About Us

Dr. Mae J. Balaban and Associates, LLC was born out of the continued necessity to reach out in our role as child advocates in order to make more parents aware of our growing resources in the areas of special education, clinical therapies in speech-language, specific learning disabilities, child psychology, and childhood disorders including ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Dyslexia, Adjustment Disorders, and Anxiety Disorders.

Our office is well-known throughout New Jersey to advocates, attorneys, school systems, and parents as a place where students with special needs will receive comprehensive, independent second opinions in the areas of psychology, speech-language, education, and behavioral and executive functioning, as well as social communication skills. In addition, Balaban and Associates contracts with school systems to provide related services in counseling and speech-language therapy, as well as offering private services in all of the above disciplines. We are, however, child advocates at heart and will do our very best to provide the necessary services to ensure that the unique needs of students with special needs and disabilities are met so that they can become independent, productive, well-adjusted, self-confident, and successful members of society. We truly believe that our children are our greatest natural resource and their needs deserve to be met within our educational programs.

Meet the Providers


Dr. Joseph Plasner, Ph.D.

School Psychology

Licensed Psychologist

Executive Director of Dr. Mae J. Balaban and Associates, LLC

Cogmed Qualified Provider

Teacher of Handicapped Certification


Dr. Plasner received his BA from Rutgers University and then went on to earn his M.A. from Montclair University with credits in psychology, special education, and learning disabilities. After receiving his M.A., Dr. Plasner earned his teaching certification in special education and his Professional Diploma in School Psychology from Kean University.

Continuing his pursuit of excellence, Dr. Plasner eventually earned his doctorate in School Psychology and then his license by the State of New Jersey to conduct private practice. As a professional who has dedicated his adult life to working with special needs children, and families for over 40 years, first as a special educator, then as a school psychologist, and finally as a licensed psychologist in private practice, Dr. Plasner has sought to make a difference in young lives.

He has been owner and director of Dr. Mae J. Balaban and Associates, LLC since 2001 where he has had the opportunity to provide independent, 2nd opinions to school systems and families throughout the state of New Jersey.  Dr. Plasner is proud to call himself a child advocate as he has championed many years for the rights of special needs children to have a free and appropriate public education. His experience includes administering countless psychological evaluations, conducting school program assessments, providing child and family oriented psychotherapy for a variety of problems and disorders, having working with a team of professional within a mental health program convening parenting groups, and consulting with multidisciplinary professionals, schools, and parents offering solutions to academic, psychological, social, cognitive, and behavioral/executive functioning difficulties.


Deborah Ann Weyland, M.A., LDT-C


Learning Disability Teacher Consultant

Teacher of the Handicapped and Regular Education Certified


Deborah Weyland, a partner at Dr. Mae J. Balaban and Associates, LLC since 2002,  earned a BA in Education with certification in Nursery School Education and Elementary Education (K-8) from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She received her Masters Degree in Special Education at Montclair State University along with her professional diploma as a certified Learning Disability Teacher Consultant. In addition, Ms. Weyland has earned numerous credits to complete her doctorate in the field of learning disabilities and special education.

Ms. Weyland has taught general education and special education classes from k-8 and served on the Child Study Team as an LDT-C in private and public schools throughout her 35 years within the educational system. As a private practitioner, Ms. Weyland always focuses on assessing the unique, individual needs of each client, from preschool through adulthood. She is a dedicated child advocate who encourages students to do their best while advocating for the provision of proper accommodations and modifications, in concert with instructional differentiation. She believes, that presented with appropriate learning situations, her students will become more self-confident and independent as they strive to reach their potential in order to meet with success in life.


Theresa Gallagher, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA

Speech-language Pathologist

Child Study Team member

Board Certified Behavior Analyst


Theresa Gallagher received her BA in Speech Pathology from Douglass College and her MS in Speech Pathology from Rutgers Graduate School – New Brunswick.   Additionally she completed the post-master’s course series in applied behavioral analysis at the Graduate School of Applied Psychology, Rutgers University.

She has over 30 years of experience working in the field of speech-language pathology (assessment and treatment) across the life span in various settings (public schools, early intervention, acute hospital care, subacute rehabilitation, long term care, and private practice) and has expertise in multiple specialty areas (cleft palate/velopharyngeal dysfunction, ventilator dependent/tracheostomized patients, autism, oral placement therapy, dysphagia, language learning disabilities, and neurologically based speech and language disorders such as aphasia, apraxia, and dysarthria).

Theresa has specialized training in PROMPT, Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feedings, Picture Exchange Communication System and multiple “high tech” augmentative/alternative communication systems, Crisis Prevention Institute-Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Medically Fragile children and adults, and Applied Behavior Analysis/Verbal Behavior. She has been an associate with Dr. Mae J. Balaban since 2014.


Mary Azzolini, Ed.S, M.A. LDT-C

Organizational and Industrial Psychology

Special Education and Regular Education Instructor

Certified Learning Consultant


Mary is passionate about helping each student enjoy learning based on an understanding of their unique learning profile and the tools and strategies that assist them best. At CEPSSA, she contributes to the strategic focus of the organization as a member of the board and also provides educational testing services in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics, primarily. She utilizes a wide range of testing instruments to provide a thorough assessment of student achievement, including those commonly requested by school-districts, such as the Woodcock Johnson Tests 0f Achievement – 4th edition and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – 3rd edition.

Mary brings to her work a background in psychology, human and organizational performance; Montessori, regular K-5 and special education instruction; and educational evaluation. She is a certified Learning Disabilities Teacher – Consultant and served in this role as a Child Study Team member in the public schools for six years. She has also served as the head and co-head teacher of multi-age Montessori Preschool and lower elementary classrooms at Madison Montessori School in Madison and Red Oaks School in Morristown.

Prior to becoming a student-educator, she consulted with Fortune 100 companies to align leader and employee productivity and performance with business strategy. Data driven performance improvement is her passion. She holds an advanced, ED.S. degree in Education Leadership, Management and Policy from Seton Hall University and a Master’s degree in Special Education with LDT-C certification, from William Paterson University.

She also holds a Master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of New Haven and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Boston College. Mary is married to Steven, an attorney in Florham Park, and they have three children who have each progressed through Montessori, parochial and public schools.

As a parental observer of her children’s unique learning experiences and student of educational pedagogy herself, Mary has an in-depth and personal understanding of many educational methods and environments and she contributes this knowledge to her partnerships when working on behalf of students. Mary has been an consultant with Dr. Mae J. Balaban and Associates, LLC since 2013.

 Pegeen Jones, M.A.

                                                                  Master's Degree Special Education

Special Education and Regular Education Instructor

Credits/Coursework toward BCBA


Pegeen Jones is a New Jersey certified Teacher of the Handicapped, Elementary Teacher, and Music Teacher who has worked in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and Special Education since 2005. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education K-12, a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Special Education from Marywood University and is currently enrolled in UMass Lowell for her BCBA coursework. Pegeen’s continuing education has been with prestigious faculty such as Howard Gardner of Harvard University, Eric Jensen author of Brain Based Learning and Russell Barkley, PhD., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.   Pegeen has worked as a teacher in elementary and middle schools, been lead teacher in an autism program, a tutor, and most recently is an advocate for special needs students. In addition, Pegeen has worked to conduct assessments, create programming, train staff, and evaluate school and home-programs. Pegeen has written numerous articles on brain based learning and conducted workshops at the NJ Music Educators Conference. She enjoys employing a hands-on method of teaching and using the natural environment to enhance social skills and generalization


Next Steps...

If you have concerns about your child’s IEP, the appropriateness of his/her special-education program/placement, and/or whether working memory and inattentiveness interfere with learning ability, don’t hesitate to call for a free consultation! We're here for the benefit of your child!

Even if family finances are a problem, we may be able to help!