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Our Mission

SilverNail NW is dedicated to increasing opportunities for choice and access to Professional Behavior Services outside of the Portland, Salem, Eugene corridor. We ensure access by working in locations that traditionally struggle to access behavior services and mentoring other small business owners who work in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities field.

Meet the Staff

Michelle Silbernagel

Owner | michelle@silvernailnw.com

Michelle is a highly experienced behaviorist. Most importantly, however, she is a humanist that understands that the only thing standing in the way of those experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities is access to supportive skill development. Michelle sees her role as empowering those she has the pleasure of working with to lead fulfilling and self-determined lives. Her colleagues would describe Michelle as a great advocate for small business owners who are struggling to understand the complex service elements system and Oregon Administrative Rules.

Michelle recognized the importance of supporting people experiencing disabilities in her first job at the State of Oregon as a lifeguard/recreation assistant at Fairview Training Center in the summer of 1994. She explains.

“I soon recognized how important water activities, dances, art, and community activities were for people with physical disabilities as well as those requiring significant behavioral support. It was also a growing experience for me to watch people move from an institutional life at Fairview to a community life after Fairview.”

While at Fairview, Michelle made a connection at Oregon School for the Blind (OSB) and began working as a lifeguard and then advancing to provide direct care of students as a residential and school support team.

It was at OSB that she developed some of her fundamental knowledge about and experienced working with children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and participating in the (Individual Education Plan) IEP process.

“I first became aware of service equity issues in the early ’90s as I witnessed children outside of the I-5 corridor not able to access the needed support systems that other children could access in their local communities.”

This experience led Michelle to pursue higher education and she graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Child and Family Studies in 2002.

“I expanded my appreciation and skills in working with people from more varied socioeconomic needs and non-traditional family systems,” Michelle explains.

That experience helped Michelle’s next professional development when she returned to her roots in working with people who receive services through local Community Developmental Disability Programs (CDDP’s); first as a case manager or service coordinator at a county office and then at a large provider agency as a house manager and then area director.

Her experience and passion for directly helping people who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities combined with knowledge of OAR’s led Michelle to develop SilverNail NW. With her own consulting firm, Michelle increased her capacity to serve a broad range of service users and to help ensure equal access to services despite the county that people live in. She is always excited about opportunities to meet new people and develop new long-term relationships that support people leading fulfilling lives — whether that is helping a house manager implement more robust and efficient practices or empowering a client to increase their autonomy. SilverNail NW’s agency is dedicated to not only writing FBA’a and PBSP’s but assisting teams with a lifetime of changes through ensuring that we provide maintenance services to the plans that we write.

“As I’ve grown as a professional, I also spent the last several years investing in my growth on a personal level which has reaped fantastic rewards in my professional work.”

In Michelle’s free time she buys too many treats for her Goldendoodle (Pepper who sometimes visits with Michelle on assessments when people request), travels locally camping with her wife, listens to too many podcasts, and spends time on her timber farm with her family.


Behavior Services Manager | sam@silvernailnw.com

Sam joined SilverNail NW after earning her master’s degree in Autism Research with a focus on communication from the University of Stirling in Scotland. Sam has worked in the developmental disability field for eight years in North Dakota, Scotland, and now Oregon. Sam has been responsible for ensuring accurate health and safety measures as a supervisor in a vocational setting. Sam has also gained direct care experience with adults who experience developmental disabilities and had behavior support needs. She strives to help bridge the gap for those who are nonverbal to communicate comfortably, effectively, and have their needs and wants safely met.

Michelle says,

“Sam is one of those unique people who when they observe a complicated challenging behavior they don’t turn away, they get a twinkle in their eye of excitement to work with that team.”

She is currently completing coursework to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and continue serving those in need.

When she isn’t working, Sam enjoys exploring new places, meeting new people, sewing, and reading Star Trek novels. Originally from South Dakota, she currently resides in Salem with her husband and their two cats.


Positive Behavior Support

With direction from people supported, families, ISP teams, and the Oregon Administrative Rules, SilverNail NW works closely to ensure person centered and least restrictive Positive Behavior Support Services.

SilverNail NW works with partners who are OIS certified to co-author plans that are in need of safeguarding interventions

Technical Assistance

SilverNail NW provides technical assistance to people, non profits, and companies who want to apply for certification and endorsements in the State of Oregon.

We believe that even the most experienced and educated providers in Oregon benefit from a fresh perspective, system development, and best practices. SilverNail NW has substantial experience meeting the Oregon Administrative Rules in Oregon.