Our clinical team is led by Chris Abildgaard, a clinician who has been in private practice for over 10 years.  Come meet him and learn about our talented clinical team.


Chris Abildgaard, LPC, NCC, NCSP

Chris Abildgaard, LPC, NCC, NCSP is the owner and director of the Social Learning Center, LLC. located in Cheshire, CT.  Chris also holds an appointment at the Benhaven Academy located in Wallingford, CT as their School Psychologist.

Chris is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, a Nationally Certified Counselor & a Licensed Professional Counselor with a specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition to a Masters and 6th Year degree in School Psychology, and has earned a Graduate Certificate from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Behavioral Interventions in Autism. Since 2008, Chris has presented nationally at conventions such as the Autism Society of America and American Counseling Association national conferences and through the state of Connecticut on topics related to Autism Spectrum Disorders and counseling techniques used when working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum.  

For the past five years, Chris has trained clinical mental health practicum and intern graduate students from SCSU, University of Hartford and Walden University and has been a lecturer for Master level courses in the area of clinical mental health counseling. As a mental health counselor, Chris’ theoretical orientation is grounded within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  Chris continues to explore methods for integrating CBT with tools to improve one's executive functioning skill sets with the aim at improving one’s overall quality of life.

Chris earned his "Clinical Trainee" title in Social Thinking by enhancing his knowledge of methodologies and treatment procedures associated with Social Thinking by completing their Clinical Training: Level 1-Assessment & Level 2-Advanced back in 2011 (www.socialthinking.com). Back in 2010, Chris had the privilege of publishing one of his first articles with Michelle Winner around integrating behavioral interventions with Social Thinking. Click here to read that article.

Chris published several articles for “Counseling Today” and the “Autism Asperger’s Digest”. In July 2013 Chris is also proud to be a member of the the writing team for Special-Ism (http://special-ism.com). Chris is currently working on a publication for Routledge Publishing on counseling individuals on the Autism Spectrum due out in January 2019.

When he is not in the office, Chris enjoys spending time with his three children, traveling and grilling!!

Ashley Zagorski, M.S., NCSP

Ashley graduated in 2011 from UCONN with a Bachelor’s of Art degree in Psychology.  In 2014, Ashley received her master’s in School Psychology, as well as her 6th Year Certificate in May 2015 from the University of Hartford. Currently, Ashley is a School Psychologist for the Middletown Public School district.  She began her career at The Social Learning Center as an Intern in 2014 and was officially added to the team in September 2014 as a clinical associate.  She began working as a group facilitator in 2015. Ashley has a passion for counseling and always finds creative and fun ways to implement social learning within group and individual settings.

Erica Ciarciello, M.S - Mental Health Counselor


Erica graduated in 2011 from Keene State College with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in both elementary education and psychology.  She started work as an instructional assistant at Benhaven Academy in 2011, and started working as a Clinical Associate for the Social Learning Center in 2012.

In 2016, Erica began working at the Social Learning Center full time and fulfilled her clinical internship hours. She completed her Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Southern Connecticut State University in December 2017. As a mental health counselor, Erica will be running individual counseling sessions and several of our Social Cognitive Groups. Erica has developed a specialty in the areas of counseling girls on the Autism Spectrum, clients with an ADHD diagnosis, and upper elementary/middle school aged clients struggling with anxiety or depression. 

Erica has co-authored several articles with Chris Abildgaard for the website Special-Ism.  You can read their article here.

Erica assists with all of the scheduling for Chris Abildgaard. She also handles all referrals and helps to get new clients set up with an intake appointment with one of the clinicians at the SLC. If you are a current client and would like to schedule an appointment with Chris, please email Erica at e.ciarcielloslc@gmail.com   If you are a prospective new client please feel free to contact Erica at her email or office phone number and she will return you inquiry as soon as possible. 

Office Staff

Lisa Dempsey, Billing & Office Manager


Phone: 203-250-0305

Lisa has been with the SLC since our move here to Cheshire and is in charge of all accounts receivable and payable.   If you have any questions about your bill, insurance or any general questions about our services, please feel free to contact Lisa directly.