Meet Our Team


Beth Nardone-Troast
Director/Program Developer

Beth has been coordinating social skills programs for more than nineteen years. She has been a behavior therapist for children with autism spectrum disorders for over twenty-one years. She conducts behavior analysis of social skills, establishes goals, develops programs, and implements and evaluates therapy progress. She also provides parent education so that newly-acquired skills can be reinforced at home. Beth has created the curriculum for and co-taught a school lunchtime social skills program as well as social skills playgroups for children. She has had extensive training in Applied Behavior Analysis with an emphasis on functional communication based on B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. Her educational background includes a Master of Business Administration degree as well as Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Mathematics.

"As an ABA therapist for over twenty years, I have worked with many special needs students and witnessed the remarkable improvements they have made socially as a result of a program designed and tailored to their needs. It is for this reason that I started By Design Social Skills . It is my desire to help as many children as possible reach their full potential."


Amy L. Young

Amy is both a Licensed Professional Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor. She has an M.S. in Educational Counseling as well as certificates in Professional Counseling, School Counseling and The New York Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology. Amy has over sixteen years of experience working in a variety of educational settings and has counseled children ages 5-18 as well as adults. She has been employed as an elementary and high school guidance counselor as well as an anti-bullying specialist. After working closely with child study teams, teachers, parents, and students throughout her career, Amy is knowledgeable of the IEP/504 process and resolving school-related difficulties.


Jacqueline C. Duca

Jacqueline holds licenses in both Professional Counseling and Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counseling. She has earned certificates including Applied Positive Psychology, Pain Reprocessing Therapy, Health Counseling, and Yoga Instruction where she is certified to teach yoga, meditation, mindfulness, breathing, and relaxation techniques. As a certified Student Assistance Coordinator for seventeen years, Jacqueline has been providing mental health and substance use services to her teen students. For over fifteen years she has been employing strength-based counseling approaches using various modalities to restore mind, body, and nervous system health.


Lisa Smith

Lisa Smith has been working in the public school system as a certified K-12 school counselor since 2017, and is currently a full-time school counselor and vocational coordinator for an autistic population. Lisa organized the school's very first cheerleading team, which aims to incorporate taught social skills with cheer to boost self-esteem and improve social connections and friendships. She began her journey working with adolescents, coaching gymnastics for fourteen years and expanding into working as a camp counselor, substitute teacher, reading specialist for dyslexia, and counselor for elementary, middle, and high school students. Lisa is driven by her enthusiastic and positive attitude towards life and believes the sky's the limit when a child is provided with the appropriate support, tools, and environments.


Allyson Drugas

Allyson earned her Master's Degree in School Psychology as well as a specialist level Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study. During Allyson's internships for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she conducted social skills groups for children and teens. She has also worked alongside school psychologists and counselors providing individual counseling to students. Allyson has completed significant coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis and has worked as an ABA therapist as well as a school paraprofessional. Allyson is currently employed as a school psychologist in Monmouth County.


Benjamin Troast

Benjamin has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and his study of counseling and developmental disabilities has led to our adoption and refinement of the Lego therapy approach used in our popular Lego Club. Benjamin is actively involved in the development of both our social skills group and peer modeling curricula, and provides therapy for many of our programs. He has also provided ancillary life skills training for autistic children engaged in peer modeling programs. Benjamin has been teaching children with special needs for over a decade.