Autism Awareness Training for First Responders Teaches Emergency Personnel How to Respond to Individuals with Autism

Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) and Institute for Behavioral Training (IBT) today announced that they will partner to train first responders on how to approach and interact with individuals with autism spectrum disorder beginning in April for Autism Awareness Month. IBT has trained over 3,000 people across the United States and various countries since 2013. The free training titled, “Autism for First Responders,” will be presented in Fairport, N.Y. on April 30; Larchmont, N.Y. on April 30; Chicago, Ill. on April 23; Austin, Texas on April 26; Phoenix, Ariz. on April 28 and 29; Washington, D.C. on April 23; and in the following California cities, Sacramento on April 28, Fresno on April 25, Woodland Hills on April 24, Thousand Oaks on April 30, Tustin on May 1, Temecula on April 29, Riverside on April 28, and San Marcos on April 29.

According to the new statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 27, 2014, one in every 68 children in America is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls diagnosed. As more children, teens and adults are impacted by ASD, more police and other first responders will have interactions with the population.

Individuals with autism may struggle to communicate, make appropriate eye contact or even respond to someone asking them their name. The behaviors that children and teens with ASD display vary greatly, which is why autism is described as a spectrum disorder. Parents and professionals agree that safety is a huge concern for everyone in this population as they may be easily distracted, lost or even elope from their school or surroundings. The “Autism for First Responders” training will enable emergency personnel to recognize the signs of ASD and react accordingly to minimize their own risk and that of the individuals with autism.

“Training first responders to recognize ASD is crucial,” said Cecilia H. Knight, director of IBT. “Helping a family find a child who has wandered away, protecting an adult with autism whose behavior is misunderstood, or helping a paramedic know how to interact when a child is injured can truly make a life or death difference. Recognizing the signs of autism and knowing how to react is key.”

The trainings will be hosted by CARD treatment centers across the United States. IBT’s training will teach attendees the signs and symptoms of ASD, how to communicate with individuals who appear to be affected by autism and tips for first responders who interact with individuals on the spectrum. For more information on the events or to set-up a training, please visit
For the original article see the link below



Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders

The list below has been compiled by Autism Speaks for children with Autism, Aspergers, and Sensory Processing Disorders. There are several sensory friendly toys as well as specific online games and activities designed for children with autism.

Animal Agentz
Fun and interactive computer learning tool to help children manage and overcome stress, anxiety and poor concentration. Children interact with a family of bright and colorful animal characters who teach them important coping skills to help them manage stressful situations.

Autism Toys and More
Autism toys, books, puzzles, games, and resources for parents and professionals. Categories include: fine motor skills, focus and attention, cognitive development, sensory, social/pretend play, and more!

Automoblox award-winning line of mix-n-match, wooden toy cars have been used as an important learning tool for children with autism.

Aven’s Corner
Here you will find the web’s most unique online kids games. This is a free online preschool games site built specifically for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Award-winning BionicBlox invents building and construction products for 2D and 3D sensory and educational play.  The open-ended, captivating press together blocks and connectors provide enhanced stimulation.  The size and durability of children’s masterpieces promotes social processes through collaborative play.

bluedominoes: Shaping A Healthier Playtime
bluedomines’ Activity Dough and Finger Prints are the first art supplies product to receive approval from the Celiac Sprue and acceptance by the Feingold Association. Both of our products are gluten free, artificial color free, bromine free and heavy metal free.

Discovery Toys: A Link to Learning for Children with Autism
Discovery Toys interfaced with the famous Princeton Child Development Institute to develop an Autism Support Project. This project has created toys to develop independent play with some limited instruction, toys that promote sustained engagement, toys that build skills for cooperative play, toys that create opportunities for children to talk about their play experience, toys with obvious completion criteria and more!

Fun and Function
Fun and Function was founded by a mom who also happens to be an occupational therapist. Her goal in starting the company was to fill a void for a lack of high quality toys, games and therapy products geared towards special needs children. provides children with special needs outstanding products to enable them to reach their fullest potential.

Give Me 5 Social Skills Board Game
Give Me 5 is a fun, non-competitive social skills game covering 8 sub-domains of social skills: self-awareness, situational awareness, non-verbal communication, verbal communication, emotional awareness, perspective taking, manners, and understanding the big picture. It incorporates learning through analyzing social scenarios, using visual cues, role playing, problem solving, and the use of an emotional awareness model. High 5s are given along the way to support the children’s positive social development and nurture their self-esteem.

Her Interactive: Nancy Drew Adventure Games
Her Interactive is the leading mystery-maker and pioneer of fun and inspiring interactive entertainment. Her Interactive’s Nancy Drew games have sold more than 9 million copies. Nancy Drew players now include moms who have introduced their daughters to the girl detective, making her one of history’s longest-running iconic figures spanning generations. As the number-one PC mystery franchise since 2004, unit sales of the Nancy Drew series have exceeded those of Harry Potter, Myst and Tomb Raider.

Smartly-designed products for happy parenting. Packed with smarts, full of fun and ready for the daily adventures of parenting, we’ve created a line of products to help you and your little ones grow together. They’ve all been thoughtfully designed and smartly styled, from tip to toe, to make this whole parenting thing less of a job and more of a joy. Here’s to happy!

Make Beliefs Comix
Come visit, where parents and children can create their own comic strips online and practice writing, ready and storytelling. Parents and teachers of autistic children are using the site to communicate more effectively with their children by creating comic strips to teach and convey information to them.

Me and My World™ Social Skills Board Games and Curriculum 
The set of 6 unique themed puzzle cut game boards (Dragon, Pirate, Space Alien, Castle, Zoo Adventure and Sea Life are interchangeable with any of the Me and My World Game Card Decks. The Me and My World Curriculum includes more than 50 lessons that are aligned with the American School Standards for Students. Each lesson addresses a specific objective, includes several activities and recommends children’s stories to use.

Melissa and Doug
Over 2,000 unique and exciting products for children of all ages. Our promise is to make each and every customer a happy and permanent member of the Melissa & Doug family, while offering products with tremendous value, quality and design. Our line offers something for everyone!


OZMO Fun Toys for Autism and Other Special Interests
Created by parents of an adult with autism and OCD to encourage easy, safe, wonderful fun with toys, books, puzzles, sensory and special interest items all geared toward individuals with autism.

Piano Wizard
Piano Wizard is an amazingly simple video game that can teach anyone from 3-103 how to play the piano and read music in minutes. With a digital piano hooked up to your PC or Mac, you’re playing real keyboard within seconds of sitting in front of a song. The game’s 4-step method has won awards for its simplicity. Even a 3-year-old can play Step 1 and by the time you finish Step 4, you’re reading real musician notation. After Step 4, we’ve seen kids go straight to real piano, and find themselves playing the same song effortlessly.

Pick and Draw
Pick and Draw is a fun, one-of-a-kind drawing game that teaches you how to make very creative cartoon faces. It is simple and easy to use providing endless hours of fun and learning. In five minutes or less you will know how to play!

PlayAbility Toys
A world of special toys for special kids. PlayAbility Toys is THE source of fun, unique toys that are developmentally appropriate for all young children and in particular children with special needs! The company specifically designs and markets toys that have many sensory features that incorporate auditory, tactile, visual, and motor stimulation.

Playtime with Zeebu
Bring the world of Playtime with Zeebu home to play! Our goal at Thought Bubble Productions is to make the connection between you and your child/student purposeful.

Raise Your Rainbow® Health Eating Tool
Raise Your Rainbow® is an interactive game that motivates children to eat fruits and vegetables. Kids track the fruits and vegetables they eat throughout the day using the colorful rainbow band magnets – when all 5 bands have been raised to form a complete rainbow, they win! Raise Your Rainbow® is easy to play, fun for kids, and promotes healthy eating. Play right on the fridge or portable for tabletop – also comes with food list by color.

SimplyFun Board Games
Simply Fun offers award winning educational board games for all ages. Our board games are unique and can not be found in stores, they are easy to learn and fun to play, they are designed for learning and connecting, and they are high quality. We have a great deal to offer to parents and families of loved ones with autism and other special needs.

Special Needs Toys 
We are providers of carefully selected fun products designed to help you or those in your care enjoy life, and achieve more. Use this site and our catalog to stimulate your imagination, begin programs, or reinforce encouraged behaviors.  There is a lot that we can achieve…while having Fun. We are committed to offering the best customer service available.

The Speech Bin
We have tons of fun, new games to improve speaking and listening skills!

Stages Learning

Stages Learning Materials was founded by a UCLA trained ABA Therapist in 1997, when Autism diagnosis first began to rise. Our top-selling autism education product, the Language Builder Picture Cards, was designed to specifically meet the learning needs of the individual with Autism. The Language Builder Series has become a staple in home and school programs across the world. Today Stages offers a full range of real photo products for autism education. Stages products are found in pre-schools, day care centers, early childhood classrooms, autism programs, speech language programs, and homes around the world.

The Step2® Company, LLC, headquartered in Streetsboro, Ohio, is the largest American manufacturer of preschool and toddler toys and the world’s largest rotational molder of plastics. Our mission is to be the leading innovator of children’s products that build imaginations and enrich the family’s celebration of childhood.

Topobo for Children with Autism and ASD
Topobo is the world’s first construction toy with kinetic memory, the ability to record and playback physical motion! Research studies with autistic children show that, in comparison to passive blocks, Topobo leads to far more cooperative & parallel play, increased observational behavior, and reduced solitary play patterns.

Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids
Toys selected by experts to aid in the development of children with physical and cognitive disabilities.

WonderWorx LLC
WonderWorx invents products for musical, sensory and educational play – and unique pieces for parks, gardens, schools and museums. These imaginative creations combine splashes of sound, color, music or motion to stimulate the senses and encourage social, cooperative interaction.

ZAC Browser: Zone for Autistic Children
ZAC is the first web browser developed specifically for children with autism spectrum disorders. Come find the best environment on the internet for your autistic child!

Zigo Leader Carrier Bike System
Our Mission is to provide human powered vehicles, strollers, and bicycle trailers for use by active parents or other caregivers along with their children. The Company’s first product, the Zigo® Leader™ Carrier Bicycle System,can operate as a three-wheeled carrier bicycle, a stroller, jogging stroller, urban bicycle, or trailer, converting among these modes in under one minute.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Six-Year Quest For Kansas Autism Insurance Reform Ends in Victory

OVERLAND PARK, KS (April 16, 2014) — Governor Sam Brownback today signed legislation expanding autism insurance coverage beyond the state employee health benefit program, culminating a six-year campaign to enact more meaningful reform in Kansas. Enactment of the law also made Kansas the 10th state to amend its original autism insurance law to make it stronger.

“Autism Speaks applauds Governor Brownback’s support of the autism community,” said Mike Wasmer, a Kansas resident who serves as Autism Speaks’ director of state government affairs.  “This bill is an important step toward providing access to medically necessary treatment for all individuals with autism in Kansas.”

Sponsored by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), the new law, HB.2744, will require state-regulated large group and “grandfathered” small group individual health plans to cover medically necessary treatments, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), for autism for children up to age 12.

The bill as initially proposed by the House Insurance Committee would have limited ABA coverage to 10 hours per week, but was raised after vigorous opposition from the state’s autism community. As enacted, the new law allows for 25 hours per week of ABA for four years from the time of diagnosis and then reduces to 10 hours per week.

The new law is spearate from the state’s 2010 autism insurance reform law which applies only to state employees. The 2010 legislation when introduced would have covered the private market, but was amended into a pilot program limited to state employees to gauge the impact on health care costs. When the 2010 law was enacted, Wasmer, then president of the Kansas Coalition for Autism Legislation (KCAL), said, “This is not the end, but rather the start of getting autism treatment to all in need in the state of Kansas.”

After being judged a success, the program was made permanent for state employees, but Kansas lawmakers continued to resist efforts to expand the coverage to the private market. In 2012, efforts to force a bill out of a committee fell one vote shy of success.

After Rubin introduced a bill this year that would have provided broader coverage, the insurance lobby filed a second version with much more restrictive terms and would have cut back existing benefits for state workers. After heated opposition from the state’s autism community, HB.2744 was introduced as a compromise measure.

Wasmer said the new law marks a step forward, but that efforts will continue to provide the best coverage for the most children. The existing state employee autism benefit will continue unaffected by the  new law.

The original article can be found on the Autism Speaks website at the link below:

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Parent Support Groups

Indiana University has compiled a list of Autism Society of America chapters and additional support groups across Indiana for parents of children across the autism spectrum. This information is provided to help those families trying to locate a group for support. The support groups listed may or may not provide you and your family with the specific kind of support you are seeking. Please call the contact person directly to find out about the specific focus of the support group, and to find out about meeting places and schedules. Certain groups have mailing lists, email listservs, or blogs you can ask about when you call.

See the link below for a list of area support groups by city.


Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Sensory Friendly Films

We Bring AMC Sensory Friendly Films to Families Affected by Autism on a Monthly Basis to Select Communities.

The program provides a special opportunity for families to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing!

The idea for the program began with a request from a parent with an autistic child for a special screening at AMC Columbia Mall 14 in Columbia, MD. More than 300 children and parents attended the first screening.

We are thrilled to now offer the program at many locations nationwide. As a leading theatrical exhibition company, we are so proud to be making a difference in the estimated 1.5 million Americans living with an autism spectrum disorder by offering families a chance to see a movie together — often for the very first time.

For a list of participating theaters as well as upcoming shows and times visit


Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Lighthouse Opens Second Center in Mishawaka- April 2014

20140331_090329_resizedAs you know, the prevalence of Autism and need for Autism care in our community is significant and overwhelmingly underserved. Because of the growing need
throughout the Michiana area, Lighthouse will open its second center, located in Mishawaka, in April – in honor of National Autism Awareness Month. “Opening a new center in Mishawaka has allowed us to create the Early Learner Program – a program aimed at even more focused therapy for our youngest age group – the two- to six year-old group that’s so crucial to reach,” said Gregg Maggioli, Executive Director. “This program is 100% designed to best meet the needs of our children and help facilitate transition into a school program. We see the goals of the new Mishawaka center and the ELP program as one in the same – to help children reach their full potential.” The ELP program is completely individualized and targets the youngest age groups because of
the documented studies that show a higher success rate. “The earlier we can provide therapy for this age group, the best chance we have of helping them reach their full potential,” said Maggioli. “There’s a danger in waiting. You can never get that time back. Parents and physicians should never take a wait-and-see approach. What is a limitation later on could have been an obstacle avoided if we could only have intervened with therapy.”

Want to read more? To view the entire April 2014 edition of The Lighthouse Beacon click here.


Find a Center Near You

Interested in finding an autism center near you? Click Find a Center below to view a full list of current autism therapy centers.

Welcome to Lighthouse Autism Center – April 2014

FPO-Front Page1Welcome to Lighthouse – the Autism treatment leader in Indiana. We’re pleased to provide you with The Autism Beacon newsletter – a quarterly publication dedicated
to keeping you up to date with relevant news on Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders
and extending information on the available resources at our Mishawaka and Warsaw centers for your patients in need. Lighthouse is 100% focused on Autism and, specifically, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – the only therapy that has been vetted by the medical and higher education communities. ABA therapy is endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General as an approach to teaching social, motor, and verbal behaviors as well as reasoning skills. Over 30 years of research has proven ABA to result in very positive outcomes when used as an early-intervention tool for Autism. Lighthouse is the only center in Michiana with an award-winning management team who are also parents to a child with Autism. Gregg Maggioli, Executive Director, and wife, Sandy, founded Lighthouse because they understand the frustration and feeling of helplessness when parents are told their child has Autism. “Lighthouse cares for children and their parents as though they are part of its extended family – this is the type of environment we experienced with our son in Carmel, Indiana. As time went on, we discovered an unmet need in this area and are now exceedingly proud and fulfilled to provide the same foundation for kids in this community,” said Gregg Maggioli, Executive Director. “Our therapists love, care for, and find joy in each one of the children. No one cares about the kids and their families as much as Lighthouse. We are dedicated to providing the best therapy while addressing the needs of the family as well.”

Want to read more? To view the entire April 2014 edition of The Lighthouse Beacon click here.


Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

#35: Utah Enacts Autism Insurance Reform

SALT LAKE CITY (April 3, 2014) — — Gov. Gary Herbert today signed legislation making Utah the 35th state to enact autism insurance reform. Utah has one of the nation’s highest rates of prevalence for autism at 1 in 54, or about 2 percent of the state population.

Sen. Brian Shiozawa (at the podium) and Governor Herbert

Sponsored by Sen. Brian Shiozowa, the bill (SB.57) was fiercely opposed by the insurance industry. The enactment of the law culminated six years of effort by the Utah Autism Coalition, providers and families to end insurance company discrimination against people with autism.

“Autism Speaks commends Senator Brian Shiozawa for his leadership in delivering for the Utah autism community,” said Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks’ associate director of state government affairs. “The Utah Autism Coalition has fought hard to make this day happen and we were proud to be their partner.”

The law requires many state-regulated health plans to cover speech, occupational and physical therapy, psychological and psychiatric care, and behavioral health treatments, including applied behavior analysis (ABA).

The original article was posted on Autism Speaks website here


Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Light the Way

On Saturday, April 26 from 10:00am-12:00pm, ADEC will be hosting an Autism Awareness event in downtown Elkhart. There will activities for children, a sensory table, coffee and donuts. The ADEC bell choir will also be there to perform. This event is a great opportunity for families to meet, network, and explore community resources. Lighthouse will also have a table there so stop on by and say hello!  For more information on the event you can click here to see the Light the Way 2014 flyer.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Shining Examples- April 2014

FPO-Shining Examples BlueManApril 2014- Robert and Lisa Cook know how much of a blessing and beacon of              hope Lighthouse can be to parents struggling to connect with their Autistic child. Over the course of just one year, they’ve witnessed dramatic changes      in their daughter, Ally. “Before Lighthouse, we struggled to get Ally to connect with us.    She would only communicate to address her most basic wants and needs. She would rarely even let us sit next to her,” said Ally’s mother, Lisa Cook. “I am falling head over heels in love with her all over again. I am in heaven playing Barbies and dress up with her! These are all things a year ago I would have never dreamed we’d be able to dotogether. We have everyone at Lighthouse to thank for that. This is the first environment where we have seen her thrive and where she has been really happy.” The staff at Lighthouse recognizes that all children, regardless of Autism, learn at their own pace. Intervention goals vary person to person depending on age, level of functioning, family goals, and other factors. We all agree, however, that we’ve seen incredible results from Ally.

Want to read more? To view the entire April 2014 edition of The Lighthouse Beacon click here.

At LAC, we are seeing incredible progress made by our learners every day.

Clinical Corner- April 2014





Is your toddler repetitive?
Could be Autism. Study warns.
April 2014- The Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology published a new paper that will make each parent sit up and observe their child’s behavior. The study, published by lead researcher Joseph Piven, found that children demonstrating repetitive behaviors like flapping hands, spinning, etc. by their first birthday are four times more likely to have autism than
children who don’t do such repetitive actions. The study adds weight to the theory that repetitive behaviors might be a red flag for Autism that all parents should watch out for. The study, conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, sends mixed signals, as repetitive actions like babbling syllables and wiggling arms are often the
first developmental milestones that children show. Distinguishing them from behaviors that point towards Autism might need sharper observation and definitely more research.

Want to read more? To view the entire April 2014 edition of The Lighthouse Beacon click here.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Heart of the Matter- April 2014





April 2014- As stated in our mission, and evidenced by the many successes and heartfelt testimonials of our parents, it is our privilege and calling to provide quality ABA therapy where it is needed. As the only center in Michiana for Autism with an award-winning management team, we know it is our child-focused and family-focused philosophy that helps us achieve enduring success. It is our understanding, having been in their shoes, that helps them stay strong and positive amidst daily challenges. We make every effort to help families of children with Autism through the use of Verbal Behavior ABA Therapy – and I know it works when I can see, with my own eyes, transformations like that of an 11-year-old child who used the restroom on their own for the first time, or transitioning a 5-year old back to school after getting behaviors under control. As a father of an Autistic child, I know how marvelous and longed for these moments are for parents. Please keep us in mind when your patients and parents are in need of our services – we can’t wait to help them achieve these incredibly memorable steps in their children’s lives.

Want to read more? To view the entire April 2014 edition of The Lighthouse Beacon click here.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential