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LAC Blog

All posts by Maggie Gendel

Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese Visits Newest Center in Elkhart, IN

Mayor Visits Elkhart ABA Center
Elkhart Mayor meets student at Elkhart’s newest ABA center.

On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese visited Lighthouse Autism Center’s newest center in Elkhart, IN. Mayor Neese met with founder and Executive Director, Gregg Maggioli, to learn more about Lighthouse and the ABA services being offered to the Elkhart community, as well as the 30 additional
jobs that will be created through the opening of the new center. Following their meeting, Mayor Neese toured the center, visiting therapy rooms, the playroom, and group therapy spaces. The Mayor also had the opportunity to meet some of the kiddos who attend Lighthouse Autism Center in Elkhart and provided them with a small token to commemorate his visit.

Lighthouse Autism Center in Elkhart is currently enrolling. To learn more or schedule a tour of the new center, contact our Family Outreach Coordinator at outreach@lighthouseautismcenter.com or 574-387-4313.

Shining Examples – Vance

Vance has been attending Lighthouse Autism Center in Warsaw for just under a year and has made incredible progress in his time at the center. When Vance first came to Lighthouse, he had no communication skills and struggled with many daily living skills such as brushing his teeth and feeding himself. Clinical Director of the Warsaw center, Nicole Smoker, said, “it has been so inspiring to see how much progress Vance has made in such a short time.” Fast forward ten months and Vance can now use a PECS system to communicate his wants and needs. He can also brush his teeth independently and even will go to the dentist for a cleaning without any behaviors. Vance has also made huge progress with feeding himself. When he first started, he would only eat with his fingers and refused to eat off of a plate or bowl. Now, Vance eats independently using utensils as well as serving ware. When asked about Vance’s experience with Lighthouse, his mom said “Lighthouse has been the answer to so many prayers for our family. Vance has grown and progressed in ways unimaginable in the short time we’ve been apart of the Lighthouse family! We went from being non-verbal to vocal manding for everything. Behaviors have minimized and affection has blossomed! All things as parents we’ve always wanted for him! The love and support from the staff as well as knowing my child is loved beyond measure, even when away from home, are so comforting. We are so thankful to have Lighthouse as part of Vance’s success and accomplishments.”

Clinical Corner – How a Visual Test Can Help Screen for Autism

A Dartmouth-led research team has identified a non-verbal,
neural marker of autism. This marker shows that individuals with
autism are slower to dampen neural activity in response to visual
signals in the brain. This first-of-its kind marker was found to be
independent of intelligence and offers an objective way to potentially diagnose autism in the future. The results are published in Current Biology. “Autism is hard to screen for in children, when the first signs are present. A trained clinician may be able to detect autism at 18-months or even younger; yet, the average age of a diagnosis of autism in the U.S. is about four years old,” explains lead author Caroline Robertson, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth, and director of the Dartmouth Autism Research Initiative. “We need objective, non-invasive screening tools that don’t depend on assessing a child’s behavior. One of the big goals of the field is to develop objective neural markers of autism that can work with non-verbal individuals. This neural marker is just that,” she added. The research revealed that neural data could be used to predict whether or not an individual had autism with 87 percent accuracy. The findings were striking and tracked with clinical measures of autism: participants with a higher level of autism had a slower rate of binocular rivalry, where the brain was slower in switching from one image to the next. The research offers new promise for the way autism is diagnosed. “This visual test may be a non-verbal marker of autism in adults. Our next steps are to learn whether this test could potentially be used to detect autism in pre-verbal children and nonverbal adults and develop it into a screening tool for the condition. In the meantime, this result
gives us new insight into the brain in autism, showing that visual regions of the brain are affected,” says Robertson.

To read the full article from Science Daily, visit https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190815113730.htm

Heart of the Matter – Denny and Ronnie Maggioli Retire

Most people might not know that my parents, Denny and Ronnie
Maggioli, have had a huge impact on the success of Lighthouse Autism Center, going all the way back to the very beginning, when our first center opened in 2012. When we opened our first center, my family and I lived in Caramel, Indiana and I commuted back and forth for nearly two years. During the week, I lived with my parents and traveled home to Caramel on the weekends. Not only did my parents welcome their grown son back into their home, but they have played a huge role in the design of each center. With an eye for interior design, my mom has picked paint colors to be used inside the centers, creating a bright and warm, and most importantly, non-clinical feel for the children who attend the centers. My Dad has worked as a dedicated handyman, carpenter, painter and fixer of all things for each of our centers since 2012. Simply said, Lighthouse Autism Center would not be what it is today without the time and love put into each center by my parents. As they officially announce their retirement, we could not be more thankful for their impact not only on the centers, but on each of the kiddos who have attended Lighthouse. Thank you for your tremendous work and dedication to Lighthouse Autism Center – we could not have done it without you!

Fall Activities in Michiana

It is finally starting to feel like fall and we couldn’t be more excited. We love the colors of the changing leaves, the crisp air, ciders and donuts and of course the pumpkin patches and apple orchards. From u-pick pumpkin patches, to hay rides, corn mazes, and the best apple cider, we have compiled a list of the best fall activities in Michiana.

1.) Thistleberry Farm – this fall activity in South Bend, IN offers a pumpkin patch, bounce houses, a corn mazes and a petting zoo. Children of all ages can find something fun to do at Thistleberry Farms!

2.) Knollbrook Farms – located in Goshen, IN, Knollbrook Farms has a corn maze, giant slide, petting zoo, train rides, pumpkin slingshot and more! This is a real working Dairy Farm that you can tour as well.

3.) Kercher’s Sunrise Orchard – also located in Goshen, Kercher’s offers activities for the apple pickers and pumpkin pickers! Visit the farm for apple picking, pumpkin picking, hay rides, a corn maze and more. The farm is open for various u-picks all year round!

4.) Ashley’s Pumpkin Farm – located on the North side of South Bend near the Michigan line, this small pumpkin patch offers affordable pumpkins, a corn maze and a petting zoo.

5.) Hesston Steam Museum’s Ghost Train – operating the last 3 weekends in October, take a spook-tastic ride aboard the Hesston Ghost Train. Appropriate for children of all ages.

6.) Lehman’s Apple Orchard – located in Niles, Michigan this u-pick orchard has offered apple picking for nearly a hundred years! In the Fall they offer apple picking, pear picking and blackberries!

7.) Potawatomi Zoo – Zoo Boo – each year the Potawatomi Zoo hosts Zoo Boo, a three day event where children can see their favorite animals and trick or treat around the zoo. For this years dates visit their website.