Speech Therapy at Lighthouse Autism Center

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

Speech Therapy at Lighthouse Autism Center

Autistic children often require a multi-faceted approach to therapy. As a result, Lighthouse Autism Center sought to refine our approach by offering speech therapy in conjunction with ABA therapy.

Speech Therapy at Lighthouse Autism Center

Autistic children often require a multi-faceted approach to therapy. Typically, a child will need a combination of therapies, including ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc. As a result, Lighthouse Autism Center sought to refine our approach to therapy by offering speech therapy in conjunction with ABA therapy.

What is speech therapy for autism?

Speech therapy is a crucial intervention that aids autistic children in improving their communication skills. Individuals with autism often face challenges in verbal and non-verbal communication, which speech therapy seeks to address. Speech therapy is an essential autism resource that focuses on enhancing an autistic child’s abilities to express and comprehend both verbal and non-verbal language. 

Furthermore, speech therapy can assist autistic children in developing speech pragmatics, which refers to the appropriate use of language in social situations. This includes understanding non-literal language, like sarcasm and irony, and using appropriate tone and intonation during interactions. Autistic children often struggle with social cues and may have difficulty understanding and expressing emotions effectively, making this an essential skill.

The connection between autism and speech therapy is vital as it can significantly improve the quality of life for autistic children, enhancing their social interactions and fostering independence. It is beneficial not only to autistic individuals but also to their families and communities, helping to foster healthy communication and providing caregivers with the tools and strategies needed to make daily interactions easier and more enjoyable.

How speech therapy supports ABA therapy

Speech therapy, which focuses on developing language and communication skills, complements ABA therapy, which uses positive reinforcement to encourage behavior changes. These therapies support and enhance the overall development of children with autism, specifically when practiced in conjunction. Consistent reinforcement in different contexts helps children generalize their communication skills beyond the therapy room into real-world settings. The collaboration can, therefore, provide a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach.

The challenge of multiple therapy requirements

Before moving to Lighthouse Autism Center, many families found themselves on a six- to eight-month waiting list for autism spectrum speech therapy services while their child was receiving ABA therapy. When they finally gained access to speech services, parents had to navigate the logistical challenge of transporting their child to multiple appointments throughout the week. Not only is this incredibly demanding on families, but it also results in children missing out on time they could have spent in ABA therapy.

The Lighthouse Autism Center Difference

As a center founded by parents, for parents, Lighthouse Autism Center decided to integrate speech therapy into our services by creating Lighthouse Fusion ABA therapy—an innovative approach to ABA speech therapy that combines the best practices of each modality into a unique clinical model that delivers improved outcomes for autistic children. It serves as a valuable autism tool for parents by creating a less stressful, more efficient approach while providing autistic children in need of autism speech therapy with the tools they need to reach their fullest potential.

Does your child have ABA and speech therapy needs?

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Tips for Shopping With Autistic Children in Overstimulating Environments 

The grocery store can be an overwhelming experience for autistic children. Here are tips for shopping with autistic children in overstimulating environments.

Autism-Friendly Shopping Tips for Overstimulating Environments

Everyday shopping, such as in a grocery store, might seem like a pretty straightforward experience to most, but for autistic children, it can be seriously overwhelming. Grocery stores are prime candidates for sensory overload, with bright lights, music, people, shopping carts, vegetable misters, and beeping registers all adding to what might already be a stressful outing. 

The way you approach everyday shopping can make a world of difference for you and your child. It does require some preparation, but it goes a long way to relieve undue stress. Of course, it is important to learn the signs of overstimulation with autism so that you can react in the right way, but by preparing yourself and your child for everyday shopping experiences, you will hopefully prevent any overstimulation from the start. 

Here are some helpful tips for sensory overload and how to avoid it when shopping. 

1. Be Proactive: Think About Your Child’s Sensory Experiences

It’s better to anticipate potential triggers than to hope for the best. Think about the elements that could cause your child distress. If you identify and understand these triggers, you can either help your child avoid them or create a plan to manage the situations that could lead to sensory overload. By thinking ahead, you can discover how to avoid sensory overload. Are the noises an issue? Bring headphones. Do they like touching everyone? Bring fidgets in the store with you.  

2. Stay Organized

You can start with a written schedule and a visual checklist for your child to follow along with. If you are organized, the shopping trip can proceed much more smoothly. While you might enjoy a trip to the mall and browsing for hours, limiting your time in the shops and getting only what you came for will help keep your child from feeling overwhelmed. Ensure that you write down what you need and get to those things and out of the store as quickly as you can. Think about going in order of the isles in a store you know and ensuring you aren’t running around the store.  

3. Make Multiple Shorter Tips to the Shops

If you’ve got a huge list of things to buy, it might be best to do it in little bits rather than in one go. So, instead of doing one big monthly shop, perhaps split it into weekly visits. This makes each shopping experience shorter and also gets your child used to visiting the grocery store and learning an important life skill that they will need in the future. 

4. Look for a Quiet Zone 

It’s beneficial to know how to deal with overstimulation in autism while shopping. For instance, find a quiet zone so that your child can catch a breather from the busy areas. Look for a less populated area in the shop and know this spot before you get there with your child. This will help if your child is experiencing sensory overload or is uncomfortable in any way.  

5. Bring a Sensory Toolkit 

A sensory kit can provide comfort while shopping. You could pack sensory items such as fidget toys, a favorite blanket, and headphones. The sensory kit can also help with self-regulation. Fidget spinners or soft toys can actually provide a comforting touch and promote a sense of security. 

6. Choose Stores Wisely 

Do some research on shops that prioritize inclusivity and understand the unique needs of autistic children. Look for stores that have a reputation for creating sensory-friendly environments. These environments could include softer lighting, well-organized spaces, and quieter atmospheres. Some stores have special carts for kids (and adults) with disabilities that help to contain them and keep them comfortable. 

7. Set Realistic Expectations

Realistic expectations are crucial for creating a positive experience. When you recognize that unexpected factors may influence your child’s behavior, you can be flexible in these situations and adjust accordingly. It is important to communicate with your child about the upcoming shopping trip: remember to use visual support or social stories to set expectations. Social stories are short descriptions of everyday situations that are depicted visually; you can run through them with your child before an activity or event in order to make it a less stressful experience for them. 

A good idea would be to break down the shopping excursion into manageable steps. If you’re open to embracing the possibility of minor challenges and seeing them as opportunities for growth, it could end up being a positive experience.  

8. Celebrate Small Victories

Be on the lookout for small victories that you can acknowledge and celebrate with your child and reinforce their efforts. This will establish a positive and supportive environment. Completing a shopping task should never be prioritized over your child’s well-being. Sometimes a successful trip to the store means getting one item and leaving on a positive note.  

9. Use Reinforcement and Praise 

Using positive reinforcement is an excellent way to make the shopping experience more pleasant for your child. Set small goals. Perhaps you could set a ten-minute timer and reward your child with a token after every ten minutes. They can then use their tokens to ‘buy’ something before you leave the store or exchange them for a reward when you get home. 

Don’t forget to praise your child when they do well at the store, too. This means that they feel comfortable in their environment, or they use healthy coping mechanisms that they have learned to get through the shopping experience. It’s important to remember that this can be an extremely overwhelming experience for them, so visual praise will go a long way to creating a more positive experience for you both. 

Lighthouse Autism Center

Dealing with autism overstimulation during a shopping trip requires a combination of understanding, preparation, and supportive strategies.  

Speaking to an autism specialist can guide you on the best choices to make for your autistic child. At Lighthouse Autism Center, we have programs such as Lighthouse Fusion ABA Therapy to assist both parents and their autistic children. Our autism tools for parents can help to relieve the stress that can come with shopping. 

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Lighthouse Autism Center to Open Two New Iowa Autism Centers!

Lighthouse Autism Center is Bringing Autism Therapy Services to Marion and North Liberty, Iowa

Lighthouse Autism Center (LAC) continues to expand, now with a network of centers in now five states – quite a journey from its humble beginnings serving four families in one building to now serving hundreds of families across five states for over a decade. It is truly amazing.  Our services to the Marion and North Liberty communities include ABA therapy, our unique approach to speech therapy called Lighthouse Fusion®, autism diagnostic testing, parent training, social skills group services, pre-academic learning, and more!

Marion and North Liberty Autism Center coming, Summer of 2024

Our newest play-based ABA therapy centers in Marion and North Liberty, Iowa makes 4 children’s Lighthouse autism Center’s to open in Iowa. These new centers are slated to open in the summer of 2024. Marion Autism Center will provide autism services to 25 families and create over 35 new jobs in the area and North Liberty Autism Center will provide autism services to 30 families and create over 45 new jobs in the area. 

With a mission of providing the highest quality autism services to children and families through our facilities, Lighthouse Autism Center has sought to do just that in Marion and North Liberty, Iowa. As the need for ABA services continues to grow, Lighthouse seeks to fill that need by expanding into facilities that can accommodate a larger capacity of learners, helping more families and children with autism, reach their goals.

Lighthouse Autism Center is the Midwest’s leading autism therapy provider

With beautiful child-lead autism therapy clinics that promote natural and play-based learning, and a team of highly trained and compassionate clinicians, Lighthouse Autism Center brings together compassionate care and clinical excellence to offer the highest quality ABA therapy to children with autism.

With a unique speech therapy model called Lighthouse Fusion®, children at Lighthouse are making greater progress, faster, all while having fun. While other ABA centers typically keep ABA and speech therapies separate, Lighthouse Fusion provides children with greater opportunity for speech development by fusing speech therapy directly into a child’s daily programing. We invite you to learn more here about how this innovative clinical model is helping to unlock each child’s potential. 

To learn more about Lighthouse Autism Center or enroll your child, contact our Family Outreach Coordinator at 402-534-1486 or visit our website.

Marion Center Contact Information

3297 Armar Drive

Marion, Iowa 52302

Family Outreach Phone: 563-526-0533

North Liberty Center Contact Information

5 Lions Drive

North Liberty, Iowa 52317

Family Outreach Phone: 563-526-0533

Don’t see an autism treatment center listed near you? Contact us and let us know the area you are in, and we will notify you when we have a center opening near you!

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.

Sensory Items for Autism – Lighthouse Autism Center

Sensory items for Autism can have profound benefits for Autistic children, including enhancing motor skills and providing comfort and calamity. Here are some of the best sensory toys to purchase.

A Guide to Sensory Items for Autistic Children 

Welcome to this safe and informative space where you can delve into the world of sensory items for Autism. The American Psychiatric Association added sensory sensitivities to the list of symptoms that help diagnose Autism in 2013. If your child is dealing with sensory issues, you should strongly consider getting sensory toys for Autism for them to play with. Other sensory items, such as a sensory weighted blanket, can also prove to be beneficial. What are sensory toys? These toys and items are specifically designed to stimulate a child’s five senses: sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight. These could include sensory lights or different textures.  

How Do Sensory Toys Help Autism

Many Autistic children can experience sensory processing differences, which can lead to sensory sensitivities or seeking behaviors. By having these toys and noise-canceling headphones, it can help regulate sensory experiences. It provides Autistic children with the chance to control and comfort themselves in these sensory environments. Children can begin to relax, focus, and calm down in these sensory scenarios or events. These toys and items can further help develop social learning skills such as planning, negotiating, and sharing. It is important to be aware that different sensory toys can help enhance different sensory experiences and developmental skills in Autistic children. Introducing sensory items into daily life can prove to be phenomenally beneficial to your child. 

Understanding Different Types of Sensory Issues and Challenges

Autistic children can be over or under-reactive to sensory stimuli. There are two broad types of sensory challenges that Autistic children could experience, namely, hyper-sensitivity and hypo-sensitivity.  


Hyper-sensitive children are overly responsive to stimulants. This is often referred to as “sensory overload.” Both extreme and regular stimuli, such as strong smells or bright lights, can make hyper-sensitive children feel overwhelmed.  


Hypo-sensitive children are under-responsive to senses and stimulants. For example, a child might have a low sensitivity to pain. They could also be under-responsive to body signals that affect balance control and physical coordination. Sensory weighted blankets and strong-tasting or textured foods are great stimuli for hypo-sensitive children.  

What Are the Best Sensory Toys for Autism?

Here are 10 recommendations for what to buy an Autistic child.  

1. Sensory Balls

Parents can purchase sensory balls so that children can engage with  

multiple senses, and enhance fine and gross motor skills while providing a wonderful calming tactile experience. Rolling, squeezing, or bouncing sensory balls can help to improve grip strength and coordination. You can find sensory balls in various textures and sizes. 

2. A Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets can be good for Autism-related anxiety. Thanks to the even distribution of weight, these unique blankets help to stimulate the production of serotonin and can reduce cortisol.  

3. Chewable Jewelry 

Autistic children can satisfy their oral sensory needs, reducing the urge to chew unsafe objects. Parents can buy chewable necklaces and bracelets that are made from safe, non-toxic silicone materials that children can safely chew on. This jewelry is made in a variety of textures, from ridges, dots, and patterns, or they can be smooth too. 

4. Fidget Spinners

You’ve most likely come across fidget spinners, as they have become quite popular in recent years. Fidget spinners are great for keeping children’s hands occupied. These small handheld devices have rotating child-friendly blades that offer visual and tactile stimulation.  

5. Kinetic Sand

This moldable, sensory play material sticks to itself but not to surfaces. Kinetic sand offers a soothing tactile experience and helps to encourage imaginative play for all children. It provides a calming sensory outlet for Autistic children. The ability to bend, mold, squish and cut these substances encourages them to explore and create freely with their hands. 

6. Noise-Canceling Headphones 

Noise-canceling headphones have been proven to be incredibly effective for Autistic children. Being overwhelmed audibly can cripple Autistic children. Noise-canceling headphones can help create a much more pleasant and quieter auditory environment. These headphones are great to have in crowded settings such as airports, malls, and classrooms. 

7. Vibrating Pillow

The smoothing motion and calm sound help to calm your child. Research also shows that vibrating sensory toys can help improve verbal initiations and responses in children. The gentle vibrations provide a comforting sensation which helps them regulate their sensory experiences. 

Lighthouse Autism Center

These sensory items can provide tactile stimulation, enhance auditory processing, and encourage motor skill development. Sensory development plays an important role in helping Autistic children. These powerful allies offer great comfort, empowerment, and a pathway to self-expression for Autistic children. Autism tools for parents are vital to support you and the unique needs of your child and family. Lighthouse Fusion ABA Therapy is amongst the programs that can enhance better outcomes for children with Autism.  

*Please refer to a licensed practitioner prior to implementing any of the above suggestions.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Lighthouse Autism Center Staff Spotlight: Gracie

Gracie’s Lighthouse Autism Center Journey

Gracie is a Registered Behavior Technician at our Daleville center and has been with Lighthouse Autism Center since June of 2023. She graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in childhood education. Gracie has one dog and two cats and enjoys spending time with her family, traveling with her husband and working out.

What made you decide to apply to Lighthouse?

While student teaching, I realized that I enjoyed working one-on-one with children rather than teaching a full class. When I saw the position at LAC, I was very excited to learn more!

What is your favorite part of working at Lighthouse Autism Center?

My favorite part of working for Lighthouse is watching the progress that all the learners in the center have made since I have began working! Watching them grow and learn new things everyday is so great. I am so thankful for all the wonderful staff at LAC as well. They are all so supportive and caring.

How would you describe your experience working for Lighthouse?

My experience working at Lighthouse has been nothing short of amazing. It is such a rewarding job that I am thankful to be a part of.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time here?

One of my favorite memories from my time at Lighthouse is when we had our fall festival. This was my first event at the center for all of the learners and their families. It was so great to be able to watch the families be able to enjoy a fun evening full of fall activities in a safe and welcoming environment! Not to mention seeing all of the children so happy to be there with their families! 

What advice you would like to share for those interested in a career at Lighthouse Autism Center?

Working at Lighthouse Autism Center is such a fun and rewarding job. There may be hard days here and there, but I believe it is best to stay positive and know that you are making the biggest difference in these children’s lives. 

Ready for a career where you can make a difference?

Consistency versus Chaos

Predictability and consistency with visual schedules, organized activities, and clear routines can help to reduce anxiety and support learning. Autistic children can thrive when parents or caregivers create structured environments.

Consistency Versus Chaos

In general, children thrive on routine. But for those with spectrum and developmental disorders, it becomes difficult to process all the sensory information that is coming at them. The world inundates us with billions of information bits that require processing on a second-by-second basis. There is information that comes in through our senses about the function and structure of everything one experiences. Qualities, movements, quantities, and objects are all processed simultaneously by the senses. When a child has a difficult time processing this information quickly, they may act out, start to withdraw from the world and retreat into a world of their own thoughts. 

Learning New Information

Pretend for a moment that you are sitting in a calculus class, and this is the very first time you are exposed to math. How long will you sit there before you understand what is being taught? It’s a safe bet to say for many that it would be a long time. At first, you would be so overwhelmed that you try to pay attention. However, slowly, you would stop. You might start looking around the room, doodling on some paper, or humming your favorite song in your head. The point is that very little of your attention will be directed at what is being taught, and instead, you retreat into the sanctuary of your own mind, where things are familiar and understandable. 

Conversely, now pretend that you are sitting in your very first calculus class, but before you got there, you learned everything needed to understand the class and be successful. Chances are pretty good that now you find the class more interesting. It holds your attention. 

The point here is that if you have acquired the skills needed to take the next step forward, you will be more willing to take it and have greater success at it. Now consider this reality for autistic children. 

When parenting an autistic child, we are often faced with the dilemma of whether or not we should add more structure to our child’s life. (This is true really of parenting children on and off the spectrum, but when parenting an autistic child, it has a different importance.) Deciding whether to create more routines for them to help them be more successful or to allow them to struggle so they can adapt to the world around them can be difficult. Let’s face it; the world stops for no one, and that isn’t going to change. Sensory processing disorder and autism can make it even more challenging to take in all these senses. Many of us set up visual schedules for our children to help make their lives easier. 

Visual Schedules and Autism

The real question is, do we adapt structures and schedules for our children, or do we start to teach them the real world? 

There is no clear answer. However, adding structure helps when you want to teach an alternative skill or introduce a new or complex activity. But why are visual schedules important for autism? A visual schedule structure helps make information processing easier for the child. There is a time and place for adding structure. Adding structure means that there are pre-requisite skills or other skills that are important to teach. 

Whenever you plan on adding structure, keep in mind that it should always point to a plan of decreasing that structure in the future so that your child can get used to the unpredictability of the world. A structured environment should never be the goal. Once the pre-requisite skills are learned, the structure needs to be decreased. Yes, this can create some temporary turmoil, but if you do it correctly, it will help teach new skills in a more natural environment. 

How To Create a Visual Schedule 

Creating a visual schedule for autistic children can help enhance their understanding and organization when it comes to daily activities. Virtual parent training can help identify key activities in the child’s routine. It’s important to remember that autistic children are often visual learners, so pictures of the tasks may help them better understand what they are asked to do. A visual card with a picture for each step will outline the rules of the activity to make it easier to understand. When the child completes the task, remove the picture card from sight so that they know the step is completed. When it is time to teach a new skill, add more structure. As the skill is learned and mastered, the structure can be faded. 

The Benefits of Structured Play

A structured environment for people with autism provides many benefits, including:  

  • Building coordination and strength. 
  • Increasing fine motor skills. 
  • Learning new tasks through instruction. 
  • Helping a child develop turn-taking and self-regulation skills. 

Of course, there should be a balance between unstructured and structured environments. The autism tools for parents can help you create an equal amount of both structured and unstructured play activities, as both can help a child’s social, emotional, and physical environment.  

Routine and Autism

A daily schedule can benefit autistic children in so many ways. It can help them foster stability and comfort in their lives. Some of the more prominent benefits that a routine can foster include:  

  • Reducing stress and power struggles: When an autistic child becomes more familiar with their surroundings and expectations, these routines can help them navigate their life with more confidence. 
  • Improving motivation and cooperation: It can help reduce stress levels, which can ultimately lead to strengthening existing skills and being receptive to learning new ones. 
  • Creating an environment of security and comfort: Autism and sensory issues go hand in hand. It can be overwhelming for autistic children to make sense of new sounds, behaviors, or events. By creating a secure environment, order is established, allowing children to excel in comfort. 
  • Consistency: With autism, consistency is key to an effective, productive routine. Parents or caregivers should complete every step in their routine in the same order. Once the child is consistent with their routine, changing things can cause them to become upset. 

It is vital to remember that autistic children all learn differently. This is why it is important to consult with an autism specialist to understand what skills your child has, what needs to be developed, and how your child learns. A team of dually certified clinicians designed the Lighthouse ABA fusion therapy to help parents. You can find out if this approach would suit your child. 

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

6 Questions Parents of a Child with Autism May Have

Here are a few common questions that parents may have about autism. These questions and answers can help you with your autistic child. 

6 Questions and Answers for Parents of an Autistic Child

Hey there, parents! Do you have a range of questions about your child’s recent autism diagnosis? You’ve probably been searching far and wide for the necessary answers. Well, this article is a go-to guide with six questions many parents of autistic children may have. Consider this information as autism parent support, where all the knowledge is provided to you. 

1. How can I make doctor/dentist appointments easier on my child to avoid tantrums?

There are several things parents can do to make these necessary visits as easy as possible. Simple things such as buying play stethoscopes or creating picture books can go a long way. If you own an iPad or iPhone, you guessed it: “There’s an app for that,” it is called iPrompts, a visual program for autistic people. 

Walk your child through what is going to happen at the visit so they understand what to expect before getting there. The same is true for dental visits. It may take multiple visits before your child will actually sit in the dentist’s chair, but you can help them get comfortable enough to tolerate most of these visits. You can also talk to your child’s doctor or dentist about extending the time of visits so you child can adjust to the setting and people.  

2. How can I tell when something is hurting my child when they’re nonverbal?

According to Rebecca Landa, the director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute located in Baltimore, “We know that autism is a multisystem disorder. When it’s not evident that there’s a certain body system not working as it should, we have to look to other indicators. Any time there’s an alteration in a child’s behavioral pattern, this could tell us something we need to be paying attention to medically.” This is why it’s important to know if your doctor works with other autistic patients. In the case of nonverbal autism symptoms, doctors can adopt a personalized and holistic approach to ensure the child’s comfort during these visits. 

3. With so many support groups out there, how do I know which one to join?

Autism resources for parents are definitely available. Your doctor should at least know of a few nearby support groups to recommend. The key to joining a support group of any type is to make sure you are joining a group of people who have accepted the issue (in this case, the diagnosis of autism) and are making an effort to move forward. The goal of a support group is to do just that: offer support and different perspectives on how to handle issues as they happen. You want to be able to get insight from parents who have been where you are so that they can offer tips on how to get through the phase you are in. Autism tools for parents can ensure you are equipped with the necessary information and know the correct places to seek guidance. 

Support groups and support networks are important. Your doctor should be able to offer you a list of local support groups. 

4. How can I learn all I can about autism to help my child, and what are some trusted sources?

While it’s impossible for any individual to know about all the content on the internet or have a list of every reliable source out there, there are a few credible sources your doctor should be able to direct you to. These reliable sources will undoubtedly lead you to other trusted sites. Programs such as virtual training for parents can ultimately guide you to reputable people and institutions.  

The most reliable websites are those that are government sites or educational sites. For example, PubMed Health and Autism Society are credible sites that offer resources to parents and people with autism. 

5. How can I keep everyone involved in my child’s care on the same page?

Communication and collaboration is essential because it is a team effort when it comes to making sure that the therapists, doctors, and educators are all working together. Some websites allow parents to set up an account and have the doctors, therapists, teachers, and caregivers all log on to talk about the child. You can also keep a journal. You can ask one of the persons involved to be the “case manager,” but make sure you choose someone who understands your child’s condition and treatment plan and is respected by the other people on the “team.” Most professionals have their own ethical obligations, depending on their specific speciality area, that require them to collaborate with other clinicians who work with the same child.  

6. How do I help my other children understand their autistic sibling?

Your doctor should encourage you to have your child’s siblings participate in the therapy sessions if appropriate, or atleast understand the types of therapy their sibling is in and what they are working on. Sometimes, resentment or anger can build because other children do not understand the behavior of autism in siblings. One way that you can help all of your children is to seek out therapy that involves all of your kids. It is important to include your other children, but not force them to participate. Taking the time to explain autism to their siblings will help your other children understand that their siblings’ differences are a natural part of their personality. It will help promote acceptance and lessen confusion. Your autistic child will also be able to learn appropriate social cues through the example of their siblings, and it helps your other children feel as though they are a part of the child’s care. 

Lighthouse Autism Center

When it comes to autism and parenting, Lighthouse Autism Center provides the highest quality ABA therapy services to ensure your child gets the best possible care. Find out about the Lighthouse Fusion ABA Therapy and more to help your child. 

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

What is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst?

Board Certified Behavior Analysts play an important role in supporting Autistic children and their families as they learn to navigate the world.

What is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst?

In the complex world of behavioral science and Autism, the role of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) definitely stands as a beacon of expertise and positive transformation. In this article, you will get to demystify the definition of a BCBA and shed light on the comprehensive skill set and ethical considerations that need to be adhered to. 

Defining the Role of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst

When it comes to Autism, and more specifically, ABA therapy, you often hear many acronyms for various individuals, procedures, and protocols. Today, we are talking about BCBA’s, or, Board Certified Behavior Analysts. If your child receives ABA therapy, you should have worked with a BCBA, or if you are in the field of behavioral health services, you may have encountered BCBAs.   

What makes someone a BCBA?

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst is an individual who has received their master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis or equivalent program, has clinically supervised experience working in the field of behavior analysis, and has passed the BCBA certification exam. They are highly trained individuals who are considered experts in the field of behavior analysis. BCBA’s are also required to participate in ongoing continuing education training throughout their careers. Most states now require that all BCBA’s are licensed by the state to practice.  

What Do Board Certified Behavior Analysts Do?

During your research on Autism, you may have come across and wondered, what does a BCBA do exactly? If your child attends an ABA center or receives ABA therapy, their program has been written and is overseen by a BCBA. They are able to assess children who already have an Autism diagnosis and determine what programs will help your child learn new skills, refine previously learned skills, and navigate problem behaviors. These plans are individualized and unique to each learner and family. 

BCBA’s at Lighthouse Autism Center

At Lighthouse Autism Center, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts are full-time, virtual and center-based individuals who are highly involved in the day-to-day activities of our centers. They have small caseloads, so they are able to spend time each week with every single child they oversee programming for, ensure ongoing training of 1:1 therapists, as well as consistently review and update programs to ensure children are achieving the best possible outcomes. 

BCBA’s at Lighthouse Autism Center are invested in the success of each child and want to help them achieve the best quality of life. They are hands-on and encourage parents to be heavily involved in goal-setting for their children. They also work with parents to give them the tools to follow through with therapy at home and increase their preparedness to help their children if they are experiencing problem behavior. They will also review a child’s progress every few weeks with parents and caregivers to keep them informed and provide an opportunity to discuss any new programs a parent might want to see for their child. 

Your BCBA will work with your child’s Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) as well as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) in Lighthouse Autism Center’s unique co-treat sessions, called Lighthouse Fusion ABA Therapy. This is an innovative approach to Autism therapy that fuses the best practices of ABA and speech therapy into a one-of-a-kind clinical model that delivers better outcomes for children with Autism. Lighthouse Fusion is designed by a team of dually certified clinicians, some of only a handful in the world. 

Now that you know what BCBA stands for, you can learn more about Board Certified Behavior Analysts by visiting the Behavior Analyst Certification Board

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Lighthouse Autism Center Partners with South Bend Police and Fire Departments to provide Autism Training

LAC to Provide Autism Training to the City of South Bend

Police and Firefighters in the city of South Bend, Indiana will attend a new training provided by Lighthouse Autism Center in early 2024 to help them better serve individuals with autism during crisis.  The training is meant to help emergency responders with techniques for approaching and building rapport, communication, de-escalation and safety. These skills will help first responders to determine what actions to take to better communicate and to help bring an individual with autism to safety. Similar to this training, Lighthouse has provided autism training to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and many other community organizations and healthcare providers!

Community Education at Lighthouse Autism Center

Lighthouse Autism Center offers a community education program that works with any local community organization or healthcare provider who is looking to better understand how to support and advocate for those with autism. Sessions are led by our highly experienced team of Board Certified Behavior Analyst’s (BCBA’s) and involve information on the signs and characteristics of autism, and appropriate interactions and de-escalation techniques. These trainings are tailored to specific organizations such as first responders, police departments, medical facilities, libraries, collage healthcare programs, and more. Participants are invited to ask our clinical team about specific situations or questions, and Lighthouse offers a free autism resource kit with each presentation. This kit includes materials that may help individuals on the spectrum meet their sensory needs and aid in communication. This is just one of the ways Lighthouse is pursuing it’s mission to “positively impact individuals with autism and those that care for them,” by bringing awareness to autism, educating parents and caregivers on the signs of autism, and giving the communities we serve the tools to foster an environment of inclusivity and acceptance of neurodiversity.

Autism Friendly Certification

As part of Lighthouse’s commitment to community education, Lighthouse is also in the final stages of designing an Autism Friendly Certification program for local organizations looking to train their teams on skills and techniques for interacting with and supporting individuals with autism. This program will be free to community organizations and will include both online training modules as well as live training sessions with clinical team members.

To request an Autism Training, submit a form here: https://lighthouseautismcenter.com/request-a-training-form/

ABA and Speech Therapy at Lighthouse Autism Center

ABA Therapy principles have been applied since the early 1960s to both children and adults with various developmental diagnosis. Since then, there has been an evolution and improvement in the therapy techniques used in ABA, however, the core teaching of ABA has stayed the same. ABA is scientifically validated, and data driven and consistently shows the best outcomes for children with autism.

At Lighthouse Autism Center, we offer the highest quality ABA and speech therapy in a beautiful, play-based environment. With an innovative speech therapy model called Lighthouse Fusion®, children are making greater progress, faster, all while having fun. Children are immersed in imaginary spaces where they can naturally explore their interests, engage in sensory experiences, and practice language. Each child’s progress can be seen in smiles and laughter, because we know children learn best when they’re having fun.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

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