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Welcome and thank you for visiting this site.  A little about how I began, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Vocational Rehabilitation, in 2000; Master of Science in Education, 2001 and Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.  I have been given the opportunity to work for more than a decade alongside youth and adults with physical, emotional and developmental disabilities; the elderly; and their families on a variety of needs to improve life outcomes and transition goals addressing barriers to independent living.   My husband Kyle and I live just outside of Menomonie, WI. We enjoy giving back to our community, spending time with friends and family, which includes our two cats, Teddy and Smokie.

I appreciate cultural differences and making a positive difference in the lives of others.  This provides joy and energy for my work.  With my own personal experience and understanding of the disability experience, I discovered the value of self-advocacy and helping others to become more empowered. Because of this, I will encourage you look beyond what you perceive are your limitations and challenge you to look deeply into what you believe stops you from moving forward. I hope to inspire your change through honesty with compassion, self-acceptance and humor.  

Abilities First has been established to assist the underserved with overcoming barriers. Quality services are provided at affordable rates, focusing on your unique needs and abilities, empowering you to meet your personal and professional goals. By providing a safe space of mutual respect in which to openly explore, a partnership is developed in which creative-individualized solutions are discovered. 

Treatment Modalities: Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused, Systems and Strength-Based Approaches.  Areas of specialization include: Coping and adjustment for youth and adults with physical, learning, emotional challenges. 

I am happy to consult with you, should you have questions.   I'm looking forward to working with you and your family. I feel privileged to be able to serve you.


Jessica Kleist, MS. Ed., LPC-IT
Professional Counselor

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