Our Team

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Carol VanNess

Carol Van Ness has a BA in Child Psychology and a Masters Degree in Special Education, specializing in Severe Affective and Cognitive needs. She has been working with children and adolescents with developmental and neurological dysfunction for 25 years. She is a licensed Educator and has many certifications related to Behavioral Sciences, Neuro-development, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Education. Memberships include the American Psychological Association, The National Honor Society in Psychology, Psi Chi, and the Golden Key National Honor Society.


Carol most recently developed a program and worked as Clinical Director for Carmel Brain Centers for children, adults, and seniors with brain-related issues (memory, attention, concentration, social and life skills). This program received the Outstanding Program of the Year award from The Arc Pikes Peak region in 2015. She served on the board of Directors for Special Kids, Special Families and as President of the Broken Brain Achievers Club. She is also a member of the Brain Injury Professional Network and the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado.

Her Certifications include :

QBS Safety Care Behavioral Safety Trainer, Parenting and Educating with Love and Logic Facilitator, Informed Supervision (with Sexual Offenders), IEP development, implementation and advocacy, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Prevention of Youth Suicide (Jason Foundation), Interactive Metronome Certified Provider, The Listening Program  (Advanced Brain Technologies) and more.

Currently, Carol is pursuing a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology.

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Janis Bickers

Janis Bickers has a BS in Engineering, went through ROTC in college and served 5 years as an officer in the United States Army.  She started out her civilian career as a Technical Writer for GE/Marin Marietta Government Services at Fort Carson, Colorado. Later, she worked for USAA Insurance Company doing Property and Casualty Insurance for 7 western states at the Colorado Springs office for 9.5 years. 


In 2005, she was introduced to Cognitive Brain Training and her passion and giftings were ignited.  She saw the power of how a personalized brain training program could help those with learning struggles and disabilities have better, more successful lives and futures.  In 2015, she added training with the Brain Builder® and The Listening Program® by Advanced Brain Technologies and Interactive Metronome to her therapies.  Janis can coach you through an individualized plan by utilizing The Listening Program®, which addresses deficiencies that affect the whole person’s being, such as their motor function, cognition, and social engagement.  Janis continues to add therapies and modalities to the services she provides both in-office and for at-home use.

Her Certifications, Volunteering, and Organizations:

She has been a Certified Provider of The Listening Program®, Sleep Genius®, and Brain Builder® by Advanced Brain Technologies,  Certified provider for Interactive Metronome, and Facilitator for a Woman’s Group at Heart to Heart Counseling Center.

Current member of Savvy in Business, Brain Injury Professional Network, and Pikes Peak Interagency Transition team.


Desarae Walker

Desarae Walker holds a BA in Speech Communication from Bethune-Cookman University and a Masters from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Her educational background has an emphasis in family dynamics, specifically, intimate partner violence (IPV) and domestic violence (DV). Her journey in cognitive brain training started in 2019 after providing direct care, which she thoroughly enjoyed and decided to further her career in cognitive brain training. She has an Acupressure & Reflexology certification from the Advanced Therapy Institute of Touch in Colorado Springs—offering foot, hand, scalp, auricular (ear), and spinal reflexology along with advanced bodywork and color light therapy. 


She is a neurofeedback trainer utilizing the NeurOptimal® brain training system—an advanced neuro-technology that offers training to the brain, enabling it to function at its best. It’s mathematically designed to communicate directly with your central nervous system and has been called “the most effective bio-hack on this planet.” She is a certified Emotion Code® practitioner and BodyTalk Access™ Technician, which uses energy-based techniques created by doctors that assist in processing emotions and bringing balance to the body. 


Her passion has enabled her to work with children, youth, and adults who have emotional, behavioral, and learning struggles for over a decade. She believes in approaching issues and the person from a holistic and integrative view, and uses the modalities she is trained in to bring about lasting changes. 


Her certifications, honors, volunteering, and educational/career experiences include: 


  • Career Trainer—Aspen Pointe (2011-2013)

  • TESSA—Confidential Victim Advocate/Residential Support Staff (2010-2011)

  • Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the Pikes Peak Region (2009-2011)

  • Substitute teacher for Harrison School District 2 and Fountain-Fort-Carson District 8 (2009-2011)

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant in the development of oral communication competency (2009)

  • Conducted a case study on Colorado Springs School District 11 that was included in the Catamount Institute’s Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network (PPSBN-2009) 

  • Tutor for Academic Consulting and Educational Services (2006-2007)

  • Coordinator Intern at the Stewart-Marchman Center for Chemical Independence (2007)

  • Presented paper on (IPV) at the 2007 National Communication Association Annual Convention

  • Daniels Fund Scholarship, Time Warner Scholarship, and Sachs Foundation Scholarship recipient

Rhonda Williams

Rhonda Williams has been with our organization since 2018. She recently relocated from Florida and currently holds a teaching position as a dance instructor, which she pursues in the evenings and weekends. She has an Associate degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix, Tampa, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Argosy University, Tampa. Her experience in the field of disabilities includes supporting others with transportation, personal needs, and leisure activities in the community. She cared for individuals with dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s, physical and intellectual disabilities, and those undergoing post-operative recovery. She also worked with patients in hospice going through the end of life process prior to coming to A Cognitive Connection. Her hands-on experience with children and adults with disabilities lends to a perfect fit as a Behavioral and Cognitive counselor. She can assess the personal needs of the people she works with on an individualized basis and she takes a holistic approach to their treatment plans. Those who know her describe her as caring, patient, gentle, self-driven, responsive, and a great communicator. We are very blessed to have her on our team. 

Consuelo Earl

Consuelo holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado and a Theological Master’s degree emphasizing Pastoral Counseling from Pacific Rim Christian University in Hawaii. While it was a difficult decision to move back to snowy Colorado, Consuelo is happy to have returned to serve her home-town community, including our Spanish speaking populations.

Consuelo attended UCCS on a full-ride scholarship and worked in the Cognitive Psychology Research Lab, which explored many topics in Clinical, Personality, Developmental, and Geropsychology. In addition to studies with those experiencing cognitive decline, the lab also offers mental health resources for anxiety/depression management, suicide prevention, and the like.

While attending graduate school, her research studies were devoted to the service of the underserved populations of Oahu. Her Master’s Thesis covered topics specific to the psychological effects of domestic violence. Also while attending Pacific Rim, she acted as a teaching assistant for undergraduate courses -including Introduction to Psychology. Additionally, she interned at the New Hope Counseling Center and graduated in 2013 with distinction.

Outside of working with adult populations, Consuelo has previous experience as Site Director for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region with the youth of all ages and varied abilities. Additionally, she has worked with several college readiness/ tutoring programs such as A.V.I.D. and the Pre-Collegiate Development Program for underrepresented students at the university level.

Consuelo has a good understanding and respect for our military through volunteer work with military family life services as well as her involvement with ROTC at UCCS and employment with USAA Federal Savings Bank.

Consuelo is most passionate about Mental Health and enjoys continually learning new and innovative ways to better the human psyche. Through her love of music, natural wellness; carrying on her maternal tradition of herbal medicine as well as knowledge gained as a nutritional consultant, she endeavors to support healthy cerebral function and optimal acuity in every client that she meets. 

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Kari Ward

Kari Ward has been with our organization since 2019. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Loretto Heights College and a Master’s in Biblical studies from Columbia Theological Seminary. She currently owns and operates a Dance studio in the area. She has vast experience teaching dance to children with disabilities and advocates for the importance of movement and expression to those who are not able to communicate effectively. She prides herself in contracting with Goodwill Possibilities to offer dance workshops to their clients in the past. She has completed all the required training for our organization and is working on Certification to become a Cognitive/ Behavioral Specialist/ Counselor. We appreciate what she brings to A Cognitive Connection and we look forward to seeing her strive in being able to help others with their Mental health needs.