Autism Minute Episode 1

Therapy room at Lighthouse Autism Center with toys on a table with blue chairs and book shelves above

Autism Minute Episode 1

Developing a Night Time Routine for Your Child with Autism

The first episode of the Autism Minute is presented by Katie Meyer, a BCBA at our Warsaw center. Her video describes how to create a night time routine for your child, to help them get to bed faster and stay asleep longer.

Hi, I’m Katie Meyer. I’m a Program Manager at Lighthouse Autism Center in our Warsaw location. I have worked at Lighthouse for over three years and I am a parent myself to two girls who are three and five years old. I developed a passion for applied behavior analysis in my Undergrad in college and chose to pursue a Master’s Degree from Ball State University. I have been Board Certified since February of 2014 and one of my favorite parts about working as a Behavior Analyst is helping parents at home make those more difficult tasks just a little bit easier.
Today we’re going to talk about the importance of a bedtime routine for kids who have autism. Often, when we have new kids start at Lighthouse, parents report that their child does not sleep through the night, follow any sort of bedtime routine or has difficulty falling and staying asleep. Well, this is not uncommon for kids who have autism. There are strategies to help your child have a better night’s sleep and develop a routine for getting ready for bed.
After developing a routine with your child, you should be able to help your child fall asleep faster, experience less nighttime wakening and you could also potentially help your child be more alert during the day due to obtaining more sleep. For kids without bedtimes, it’s very difficult to implement a bedtime routine with a new sleep time if this is done abruptly. The first step in developing a routine is to first identify what time your child is falling asleep most nights. This time could be late. Even 11:00 or 12:00 at night.
The second step is identifying an ideal time you want your child to fall asleep. With the idea that this will be your target time for bed. Next you’ll want to build a routine of four to five steps that you begin to follow every night, with each step taking five minutes at most with the majority of time being spent in bed, reading with mom and dad or just looking at a book with pictures.
For example, you can set the routine thirty minutes before the child’s current bedtime. Have your child go potty, brush their teeth, put on pajamas, then read a book with mom or dad. The first time you implement this routine, you will begin thirty or minutes or so before their current bedtime and start roughly ten minutes earlier after a week of starting at that current time until you get to the desired bedtime for your child.
Before starting the routine each night, give your child a thirty minute warning that it is almost time to begin the bedtime routine. Give your child this warning again at twenty, ten and five minutes before bed. Once you begin working through the steps of your nighttime routine, continue doing so until it is finished and do not allow any interruptions. If your child refuses to stay in bed at the end of the routine, you should engage in what we can an extinction procedure.
You’ll do this by putting your child back in bed, tucking them back in and saying, “It’s time for bed.” You should not say anything else to your child at this time and you should walk back out of the room. If your child continues to get out of bed, continue to use this same procedure until they stay in bed and fall asleep. Keep in mind, you will likely see this behavior increase for a few days before it works and it will take many tries until your child finally falls asleep on their own.
To wrap up, by developing a routine for your child, you could potentially help them fall asleep faster, get more rest at night and improve their alertness throughout the day due to getting more sleep. By following these steps, you can begin a nighttime routine with your child. Identify their current bedtime. Establish a desired bedtime. Make a routine of four to five steps. Give your child a thirty minute warning before beginning the routine.
Thirty minutes before their bedtime, go through the established nightly routine. Follow through with the routine by engaging in the extinction procedure if necessary. Finally, move up bedtime by ten minutes once a week until the desired bedtime is achieved. Check out our website at for a copy of this presentation as well as links to resources that could help you.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Discovery Toys

Developmental Toys for Children with Autism

Discovery Toys is committed to bringing fun, safe and developmentally appropriate toys and products to children and adults of special needs and on the autism spectrum. Children with developmental disabilities, like all children, develop at a unique rate and pattern of development. Our products have useful applications for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

For those unfamiliar with Discovery Toys, this is a company that provides quality toys for children from newborns all the way up to school age. The company was founded by a group of educators and parents who firmly believed in the power of education through play. The toys they create are meant to encourage imagination, and inspire learning.

2022-23 Autism Toy Chart 32323

A unique aspect of Discovery Toys is their “Autism Toy Guide,” a list of hundreds of toys that are specifically designed to promote learning for children with autism. They have a chart that breaks down the toys by their function, with categories such as “toys that promote sustained engagement,” “toys that encourage pretend play,” and “toys that build skills for cooperative play.” This is a great resource for therapists, teachers and parents alike. To learn more about Discovery Toys and the Autism Toy Guide, visit

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Lighthouse Autism Center Happy Hour

Some of our staff enjoying drinks and apps at the company Happy Hour!
Some of our staff enjoying drinks and apps at the company Happy Hour!

This past Thursday, Lighthouse Autism Center hosted a Happy Hour for our Mishawaka employees at Bar Louie near the University Park Mall. These happy hours are hosted several times each year for all of our centers as a way to treat employees and thank them for their hard work and dedication. This is a great way for staff to relax, socialize, and get together outside of work.  We like to think this is just one of many things that sets us apart from other employers.

Our next happy hour will be next month in Warsaw at BW3’s for all of our Warsaw center employees!

Ready for a career where you can make a difference?

Stages Learning Materials

About Stages Learning

For parents and professionals alike, Stages Learning Materials is a great resource for those caring for someone with autism. Started by an ABA Therapist  in the late 1990’s, it is now one of the leading sellers of autism related learning resources. Perhaps the most popular is the Language Builder Series an important tool for teaching things like receptive labeling, matching and sorting, and something that we do use here at Lighthouse Autism Center with many of our kids. The top-selling autism education product, the Language Builder Picture Cards, was designed to specifically meet the learning needs of children with autism. The research-based Language Builder Series has become a staple in home and school programs around the world and Stages Learning is now the premier developer of learning tools for children with autism. To learn more about what Stages Learning Materials has to offer, visit their website at

Stages Learning Products

All products are created to stimulate learning at each stage of language development. They feature beautiful real-photo images to capture a child’s attention and engage their minds. Research demonstrates that children with autism are highly visual and literal learners, and these tools support learning strengths.

The photo-based flashcard sets, games, puzzles and posters offer a broad assortment of images to teach a wide range of language skills. The card series provide opportunities to teach identical pre-language matching, categorization and learning similarities. Their work is based on 20 years of experience in helping children learn language skills and new research on digital learning technologies and instructional design also informs their tool development.

To learn more about what Stages Learning Materials has to offer, visit their website at

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

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