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LAC Blog

All posts by Maggie Gendel

Staff Spotlight: Meet Alexis

Meet Alexis! Alexis is a Registered Behavioral Technician at our Avon center, where she has worked for one year. As an RBT with Lighthouse Autism Center, Alexis is responsible for working one-on-one with children with autism and implementing therapy programs designed by Board Certified Behavior Analysts. She helps children work on refining previously learned skills and helps them develop new communication, social, living skills and more!

autism therapist

Tell us about why you applied for a position with Lighthouse.

I applied to Lighthouse Autism Center because I wanted the opportunity to provide meaningful services to children in an urban setting.

Tell us about your favorite part of working with your team at Lighthouse.

My favorite part of working with my Lighthouse teammates is being able to leave work every day knowing we are making positive differences in the lives of our kiddos and having the most fun while doing it!

How would you describe your Lighthouse experience?

My “Lighthouse experience” has been great! No two days are alike, and I have been able to learn a lot about myself as an employee and as a therapist while working for Lighthouse! Everyone I have had the opportunity to work with has been team-driven with shared goals, and the unwavering support for each other is incredible!

Alexis is the oldest of seven kids and has a pet bunny named Ice Cube.  She is a graduate of Indiana University Kokomo, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Spanish.

 

 

Staff Spotlight: Meet Kait

 

Meet Kait! Kait is a Senior Therapist at our New Castle center, where she has worked for a one year. As a Senior Therapist, Kait serves as a lead therapist and works closely with the BCBA’s on her team as well as provides support to the RBT’s working one-on-one with clients.

autism therapist
Kait is a Senior Therapist at Lighthouse in New Castle, IN.

Tell us about why you applied for a position with Lighthouse.

I had a friend that always posted on social media about how much she loved what she did and how rewarding it was (She was so right!). So, I decided to give it a try and ended up falling in love with ABA and what I do now. This job has taught me so much in the short amount of time I have been here, and I want to share a couple of strong key points I have taken away from this amazing opportunity. There is a career out there that isn’t just “another job” or dragging your feet to get up in the morning to push yourself in to work a Monday-Friday job. You will find what you love to do as long as you take those leaps and go beyond your own comfort zones to get there. Waking up and going to work is easy for me, because I love what I do, the company that I work for and most importantly I love working with every single one of my kiddos. ABA isn’t easy and some days you feel so exhausted and defeated but seeing the progress that these kiddos make in such a short time goes beyond words and makes all of that incredibly rewarding.

Tell us about your favorite part of working with your team at Lighthouse.

There is no one favorite memory I have because it’s all been amazing. The team we have at New Castle is always striving to be the best team we can be every single day. We lift each other up, celebrate one another and cheer each other on every single day. Some days are harder than others but working with such a positive team that continuously uplifts each other makes it so much easier. I am so proud to be a part of a team that inspires each other every day to be better and to work together with ease. Not only are we a dedicated and strong team, but we are an even better family. I’m grateful for these people who have motivated me to grow as a person, a friend and an even better RBT.

What is your favorite part of working with the Lighthouse kiddos?

My favorite part about working with all of these kiddos would definitely be seeing their progress from where they started and where they are now. It’s always such a joy knowing you made a difference in their lives and all that of that hard work is showing amazing results. Pairing with these kids and building that connection with them is another favorite part of mine because you get to see their face light up when you’re around and it makes you feel valued and important which is just another reminder to get up and do what I do every day.

How would you describe your Lighthouse experience?

So far, I have had an amazing experience with Lighthouse. They have given me so many more resources to become a better trainer and more importantly they have given me multiple opportunities to grow as a person. I have met two of my biggest inspirations here who have continued to push me out of my own comforts to become a better person and to grow more than I ever could have imagined and I will forever be grateful for that. This company goes above and beyond to make sure their clients and staff are well taken care of and that alone shows how amazing it is to be a part of this team.

Kait is a dog mom to a Pitbull named Cosmo and enjoys traveling to new places in her free time.

Lighthouse Autism Center is hiring! Visit www.lighthouseautismcenter.com/jobs to learn how you can start changing lives, today!

Staff Spotlight: Meet Dacia

Meet Dacia! Dacia is a Registered Behavioral Technician at our Anderson center, where she has worked for two years. As an RBT with Lighthouse Autism Center, Dacia is responsible for working one-on-one with children with autism and implementing therapy programs designed by Board Certified Behavior Analysts. She helps children work on refining previously learned skills and helps them develop new communication, social, living skills and more!

autism therapist
Dacia is an RBT at Lighthouse Autism Center in Anderson.

Tell us about why you applied for a position with Lighthouse.

I have always loved helping other people. Before coming to Lighthouse, I worked with adults with special needs. While I enjoyed that, I was looking for a change, and and for a while I was working with adults. I then decided that I wanted to start working with kids and I have loved every minute of it.

Tell us about your favorite part of working with your team at Lighthouse.

My favorite part about working with my teammates is that no matter how hard your day is, there are always people around you who support you and always can put a smile on your face.

What is your favorite part of working with the Lighthouse kiddos?

My favorite part is being able to spend time with the kids and watch as they make so much progress. It’s so rewarding!

How would you describe your Lighthouse experience?

My experience with Lighthouse has been nothing short of amazing! The team is so supportive and everyone really cares!

In her free time, Davis enjoys spending time with her six year old daughter, cat and dog and shopping.

Lighthouse Autism Center is hiring! Visit www.lighthouseautismcenter.com/jobs to learn how you can start changing lives, today!

Autism, Early Intervention and ABA Therapy

What is autism?

child with autism
Those with autism often have sensory sensitivity.

Autism, as defined by the Autism Society of America, “is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. Symptoms and signs of Autism generally emerge between 24 and 36 months of age. There is no known single cause of autism…”

Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are general terms used for grouping complex disorders of brain development. These developmental disorders are characterized in different degrees by:

  • Social interaction difficulties
  • Nonverbal and verbal communication difficulties
  • Repetitive behaviors

While the signs and symptoms of autism can appear as early as 6 months, and typically by age 3, there are many children who are diagnosed much later, and some individuals may not diagnosed until much later in life. It’s critical that parents and families are educated on the signs of autism as well as the steps to take if they think their child may have autism, in order to achieve the best outcomes for their child.

Diagnosis

If you suspect a child may have autism, the first step is to contact the child’s pediatrician or their general practioner. The pediatrician will perform an assessment and will typically be able to determine if a child has autism or not.

In some cases, a pediatrician will refer families to a psychologist, a physician that specializes in mental health. The psychologist will perform a standardized assessment (included but not limited to CARS, ADOS, MCHAT, etc…) to evaluate if the child has autism and the severity. This step is critical in the diagnosis and evaluation process, as most insurance companies require a standardized assessment (such as those listed above) in order to approve an authorization for treatment (such as Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, ABA Therapy and more).

Early Intervention

Data shows that the earlier children are diagnosed with autism, the earlier they start receiving interventions and the better their outcomes are. This leads to a better overall quality of life for the child and the family. This is one of the biggest reason’s families are encouraged to understand what autism is, recognize the signs of it, and take the steps to get their child the help they need.

Types of Intervention – ABA Therapy

ABA therapy
ABA therapists working one-on-one to administer therapy.

Once a parent receives an autism diagnosis, they often are left in shock and confusion as to what to do next. While a physician or psychologist may refer them to a specific therapy center for services (whether that be ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or something else) but that is not always the case. The best thing you can do for your child is research the services and interventions available to you in your area.

Specifically, many doctors will recommend Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy services for children with autism. This is the only type of therapy recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General for the treatment of autism. ABA therapy aids in the development of new skills, shapes and refines previously learned skills and decreases socially significant problem behaviors. It often involves the following components:

  • Qualified and trained BCBA’s (Board Certified Behavior Analysts) lead and oversee a child’s therapy program
  • After a detailed assessment of a child, the BCBA will create a unique program with consideration given to the child’s ABA therapy goals, preferences and the overall family goals.
  • Goals will be developmentally appropriate for that child and will include things like sociability, communication, play, self-care, motor development and academic skills.
  • Highly qualified and trained therapists will help a child achieve these goals through detailed instruction plans that break down skills into skill sets. The child will then work on the most basic skill sets and build up to more complex skill sets, with each skill set building off of the previous one.
  • Therapists continually collect data on your child to determine which skill sets are improving, which one’s are not, and how the therapy program may need to be modified in order to make sure your child achieves their goals
  • Regular meetings with family and staff take place to allow for planning, review of child’s progress and to make any needed adjustments.

 

If you would like to learn more about early intervention and ABA therapy, contact us here.

 

5 Tips for Celebrating Halloween with a Child on the Autism Spectrum

1.) The Costume

Let your child pick out a costume that works for them. If they love soft things, try a fuzzy costume onesie, if they love dinosaurs, let them be a T-rex. Whatever it is that gets your child excited, channel that into a costume!

2.) What to Expect

Make sure your child knows what to expect. Talk about the trick or treating and exactly what your child should expect. Consider creating a visual schedule or countdown to the big day!

3.) Practice

Help your child practice for the big day by practicing putting on their costume and going through the routine of the day. Enlist the help of a neighbor or friend and have your child practice trick or treating at their homes.

4.) Trick or Treat Alternatives

If your child does not enjoy trick or treating, or if you are choosing to stay home due to Covid-19 related reasons, consider other alternatives. Take them to other Halloween-related activities in the community or consider a “not-so-scary” night in with their favorite movie and treat.

5.) Have Fun!

Whatever you choose to do and however you do it, remember to be flexible, do what is best for your child and family, and have fun!