrated Early Childhood Learning.

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Services for Adults

Adult independent living skills are an important aspect of creating a fulfilling life. Our residential and adult day programs provide a place of security, acceptance and a sense of belonging.

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Get Involved

We need YOU to help support local children and adults with disabilities. Donate to our mission, volunteer at one of our locations or special events, advocate for people with disabilities.