Exploring North Liberty, Iowa: Kid-Friendly Activities for Family Fun

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

Exploring North Liberty, Iowa: Kid-Friendly Activities for Family Fun

Nestled in the heart of Iowa, North Liberty offers a wealth of opportunities for families seeking memorable outings with their children.

Whether you’re a local resident or just passing through, here are some fantastic kid-friendly activities to explore in this charming city:

Penn Meadows Park

Penn Meadows Park is a hub of activity for families year-round. During the warmer months, kids can enjoy expansive playgrounds, splash pads, and open green spaces perfect for picnics and games. The park also features walking trails, sports fields, and a skate park, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

North Liberty Community Library

The North Liberty Community Library isn’t just a place for books—it’s a hub of creativity and learning for children of all ages. With engaging story times, craft sessions, and educational programs throughout the year, the library encourages exploration and fosters a love for reading and discovery in young minds.

Parks and Recreation Programs

North Liberty Parks and Recreation offers a variety of programs tailored to children of different ages and interests. From youth sports leagues to art workshops and summer camps, these programs provide opportunities for kids to learn new skills, make friends, and stay active throughout the year.

Ice Cream and Treats

Treat your little ones to a sweet indulgence at one of North Liberty’s local ice cream shops or bakeries. Whether it’s homemade ice cream, freshly baked cookies, or decadent cupcakes, these spots are sure to delight taste buds and create lasting memories.

Outdoor Adventures at Coralville Lake

Just a short drive from North Liberty, Coralville Lake offers outdoor adventures for families who love nature. Pack a picnic, rent a boat or kayak, and spend the day exploring the scenic lake shores, hiking trails, and wildlife-rich surroundings.

Local Events and Festivals

Keep an eye on North Liberty’s event calendar for family-friendly festivals and community events. Whether it’s a Fourth of July celebration, a holiday parade, or a cultural festival, these events often feature activities, games, and performances that children of all ages will enjoy.

Indoor Play Centers

When the weather isn’t cooperating, North Liberty offers indoor play centers where kids can burn off energy and have fun. These venues typically feature bounce houses, climbing structures, and arcade games, providing hours of entertainment rain or shine.

Discover Family Fun in North Liberty

From parks and libraries to ice cream shops and community events, North Liberty, Iowa, is brimming with opportunities for family-friendly adventures. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or looking for everyday activities, this welcoming city promises to create lasting memories for you and your children. Embrace the spirit of exploration and enjoy all that North Liberty has to offer—it’s a journey filled with smiles, laughter, and cherished moments together as a family.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Navigating Autism Support in The Quad Cities & Iowa

A Comprehensive Guide to Resources and Groups in the Quad Cities and Iowa

Lighthouse Autism Center proudly serves the vibrant communities in and around the Quad Cities area. With centers located in East Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Clinton, Marion, and North Liberty, Iowa, we’re dedicated to extending our reach far beyond geographical boundaries. At Lighthouse, our mission goes beyond providing exceptional clinical care – we’re committed to being a beacon of support and resources for families navigating the journey of autism.

The Quad Cities, situated along the majestic Mississippi River, is a unique metropolitan area encompassing five cities: Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline in Illinois. This dynamic region is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning riverfront views. From lively festivals and cultural events to outdoor recreation and family-friendly attractions, there’s always something exciting happening in the Quad Cities. Whether you’re exploring the historic downtown districts, taking a scenic stroll along the riverfront trails, or enjoying a performance at one of the local theaters, the Quad Cities offers a diverse array of experiences for residents and visitors alike. With a strong sense of community pride and a thriving economy, the Quad Cities continues to be a cherished destination for all who call it home.

Are you or someone you love navigating the journey of autism? Finding support and resources can make all the difference. Whether you’re in East Moline, Illinois, or Davenport, Clinton, Marion, or North Liberty, Iowa, there are numerous organizations dedicated to offering assistance and guidance. Here’s a curated list of some of the most valuable autism support groups and resources in the region:

ACEing Autism

ACEing Autism is a national organization that provides unique tennis programs tailored for children with autism. In Moline, IL, ACEing Autism aims to enhance the lives of children on the autism spectrum through the sport of tennis. By offering structured tennis sessions, the program helps children improve their social skills, motor skills, and physical fitness. Each session is designed to be fun and engaging, ensuring that participants not only develop a love for tennis but also gain valuable skills and confidence. The program is staffed by trained volunteers who are committed to making a positive impact on the lives of these children and their families.

Autistic & Loved

Autistic & Loved is a heartfelt initiative dedicated to supporting individuals with autism and their families. Specializing in chewable jewelry and meaningful gifts, the organization creates products that cater to the sensory needs of autistic individuals while celebrating their uniqueness and promoting acceptance. Their offerings provide comfort and a sense of belonging, reinforcing the message that individuals with autism are cherished and valued. Through their products and advocacy, Autistic & Loved aims to foster a supportive and inclusive community for those on the autism spectrum.

Autism Collective

The Autism Collective is an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive support for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families. It serves as a centralized resource, offering a wide range of services including diagnosis assistance, therapy options, educational support, and community integration programs. The Autism Collective aims to bridge gaps in autism care by connecting families to the necessary resources and support networks, ensuring that each individual receives tailored assistance to thrive. Their mission is to create a cohesive and inclusive environment where individuals with autism can achieve their fullest potential.

Autism Navigator

Autism Navigator is an extensive online resource designed to provide valuable information and tools for understanding and managing autism spectrum disorders. The platform offers a wealth of evidence-based resources, including courses, video tutorials, and interactive tools, aimed at helping parents, caregivers, and professionals support individuals with autism. By leveraging cutting-edge research and expert insights, Autism Navigator facilitates early detection, intervention, and ongoing support, making it an essential guide for anyone involved in the autism community.

Autism Society of Illinois

The Autism Society of Illinois is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families throughout Illinois. The organization provides a range of services including advocacy, education, support groups, and resources to help navigate the challenges associated with autism. By fostering awareness and understanding, the Autism Society of Illinois aims to create inclusive communities where individuals with autism can thrive. Their mission is to ensure that all people with autism have the opportunity to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.

Autism Society of the Quad-Cities

The Autism Society of the Quad-Cities is a local chapter committed to supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families in the Quad-Cities area. The organization provides valuable resources, advocacy, and educational programs designed to enhance the quality of life for those affected by autism. Through support groups, community events, and informational workshops, the Autism Society of the Quad-Cities fosters a supportive and inclusive environment. Their efforts aim to increase awareness, understanding, and acceptance of autism within the community.

Autism Society of Iowa

The Autism Society of Iowa is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families across Iowa. The organization provides essential resources, support, and advocacy to ensure individuals with autism can lead fulfilling lives. They offer educational programs, support groups, and community events aimed at fostering awareness and understanding of autism. Through their comprehensive services, the Autism Society of Iowa works to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for people with autism and their families.

Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is a prominent advocacy organization focused on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Founded in 2005, it has become a leading voice in raising awareness, advancing research, and advocating for individuals and families affected by autism. The organization provides resources, support services, and conducts campaigns to enhance understanding and acceptance of autism within society. Autism Speaks has been influential in shaping public policy and fostering community support for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Autism Support of Central Illinois

Autism Support in Central Illinois (ASCI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources and support for individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Central Illinois region. Established to promote awareness and understanding of autism, ASCI offers a variety of services including advocacy, educational workshops, support groups, and community events. Their mission is to empower individuals with autism and their families by connecting them to resources and fostering a supportive environment that promotes inclusion and acceptance within the community.

The Adult Autism Group (TAAG)

The Adult Autism Group (TAAG) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting adults on the autism spectrum. Based in Massachusetts, TAAG aims to empower individuals with autism through various programs and services tailored to their unique needs. They provide opportunities for social interaction, skill development, advocacy, and community engagement. TAAG also advocates for greater awareness and acceptance of autism in adulthood, aiming to improve the quality of life and promote independence for adults on the spectrum.

The Arc of Illinois

The Arc of Illinois is a statewide advocacy organization committed to promoting the rights and supporting the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families. Founded in 1950, The Arc of Illinois provides a wide range of services including advocacy, public policy initiatives, educational resources, and support networks. Their mission is to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve full inclusion and participation in their communities, and to ensure access to services and opportunities that enhance their quality of life.

The Arc of Quad Cities Area

The Arc of the Quad Cities Area is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families in the Quad Cities region of Illinois and Iowa. Established to promote independence, inclusion, and advocacy, The Arc provides a range of services including residential support, employment assistance, recreational activities, and educational programs. Their mission focuses on enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities through community engagement, support networks, and promoting awareness and acceptance.

Behavioral Health and Intervention Services (BHIS) – Heart and Solutions

Behavioral Health and Intervention Services (BHIS) at Heart and Solutions is an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive support and therapy for individuals facing behavioral health challenges in Iowa. They specialize in offering evidence-based interventions that address various behavioral and emotional needs. BHIS aims to empower clients and families by promoting positive behavior changes and enhancing overall well-being through personalized treatment plans. Their services include skill-building, therapy sessions, and support aimed at improving daily functioning and quality of life.


CHADD, which stands for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals affected by ADHD. Founded in 1987, CHADD provides support, education, and advocacy for children, adults, parents, and professionals dealing with ADHD. The organization offers resources such as informational articles, webinars, conferences, and local support groups to help individuals better understand ADHD and navigate its challenges. CHADD also advocates for policies that promote awareness, research, and effective treatments for ADHD across the United States.

Child and Family Connections

Child and Family Connections (CFC) is a network of agencies in Illinois that provides early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities, as well as support for their families. CFC assists families in accessing resources and services that promote the child’s development and help integrate them into community life. They collaborate with parents and caregivers to create individualized plans tailored to the child’s specific needs. CFC aims to enhance early childhood development and improve outcomes for children with disabilities by fostering a supportive and nurturing environment.

Community Choices

Community Choices is a nonprofit organization based in Illinois that provides support services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Established to promote independence and community integration, Community Choices offers a range of programs including residential services, vocational training, and day programs. Their mission is to empower individuals with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives by offering personalized support that enhances their quality of life and promotes inclusion within the community.

CTF Illinois

CTF Illinois is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support and services for individuals with developmental disabilities in Illinois. Established in 2003, CTF Illinois operates residential homes and day programs designed to promote independence, community integration, and quality of life for people with disabilities. They offer personalized care plans, vocational training, recreational activities, and therapeutic services tailored to meet the diverse needs of their clients. CTF Illinois strives to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve their full potential and live meaningful lives within their communities.

Discover Self Community

Discover Self Community (DSC) is a nonprofit organization based in Illinois, dedicated to providing support and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Established to promote independence, inclusion, and empowerment, DSC offers a variety of programs and supports including residential services, day programs, employment opportunities, and recreational activities. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities by fostering a supportive environment that encourages personal growth and community engagement. DSC is committed to advocating for the rights and needs of individuals with I/DD, ensuring they have access to the resources and opportunities necessary to thrive.

Embrace Autism (Adults)

Embrace Autism (Adults) is an organization dedicated to supporting adults on the autism spectrum. Based on their website, they focus on providing resources and guidance specifically tailored to the needs of adults with autism. Their mission is to empower individuals with autism to live fulfilling lives by offering information, strategies, and community support. Embrace Autism (Adults) aims to foster understanding and acceptance of autism in adulthood while advocating for inclusive opportunities and improving quality of life through their specialized services and initiatives.

Family Matters PTIC

Family Matters Parent Training and Information Center (FMPTIC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting families of children with disabilities and special healthcare needs in Illinois. Established to empower parents and caregivers, FMPTIC provides information, training, and resources to navigate the complex systems of education, healthcare, and community support. They offer workshops, one-on-one consultations, and access to a wealth of educational materials designed to help families advocate effectively for their children’s needs. FMPTIC aims to strengthen family engagement in decision-making processes and promote positive outcomes for children with disabilities through informed and empowered parenting.

Family Resiliency Center

The Family Resiliency Center’s Autism Program at the University of Illinois focuses on research and community outreach to support families affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Their mission includes conducting innovative research to improve understanding of autism and its impact on families, as well as providing evidence-based interventions and resources. The program collaborates with families, professionals, and community organizations to enhance resilience and promote well-being for individuals with autism and their families.

Family Voices Illinois

Family Voices Illinois is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for children and youth with special healthcare needs and disabilities, as well as their families. Their mission is to empower families by providing support, information, and resources to navigate healthcare systems, educational services, and community support networks effectively. Family Voices Illinois offers a range of services including peer support, training, workshops, and advocacy to ensure families have the tools and knowledge to advocate for their children’s health and well-being. They collaborate with healthcare providers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to promote policies and practices that enhance the quality of life for children with special healthcare needs.


FindHelp.org is an online platform that connects individuals in need with essential social services and resources. The website provides a comprehensive directory of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and community-based programs across the United States. Users can search for assistance in various categories such as food, housing, healthcare, financial support, and more, based on their location and specific needs. FindHelp.org aims to streamline access to vital services and empower individuals and families to find the support they require quickly and efficiently.

Four Oaks Cedar Rapids

Four Oaks Cedar Rapids is part of Four Oaks Family and Children’s Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support and resources for children, youth, and families in Iowa. They offer a wide range of programs and services including foster care, adoption, residential treatment, behavioral health services, education support, and family support programs. Four Oaks Cedar Rapids focuses on enhancing the well-being and stability of children and families through innovative and effective solutions that address their unique needs.

Full Spectrum Agency for Autistic Adults

Full Spectrum Agency for Autistic Adults is an organization dedicated to supporting autistic adults in the United States. They focus on providing services and resources that promote independence, community integration, and well-being for autistic individuals. The agency offers personalized support plans, vocational training, social skills development, and advocacy to empower autistic adults to lead fulfilling lives. Full Spectrum Agency for Autistic Adults emphasizes understanding and respecting neurodiversity while striving to create inclusive environments where autistic individuals can thrive.

Hand-in-Hand/Tessa’s Place

Hand-in-Hand/Tessa’s Place is a nonprofit organization based in the Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa, dedicated to providing comprehensive services for individuals with disabilities. They offer a variety of programs including day habilitation, residential services, community integration, vocational training, and therapeutic activities. Hand-in-Hand/Tessa’s Place aims to enhance the quality of life and promote independence for individuals with disabilities by fostering a supportive and inclusive environment. Their services are designed to meet the unique needs of each individual, empowering them to participate actively in their community.

  • Location: Bettendorf, IA
  • Contact: (563) 332-8010
  • Website: Hand-in-Hand

Illinois/Iowa Center for Independent Living

The Illinois/Iowa Center for Independent Living (IICIL) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with disabilities in Illinois and Iowa. They provide a wide range of services to promote independence, including advocacy, peer support, skills training, information and referral, and assistive technology resources. IICIL works to eliminate barriers and ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities to participate fully in community life. Through their programs and initiatives, IICIL strives to enhance the quality of life and foster inclusion for individuals with disabilities across both states.

Iowa Compass

Iowa Compass is a resource center that provides information and referral services for people with disabilities in Iowa. Operated by the University of Iowa, Iowa Compass offers a comprehensive database of disability-related resources including services, programs, and supports available statewide. Their mission is to connect individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers to relevant resources and assistive technology solutions. Iowa Compass also offers advocacy support and guidance to help individuals navigate the complex systems of healthcare, education, and community services effectively.

  • Location: Iowa City, IA
  • Contact: (800) 779-2001
  • Website: Iowa Compass

Special Olympics Illinois/Iowa

Special Olympics Illinois/Iowa is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. They offer a variety of sports programs designed to promote physical fitness, build confidence, and foster friendships among participants. Special Olympics Illinois/Iowa operates through local chapters and volunteers who organize events, competitions, and fundraising activities throughout the year. Their mission is to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential and achieve personal success through sports training and competition.

Moline Challenger League

The Moline Challenger League provides opportunities for children with special needs in the Quad Cities area to participate in baseball. It is a division of the Little League Challenger Division, offering a supportive environment where children with physical and developmental disabilities can enjoy the sport of baseball. The league emphasizes inclusivity, teamwork, and fun, providing a structured yet flexible approach to accommodate various abilities. Through their programs and activities, the Moline Challenger League aims to promote physical activity, social interaction, and positive experiences for all participants and their families.

Para Taekwondo

Para Taekwondo, affiliated with Dum Yon Martial Arts, focuses on providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in Taekwondo. The program aims to promote physical fitness, self-defense skills, and personal empowerment among participants. Para Taekwondo offers specialized training tailored to accommodate various abilities and disabilities, fostering an inclusive environment where all individuals can develop their martial arts abilities. Through their programs and support, Para Taekwondo encourages confidence, discipline, and community engagement for people with disabilities.

  • Contact: Master Doug Fuechsel (970) 319-8313
  • Website: Para Taekwondo

Prairieland Service Coordination Inc.

Prairieland Service Coordination Inc. (PSCI) is a nonprofit organization based in Illinois, dedicated to providing service coordination for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). PSCI assists clients in accessing and navigating various services and resources that promote independence, inclusion, and quality of life. They work closely with individuals, families, and community providers to develop personalized plans that meet the unique needs of each client. PSCI aims to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve their goals and maximize their potential within their communities.

Regional Autism Assistance Program (RAP) – Iowa

The Regional Autism Assistance Program (RAP) in Iowa, operated by Children’s Health Services Inc. (CHSI), provides essential support and resources for individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). RAP offers comprehensive assistance including diagnostic evaluations, educational workshops, individualized treatment plans, and access to community resources. The program collaborates with healthcare professionals, educators, and service providers to ensure coordinated care and effective support for individuals with ASD throughout Iowa. RAP’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum by promoting understanding, acceptance, and access to necessary services.

Skyline Center Inc.

Skyline Center Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Dubuque, Iowa, dedicated to providing services and support for individuals with disabilities. They offer a variety of programs including residential services, vocational training, community employment support, day programs, and recreational activities. Skyline Center aims to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve independence, inclusion, and personal growth. They collaborate with local communities and businesses to create opportunities and promote integration for their clients.

Specialized Care for Children

Specialized Care for Children (SCC) is a statewide program based at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children with special healthcare needs in Illinois. SCC provides care coordination, financial assistance, and resources to families navigating complex medical systems. They assist with accessing necessary healthcare services, equipment, and therapies for children with chronic conditions or disabilities. SCC collaborates with healthcare providers, educators, and community organizations to ensure comprehensive support for children and their families.

The Play Project

The Play Project is a comprehensive early intervention program designed to support children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. Based on the DIR/Floortime model, The Play Project focuses on promoting developmental progress through structured play and interaction. The program provides training and support to parents and caregivers, empowering them to engage effectively with their child and facilitate social, emotional, and cognitive growth. By emphasizing play-based strategies, The Play Project aims to enhance communication skills, sensory integration, and overall development in children with autism.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics – The Autism Center

The Autism Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) is dedicated to providing comprehensive care and support for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. They offer a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management of autism, including behavioral interventions, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and medical consultations. The Autism Center conducts research to advance understanding and treatment of autism, while also providing educational resources and support for families and caregivers. Their mission is to improve outcomes and quality of life for individuals with autism through integrated healthcare services and innovative research.

Vera French Community Mental Health Center

Vera French Community Mental Health Center is a nonprofit organization based in Davenport, Iowa, specializing in providing comprehensive mental health services. They offer a wide range of programs including outpatient therapy, crisis intervention, residential treatment, and community support services. Vera French is committed to promoting mental wellness and improving the quality of life for individuals and families in the Quad Cities area. They strive to enhance access to mental health care through advocacy, education, and collaboration with community partners.

This comprehensive guide offers a wealth of resources for individuals with autism and their families in East Moline, Illinois, and Iowa. Whether seeking support for children, teens, or adults, these organizations are dedicated to providing the necessary services and creating a more inclusive community.

These resources offer a wide range of support, from therapy and advocacy to recreational activities and educational opportunities. Whether you’re seeking information about diagnosis, therapy options, or community events, these organizations are here to help. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey – reach out and discover the support that’s available to you.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Navigating Autism with Support: The Vital Role of the National Autistic Society

In a world that’s constantly evolving, where diversity is celebrated and inclusivity is championed, organizations like the National Autistic Society (NAS) stand as pillars of support and advocacy for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Since its inception in 1962, the NAS has been at the forefront of providing vital resources, guidance, and a unified voice for the autism community across the United Kingdom.

Understanding Autism:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurological condition that affects individuals in various ways. From differences in social communication and interaction to unique patterns of behavior and interests, autism presents itself uniquely in each person. The NAS recognizes this diversity and works tirelessly to promote acceptance, understanding, and support for individuals of all ages on the autism spectrum.

Supporting Families:

One of the cornerstones of the National Autistic Society’s mission is to provide unwavering support to families navigating the complexities of autism. From the moment of diagnosis and throughout the lifespan, families often face a myriad of challenges—from accessing appropriate educational and healthcare services to understanding and managing behaviors associated with autism. The National Autistic Society offers a lifeline through its extensive range of services, including information and advice helplines, online resources, training workshops, and local support groups. These resources not only empower families with knowledge and strategies but also create a sense of community and belonging in a journey that can sometimes feel isolating.

Advocacy and Awareness:

Beyond direct support, the National Autistic Society plays a crucial role in advocating for the rights and needs of individuals with autism at a national level. Through lobbying efforts, campaigns, and policy initiatives, the National Autistic Society works tirelessly to influence positive change in areas such as education, employment, healthcare, and accessibility. By raising awareness and challenging misconceptions surrounding autism, the National Autistic Society strives to create a society where individuals with autism are valued, respected, and given equal opportunities to thrive.

Empowering Individuals:

At the heart of the National Autistic Society’s mission is the empowerment of individuals with autism. Through various programs and initiatives, the National Autistic Society helps individuals develop essential skills, build confidence, and pursue their aspirations. Whether it’s through employment support services, social groups, or specialized training programs, the National Autistic Society equips individuals with the tools they need to lead fulfilling and independent lives. By promoting self-advocacy and celebrating the strengths and talents of individuals on the autism spectrum, the National Autistic Society fosters a culture of acceptance and inclusion.

Looking to the Future:

As the understanding of autism continues to evolve, so too does the work of the National Autistic Society. With a commitment to innovation, collaboration, and listening to the voices of those they serve, the National Autistic Society remains steadfast in its mission to create a world where autism is understood, accepted, and celebrated. Through their dedication and unwavering support, the National Autistic Society continues to be a beacon of hope and a source of strength for the autism community, both now and for generations to come.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Unlocking Autism Support In Nebraska

Community Resources for Families and Caregivers of Children with Autism in Nebraska

Raising a child with autism comes with unique challenges and joys. Lighthouse autism center is committed to helping families of children with autism, beyond our doors. At Lighthouse, we’re not just providing therapy services; we’re supporting each child on their unique autism journey. Lighthouse is dedicated to supporting the Nebraska community though our new autism centers in Kearney, Lincoln Indian Village, Lincoln South, Omaha West and South Sioux City.

For families and caregivers in Nebraska, navigating these challenges can be made easier with the help of various community resources tailored to support them in their journey. From advocacy groups to therapy programs and recreational activities, Nebraska offers a wealth of support networks. Below is a comprehensive guide to some of the valuable resources available.

Advocacy and Support Groups

  1. Answers4Families: Serving as a hub for information and support, Answers4Families provides valuable resources for individuals with autism, caregivers, and professionals alike.
  2. Autism Action Partnership: This organization focuses on education, advocacy, and support for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, ensuring they can fully integrate into the community.
  3. Autism Society of Nebraska: With a commitment to advocacy, education, and community-building, ASN provides vital support to Nebraska’s autism community.
  4. Autism Speaks: Dedicated to promoting solutions for individuals with autism and their families, Autism Speaks offers support across the spectrum and throughout life.
  5. Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN): AWN provides a safe space for autistic individuals and those of marginalized genders, offering community support and resources.
  6. The Arc – Nebraska: The Arc Advocacy Network provides essential information, referral, and advocacy services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
  7. National Autism Association: The National Autism Association (NAA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. Founded in 2003, the NAA provides advocacy, resources, and educational programs aimed at improving the lives of those with autism. The organization focuses on promoting safety, raising awareness, and addressing the urgent needs of individuals with ASD.

Educational and Training Resources

  1. AFIRM (Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules): AFIRM offers free online training and education for individuals with autism, caregivers, and medical/mental health professionals.
  2. Autism Partnership Foundation: Providing free online training, the Autism Partnership Foundation offers resources for individuals seeking to understand the basics of autism.
  3. Learn from Autistics: This platform bridges the gap between parents and autistic voices, promoting autism advocacy and understanding.

Therapy and Intervention Programs

  1. Boys Town Speech-Language Clinic: Offering pediatric speech and language therapy, this clinic provides essential services for children with communication challenges.
  2. Camp Munroe (Munroe-Meyer Institute): A summer program focused on recreational play and social interactions, Camp Munroe offers a supportive environment for children with autism.
  3. Easterseals Nebraska: Easterseals provides a range of services to support children and adults with disabilities and their families, including therapy and support programs.
  4. MMI Feeding Therapy: The Munroe-Meyer Institute offers pediatric feeding therapy for children with feeding disorders, addressing a crucial aspect of their development.
  5. Starfish Swimming Therapy through Munroe-Meyer Institute: This aquatic therapy program offers children with disabilities the opportunity to improve their physical abilities in a supportive environment.

Recreational and Social Activities

  1. Munroe Meyer Adaptive Sports: Providing opportunities for children with developmental disabilities to learn sports skills, this program promotes physical activity and social inclusion.
  2. Soccer Shots (Omaha): Through fun games and positive reinforcement, Soccer Shots introduces children to the joy of playing soccer and being active in a team setting.
  3. Special Olympics Nebraska: Special Olympics offers year-round sports training and competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities, fostering physical fitness and social connections.
  4. We Rock the Spectrum: An indoor gym providing social groups and sensory activities, We Rock the Spectrum offers a supportive environment for children on the autism spectrum.
  5. ZnZ Gymnastics: Offering gymnastics classes for children of all ages and ability levels, ZnZ Gymnastics promotes physical activity and skill development in a inclusive setting.

Support Services and Referral Networks

  1. findhelp.org: This database connects individuals with resources across the country, making it easier to find local support services.
  2. Help Me Grow – Nebraska: Help Me Grow connects families with local community resources and provides valuable child development information.
  3. Independence Rising: Working with consumers to achieve their community-based living goals, Independence Rising serves 50 counties in Central and Western Nebraska.
  4. Nebraska Early Development Network: Providing early intervention services for families with children aged birth to three, this network connects families to essential services for developmental delays and healthcare needs.
  5. PTI Nebraska (Parent Training and Information): PTI Nebraska offers training and support to families of children with disabilities or special healthcare needs, empowering them to navigate the challenges they may face.
  6. Safe in Home: Offering remote support services aimed at promoting independent living for individuals with disabilities, Safe in Home provides a safe environment covered under the Medicaid waiver.
  7. Nebraska Home Society: The Nebraska Home Society (NHS) is a non-profit organization based in Nebraska, USA, committed to providing essential services and support to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Established in 1893, NHS has a long history of offering a range of programs and resources tailored to the unique needs of people with developmental disabilities, including intellectual and physical disabilities. Their services encompass residential care, vocational training, educational programs, and community integration initiatives.

Additional Resources

  1. OAR (Organization for Autism Research): Providing valuable resources, including sex education for self-advocates, OAR supports individuals with autism in various aspects of their lives.
  2. Vanderbilt TRIAD (Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders): Offering free training opportunities and an Autism Resource Line, Vanderbilt TRIAD connects families with valuable resources and support.
  3. Autism Navigator: Offers information about autism, resources, and a video glossary to help understand key autism symptoms and treatment approaches.

With these diverse resources and support networks available throughout Nebraska, families and caregivers of children with autism can access the assistance and guidance they need to navigate their journey with confidence and resilience. From educational resources to therapy programs and recreational activities, these community resources play a vital role in empowering individuals with autism to thrive and fully participate in their communities.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Lighthouse Autism Center Staff Spotlight: Meg

Meg’s  Lighthouse Autism Center Journey

Meg is a Clinical Apprentice at Lighthouse Autism Center – Jenison and has been with Lighthouse Autism Center since October 2021. Meg started at Lighthouse Autism Center in Kalamazoo West as a senior/desk trainer and then moved to Jenison in August 2023. She graduated with a bachelor’s from Grand Valley State University and is currently pursuing her masters in ABA from Ball State University. In Meg’s free time, she is an avid reader and loves being with her friends and family. She has two adorable nephews who are her absolute favorites to spend her weekends with. 

What made you decide to apply to Lighthouse?

I originally applied to Lighthouse Autism Center as I had only heard good things and I knew I had a passion working with and for others. At Lighthouse, I knew I would be a part of a compassionate environment that fosters joy, growth, and greater choices for all involved. 

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

The people at Lighthouse make it what it is. They consistently promote acceptance, kindness, and are so quick to celebrate every win for everyone. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by passionate, hardworking teams at both Kalamazoo West and Jenison. At Kalamazoo West, I got to work side-by-side with some of the best people and continue to have this privilege at Jenison. Additionally, both centers’ clinical teams have afforded me opportunities to continue learning, growing, and becoming my best self. I’ve tremendously enjoyed getting to work under Dani Boden at both centers and continue growing professionally and personally under her guidance. Every individual that I have been able to work alongside and each learner I have meet have been the best parts of LAC. 

How would you describe your experience working for Lighthouse?

My experience at Lighthouse has been empowering and has brought growth, celebrations, and challenges. It is a demanding job, but it is so rewarding and fulfilling. I feel fortunate that I get to come to work at LAC.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time here?

Throughout my time at LAC, I have collected so many favorite memories. Every gain my learners make that I get to celebrate, so much laughter and fun with coworkers, and getting to learn and work with Ana Nunez-Palmieri at Kalamazoo West. It’s hard to choose just one favorite moment, but one of my first learners graduation stands out and will remain special to me forever.

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

My advice for anyone interested in starting a career at LAC is that if you have a passion for working with children to help promote greater choices and joy, no matter your past work experiences, to come with patience and a willingness to learn. Some days will be more challenging than others, but at the end of every day when you’ve put your best self forward, you’ve made a lasting difference to your learners and their families. 

Ready for a career where you can make a difference?

Exploring Lincoln, Nebraska: Kid-Friendly Activities for a Memorable Family Adventure

In the heart of the Midwest lies Lincoln, Nebraska, a city bursting with charm and a plethora of family-friendly activities. From animal encounters to interactive museums, Lincoln offers something for every young adventurer. The Lincoln Children’s Zoo provides an up-close look at exotic animals, while the Lincoln Children’s Museum sparks creativity and imagination through hands-on exhibits. Nature lovers can explore the trails of Pioneers Park Nature Center, while car enthusiasts can rev their engines at the Museum of American Speed. For a tranquil escape, the Sunken Gardens offer a picturesque retreat, while the Haymarket Farmers’ Market provides a vibrant taste of local culture. With the upcoming opening of two autism centers by Lighthouse Autism Center, Lincoln is poised to become an even more inclusive destination for families. Whether you’re a local or a visitor passing through, Lincoln, Nebraska, promises endless opportunities for unforgettable family adventures.

LAC is Preparing to Open Two Autism Centers in Lincoln Nebraska: Explore Everything the Community Has to Offer

Exciting news is on the horizon for families in Lincoln, Nebraska, as Lighthouse Autism Center announces the upcoming opening of two autism centers in the area. With a commitment to providing exceptional care and support for individuals on the autism spectrum, Lighthouse Autism Center brings its renowned services to the heart of Lincoln. These new centers will offer specialized programs tailored to meet the unique needs of each child, providing a safe and nurturing environment where they can thrive. From personalized therapy sessions to innovative educational resources, Lighthouse Autism Center is poised to make a meaningful difference in the lives of families affected by autism in the Lincoln community.

Lincoln, Nebraska is where Midwestern charm meets vibrant cultural experiences! Known for its rich history, friendly locals, and plethora of family-friendly activities, Lincoln offers a treasure trove of adventures for kids and parents alike. Whether you’re a local looking for new spots to explore or a visitor passing through, here’s a curated list of kid-approved activities to make your time in Lincoln truly memorable.

Lincoln Children’s Zoo

Let’s kick off the list with a visit to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, a delightful destination where kids can get up close and personal with a variety of animals. From playful otters to majestic lions, this zoo offers immersive experiences that engage and educate children of all ages. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to feed the giraffes or take a ride on the zoo’s colorful train!

Pioneers Park Nature Center

Nature-loving families will appreciate the wonders of Pioneers Park Nature Center. With miles of scenic trails winding through prairies, woodlands, and wetlands, this nature center provides endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Kids can learn about local wildlife, observe birds in their natural habitat, and participate in educational programs designed to foster a deeper appreciation for the environment.

Museum of American Speed

Rev up your engines and take a trip to the Museum of American Speed, a paradise for car enthusiasts of all ages. Featuring an impressive collection of vintage race cars, hot rods, and classic automobiles, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of American automotive history. Interactive exhibits and hands-on activities make learning about cars fun and engaging for kids.

Lincoln Children’s Museum

Get ready for hours of interactive fun at the Lincoln Children’s Museum, where imagination knows no bounds. From climbing through a giant treehouse to exploring a kid-sized grocery store, this museum encourages creative play and exploration. With exhibits designed to stimulate curiosity and learning, children can immerse themselves in a world of endless possibilities.

Sunken Gardens

Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Sunken Gardens, a botanical oasis nestled in the heart of Lincoln. Bursting with vibrant flowers, lush greenery, and tranquil water features, this beloved attraction offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Kids will love running through the maze of pathways and discovering hidden nooks and crannies within the garden’s enchanting landscape.

Haymarket Farmers’ Market

Experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of local culture at the Haymarket Farmers’ Market, held every Saturday morning in downtown Lincoln. Browse a diverse array of fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and delectable treats while soaking up the lively atmosphere. With live music, food trucks, and activities for kids, this vibrant market is a must-visit destination for families.

Haymarket Park – Baseball Stadium

Haymarket Park is the home field of the Lincoln Saltdogs and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.  Whether you have a group of 10 or 10,000, Haymarket Park has viable options to accommodate your event needs.  The Pepsi Home Run Terrace and Picnic areas are great for birthday parties with friends and family, as well as corporate and fun company outings.  Located just west of Interstate 180 and Memorial Stadium, and just north of the Historic Haymarket area, the Haymarket Park sports complex creates a visually appealing gateway to the Star City.  With a pedestrian walkway connecting the stadium complex to both the Haymarket and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, the stadium is a convenient addition to the downtown area.  Haymarket Park has been host to dozens of concerts including Bob Dylan, Def Leppard, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson.

Morrill Hall

Embark on a journey through time at Morrill Hall, the premier natural history museum in Nebraska. Home to fascinating exhibits on dinosaurs, fossils, and ancient civilizations, this museum offers a captivating learning experience for children and adults alike. Kids can dig for fossils, touch real dinosaur bones, and marvel at the wonders of the natural world.

Ice Cream at Ivanna Cone

Treat your taste buds to a scoop of homemade goodness at Ivanna Cone, a local favorite for delicious ice cream and sorbet. With unique flavors like lavender honey and cinnamon caramel swirl, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Situated in the historic Haymarket district, this charming ice cream shop is the perfect place to indulge in a sweet treat after a day of exploring.

Lost in Fun!

Lincoln’s top destination for children’s birthday parties, family or group get-togethers, and daycare outings with 13,000 square feet of FUN! Lost in Fun is your outdoor playland… indoors! The facility features bounce houses, a Fun Maze, a Lazer Maze, a foam pit, a basketball court, playsets, an arcade, and great food! Come see the new EyePrize game and jumping pillow! Your pass lets you play for the entire day. Adults are FREE.

From animal encounters to hands-on learning experiences, Lincoln, Nebraska, offers a diverse array of kid-friendly activities guaranteed to delight the whole family. So pack your bags, gather your little adventurers, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the heartland of America! Lincoln is home to a variety of top-rated attractions, both inside and out. With an expansive trail system, vibrant music venues, unique museums and more, Lincoln has something for everyone to enjoy. View a comprehensive list at Visit Lincoln to find more attractions in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

2024 Autism Awareness Scholarship Winner!

Congratulations to our 2024 Autism Awareness Scholarship Recipient

In 2020, Lighthouse Autism Center established the Lighthouse Autism Center Autism Awareness scholarship. This scholarship is intended to provide financial assistance to an individual enrolled at a college or university as an undergraduate student in their junior or senior year, preferably in an area that we currently serve. While we had many impressive applications, Nicole Peixoto was selected as the awardee for this scholarship. Nicole is majoring in Psychology and working towards obtaining a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification at the University of South Florida. Nicole then plans to pursue a master’s degree in Behavior Analysis from Florida Institute of Technology.

About Nicole Peixoto

I grew up in Brazil, and have taught myself English in my spare time, so I decided I wanted to teach English to other Brazilians willing to learn. This idea terrified me because it would require me to speak publicly, but I knew to overcome my fears, I had to challenge myself. I found a start-up online in need of English teachers to volunteer in their summer program, so I applied and successfully passed the interview. Here I was able to tutor English twice a week to teenagers from all over Brazil. This experience was life-changing for me because with the teaching and public speaking experience, I was able to land a job only four months later at a language center as an ESL (English as a Second Language) Teacher. As I gained responsibility and realized how many people I was helping, I felt more accomplished, and my confidence grew.

Overcoming these challenges has made me strive for more so I then decided to leave my country alone in search of a better academic future, where I can study what I am most fascinated about: psychology. With the money I made as an ESL teacher and later working with children in a bilingual school in my city, I was able to pay for my student visa and airplane ticket, and with the support of my parents, I embarked on my education journey in the United States.

In my community college years, I volunteered at my local elementary school, helping in first-grade classrooms where I worked as a teacher assistant helping first-graders to read and write. Moreover, followed by my love for personal development, I became the Vice President of Scholarship in the Chi Epsilon chapter of PTK (Phi Theta Kappa). In our general meetings, I would talk about the professional development courses we had for PTK members and show them scholarship opportunities they could apply for. I would also help students to succeed in their academic careers by offering to help with their resumes. In addition, I became a grief facilitator and volunteered at an organization called New Hope for Kids, helping grieving children cope with the loss of one of their loved ones.

In September of 2023, I started volunteering at OCA, where I would help children with developmental disabilities gain independence. After four months of helping in their early intervention program, I was offered a job as a direct care staff, which is my current role. My job inspired me to become a BCBA, and I am currently working toward getting an RBT certification.

Working with adults and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder evoked a passion for the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. In the Fall of 2024, I will be transferring to the University of South Florida to pursue a Bachelor in Arts in Psychology and I will work toward getting a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification. Following this, I plan on pursuing a master’s degree in Behavior Analysis from Florida Institute of Technology. After considerable personal growth, I have realized that my main purpose in life is to transform others’ lives.

I hope that one day in the future I will grow to become a Behavior Analyst and work directly with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder by implementing behavioral programs that can have a positive impact in their future. I have come to realize this is the perfect career for me because it combines my love for teaching and education with my passion for human behavior, and I could not be more grateful for my current job and past experiences. 

Learn more about the Autism Awareness Scholarship

Lighthouse Autism Center Sponsors Sensory Room at Beacon Medical Group, Pediatrics Bristol Street

Leading ABA Provider Sponsors Sensory Room at Beacon Medical Group, Pediatrics Bristol Street to help support children on the autism spectrum.

Partnering with Beacon Medical Group, Pediatrics Bristol Street

Lighthouse Autism Center, renowned for its expertise in center-based Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, has recently unveiled an exciting partnership with Beacon Medical Group, Pediatrics Bristol Street, located in Elkhart, Indiana. This groundbreaking collaboration promises to enrich the experience for families by introducing a dedicated sensory room designed to cater to the specific needs of children with autism and other sensory disorders. This initiative reflects Lighthouse Autism Center’s commitment to extending its support beyond its own centers, exemplifying its status as a leader in the field of ABA therapy in the Midwest.

Through this partnership, families attending Beacon Medical Group, Pediatrics Bristol Street will now have access to a haven where sensory stimulation is carefully tailored to enhance comfort and promote engagement for children with autism during appointments and check-ups. As a cornerstone of the community, Lighthouse Autism Center not only delivers unparalleled center-based autism services but also collaborates with community-centric organizations like Beacon Medical Group. Together, they champion initiatives such as sensory rooms, fostering inclusivity and support for individuals with autism both within and outside their facilities. This partnership underscores a shared dedication to enhancing the quality of life for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, reflecting a broader commitment to compassion and understanding within the community.

Lighthouse Sponsored Sensory Room

Lighthouse Autism Center has proudly championed the establishment of a sensory sanctuary within Beacon Medical Group, Pediatrics Bristol Street, dedicated to providing invaluable support to children on the autism spectrum. The primary objective of this nurturing space is to cultivate a haven of safety and tranquility, catering to the needs of children who may experience sensory overload and require a space for decompression during their office visit. Painted in the serene and inviting hues characteristic of all Lighthouse Autism Center locations, this room is thoughtfully adorned with an array of sensory tools and aids meticulously selected to facilitate interaction and communication with children on the autism spectrum.

With an unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity and empowerment, Lighthouse Autism Center endeavors to extend the reach of education and understanding throughout our communities, particularly in support of children navigating the complexities of the autism spectrum. By spearheading initiatives such as this sensory room, Lighthouse Autism Center exemplifies its dedication to enhancing the quality of life and promoting holistic well-being for individuals with autism, advocating for a world where every child is celebrated and supported on their unique journey of growth and development.

About Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders–caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. Within this spectrum, individuals grapple with an array of challenges ranging from communication hurdles to social complexities and repetitive behaviors, each manifesting in unique and nuanced ways. In the United States, an alarming statistic underscores the prevalence of autism, with an estimated 1 in 36 children falling on the spectrum, highlighting the urgent need for widespread awareness and support initiatives.

Despite the growing recognition of autism’s prevalence, many children continue to be diagnosed later in life, often after the age of 4, despite the potential for reliable diagnosis as early as age 2. This delay in diagnosis underscores the critical importance of early intervention and heightened awareness to ensure timely access to essential resources and support networks. By fostering a deeper understanding of the complexities of autism and advocating for early detection and intervention, we can collectively strive towards a more inclusive and supportive society, where individuals on the autism spectrum are empowered to thrive and contribute their unique perspectives to the world.

Beacon Medical Group, Pediatrics Bristol Street

The teams at Beacon Medical Group Pediatrics Bristol Street and Rieth Boulevard specialize in providing comprehensive care to infants, children, adolescents, and young adults, and is committed to preventive medicine as well as serving the needs of your sick child. Their dedicated medical staff works closely with Beacon Health System hospitals as well as nationally recognized children’s hospitals in Chicago, Indianapolis and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Headquartered in South Bend, Indiana, with 20 specialized partners and more than 7,000 associates throughout the region, Beacon connects you with the care you and your family need to be your very best. That takes expertise. We are the regional leader in comprehensive, integrated services — from childbirth and pediatrics to cancer, trauma, heart and vascular, stroke, orthopedics and sports medicine, surgery, mental health and so much more. Learn More Here.

Lighthouse Community Education

Lighthouse Autism Center also has a scheduled training with the staff at Beacon Medical Group Pediatrics Bristol Street, in early June to help them better serve patients with autism. Staff at Beacon Medical Group, Bristol Street can apply that understanding to patients who may come in for care. These skills will help the staff to determine what actions to take to better communicate and to help make a child with autism the most comfortable.

Along with partnering with local organizations and events, Lighthouse Autism Center is working hard to bring education to our local communities. Lighthouse Autism Center offers free training to 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 trained and experienced team of BCBA’s and involves information on the signs of autism, 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, and more. Participants are invited to ask our clinical team about specific situations or questions, and we offer a free autism resource kit with each presentation.

Lighthouse Autism Center is now offering an Autism Friendly Certification – New for 2024! Lighthouse provides your organization with a virtual training course and quiz to gauge retention and understanding of program materials. Following completion of the course, a Lighthouse clinician hosts a virtual Q&A with your organization, and you will receive an ASD Friendly Badge to place on your business/organization’s front door. Certification must be renewed yearly.

About Lighthouse Autism Center 

Headquartered in Mishawaka, Indiana, Lighthouse was founded in 2012 parents of a child with autism.  Over the past 12 years, Lighthouse has grown into a leading center-based provider of ABA therapy for children on the autism spectrum, with a network of centers across Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. By offering an innovative clinical model called Lighthouse Fusion in a natural, play-based environment, Lighthouse brings together compassionate care and clinical excellence to unlock each child’s unique potential. For more information about Lighthouse, visit the company’s website at www.lighthouseautismcenter.com.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Lighthouse Autism Center Staff Spotlight: Marie

Marie’s  Lighthouse Autism Center Journey

Marie, a dedicated Registered Behavior Technician, proudly serves at Lighthouse Autism Center – Elkhart South, bringing her unwavering commitment to excellence since joining the team in April 2023. Hailing from the vibrant southern suburbs of Illinois, her journey into the field of autism care began with a foundation laid at Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, where she graduated with distinction in 2020. With a deep-seated passion for making a difference in the lives of individuals with autism, Marie’s presence exemplifies the compassionate spirit and professionalism that defines Lighthouse Autism Center’s mission.

What made you decide to apply to Lighthouse?

When I applied for the position to be an RBT in 2023, I did it with a question mark over my head, but I went into it with an open mind and open heart. Although I had no knowledge about the job and didn’t know that there were opportunities like this, I took that leap of faith to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

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

My favorite part about working for Lighthouse is being able to work with these precious learners that walk into our center daily. I love that I can see them improve in areas they need help in and also being that person that can care for them as much as I can. 

How would you describe your experience working for Lighthouse?

My overall experience at Lighthouse has been an eye-opener. I say this because when I started working here, I lived by two slogans: “open mind and open heart” and “CAP.” CAP stands for Compassion, Acceptance, and Patience. In order to have an open mind and open heart, you have to be willing to give compassion to your learner and love them as if they were your own. Secondly, you have to be accepting of how they are and what comes with your learner. Lastly, you have to have patience with your learner; patience is the key to success. 

Do you have a favorite memory from your time here?

I 100% know there are memories being made daily because we are what will be remembered in the long run, and the memories we make with the kids are long-term as well. But to fully answer that question, my favorite memory has by far been every moment I spend with my learners. Seeing their growth makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something just as much as they have. 

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

My advice to someone looking to be in the RBT field: just be yourself, be optimistic, keep your head held high, and if you start something, be sure to put your best foot forward every time. Being an RBT has by far been the best experience of my life, and it comes with lots of perks and learning experiences as well. 

Ready for a career where you can make a difference?

LAC Opens New Center in Marion, Iowa!

ABA Therapy Center is Now Open in Marion, Iowa

Lighthouse Autism Center (LAC) has embarked on an extraordinary journey of growth, blossoming from its modest origins of supporting just four families under one roof to evolving into a sprawling network of centers across five states. Over the span of more than a decade, our commitment to excellence has enabled us to touch the lives of hundreds of families, spanning across four states. It’s a testament to our unwavering dedication and the trust placed in us by the community. Our array of services is as diverse as it is comprehensive, encompassing not only ABA therapy but also our innovative Lighthouse Fusion® speech therapy, autism diagnostic testing, invaluable parent training, engaging social skills group sessions, pre-academic enrichment programs, and much more. As we continue to expand our reach, our mission remains steadfast: to illuminate the path towards brighter futures for individuals and families impacted by autism spectrum disorders.

Our newest play-based ABA therapy center is now open, our third center to open in Iowa, providing autism services to 25 children and their families and creating over 35 new jobs in the area. 

Our mission is to provide the highest quality autism services to children and families by opening our newest autism center near you. Lighthouse Autism Center has committed to continuing our mission in Marion, Iowa as the need for ABA services continues to grow. Lighthouse is determined to fill that need by opening new children’s autism centers in underserved locations with facilities that can accommodate a larger capacity of learners, helping more families and children with autism, reach their goals.

Autism Center for speech and language

Lighthouse Autism Center is the Midwest’s leading autism therapy provider. With beautiful facilities 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 563-526-0533 or visit our website.

Marion Center Contact Information

3297 Armar Drive

Marion, Iowa 52302

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.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD

Let’s explore the similarities and differences between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder as well as other diagnoses that may be comorbid with autism.

What Is Autism?

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder that affects communication, behavior, and social interaction.

Here are some key points about autism:

  • Diverse Spectrum: Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning it manifests differently in each individual. Some people with autism have exceptional abilities in specific areas, while others face challenges in communication and social interactions.
  • Social Communication Difficulties: People with ASD may struggle with understanding social cues, maintaining eye contact, and interpreting nonverbal communication. They might prefer routines and find changes distressing.
  • Sensory Sensitivities: Many individuals with autism experience heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli (such as lights, sounds, textures). This can lead to sensory overload or meltdowns.
  • Special Interests: Autistic individuals often develop intense interests in specific topics. These interests can be a source of joy and expertise.
  • Early Intervention Matters: Early diagnosis and intervention can significantly improve outcomes for children with autism. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral interventions are essential.

Debunking Myths About Autism

Autism Is Not Caused by Vaccines: Numerous studies have debunked the myth that vaccines cause autism. The scientific consensus supports vaccination as safe and crucial for public health.

Supporting Autistic Individuals

Acceptance and Understanding: Acceptance and understanding are vital. Educate yourself about autism, challenge stereotypes, and promote inclusion.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Here’s what you need to know:

Three Subtypes:

  • Inattentive Type: Difficulty focusing, organizing tasks, and following through.
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: Restlessness, impulsive behavior, and difficulty waiting.
  • Combined Type: A combination of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.

Challenges in School and Work: Individuals with ADHD may struggle with academic tasks, time management, and maintaining attention during lectures or meetings.

Treatment Options

  • Behavioral Therapy: Helps develop coping strategies and organizational skills.
  • Medication: Stimulants (like methylphenidate or amphetamine) can improve focus and impulse control.

Myths and Facts About ADHD

  • Myth: ADHD is just an excuse for laziness.
  • Fact: ADHD is a neurobiological condition that requires understanding and support.

Supporting Individuals with ADHD

Structured Environment: Clear routines, visual schedules, and minimizing distractions can be helpful.

Patience and Compassion: Understand that impulsivity and forgetfulness are part of the condition.


ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD) can indeed be comorbid. Let’s explore this further:

Overlap and Co-Occurrence

Research suggests that there is a significant overlap between ADHD and autism.

Some studies estimate that 30-80% of individuals with autism also exhibit symptoms of ADHD.

Conversely, a substantial number of individuals with ADHD may also display traits associated with autism.

Shared Features

  • Both conditions involve difficulties in attention, focus, and impulse control.
  • Social communication challenges are common in both ADHD and autism.
  • Language delays.
  • Fixated interests or topics.
  • Sensory sensitivities and repetitive behaviors can be present in both groups.

Differentiating Factors

While there are similarities, there are also distinct features that help differentiate the two:

  • ADHD: Primarily characterized by attention difficulties, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
  • Autism: Involves broader social communication difficulties, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors.

Clinical Assessment

Diagnosing comorbidity requires a thorough clinical assessment by a qualified professional.

It’s essential to consider the individual’s unique presentation and symptoms.

Treatment Considerations

When both conditions coexist, treatment planning becomes more complex.

Tailored interventions may address specific challenges related to attention, social skills, and sensory issues. Some of the behavior therapy strategies to address ADHD symptoms in ABA include:

  • Social skills groups
  • Alarms/Timers
  • Breaking tasks into smaller parts
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Organization strategies (picture scheduled, limiting clutter)
  • Preferential seating
  • Token boards for task completion.
  • Increased breaks
  • Clear and consistent consequences across caregivers/intervention team

Other Comorbid Diagnoses

Some of the most common comorbid diagnoses with Autism Spectrum Disorder include:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Other Mood Disorders

Other Problems Frequently Diagnosed

There are 297 disorders in the DSM5. 85% of children with ASD have another psychiatric disorder. Many with ASD have other problems outside of comorbid diagnosis such as:

  • Seizure/Epilepsy
  • GI Disorders
  • Feeding/Eating Challenges
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Gender Variance

Remember, both autism and ADHD contribute to the rich tapestry of human diversity. Let’s embrace neurodiversity and create a world where everyone feels understood and valued.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Lighthouse Autism Center Staff Spotlight: Ian

Ian’s  Lighthouse Autism Center Journey

Ian is an IT Help Desk Specialist at Lighthouse Autism Center and has been with Lighthouse Autism Center since August of 2020. He started at TBS in 2019 in Greenfield, IN, which was acquired by Lighthouse in January 2020. Ian was a Registered Behavior Technician from 2020 to 2021, then he became a Senior Therapist at Lighthouse’s Anderson Center. Rather than go to college, Ian started as a Behavior Technician in 2016 in Muncie, IN, where he became an RBT. Ian considers himself to be a band nerd at heart, and he has participated in 16 years of combined marching band, and indoor percussion experience as a performer, educator, and visual designer. His primary instrument is the Euphonium. Ian marched with the Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps in 2017 and got to perform at Lucas Oil Stadium for Semi Finals. He loves to play Magic the Gathering and League of Legends. Ian has been married for 3 years and has a son, Connor who is 2 years old. You may see him on video call with Ian sometimes!

What made you decide to apply to Lighthouse?

I applied for the IT position at Lighthouse because I really wanted to participate at a higher level, but I also knew I didn’t want to pursue a BCBA license since I did not plan to go to school.

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

One of my favorite things about Lighthouse Autism Center and the people in it, is the unified pursuit of excellence and quality of care for the learners. Working as an RBT was a tough job, and working in IT brings its share of challenges, but I can say with certainty that the MO is clear from top to bottom in each department and each center. Everyone wants to be the best they can be for the learners. I see it when I video chat PMs and RBT Trainers alike at a center. I can hear it in the background when staff and learners laugh and learn together. It’s the aspect of my job I cherish most. Each video call brings with it an ambience of center life that I left behind.

How would you describe your experience working for Lighthouse?

There are some really great people working for LAC that are looking for talent, and that extends beyond just skill in ABA. Opportunity will present itself, and when it does do not hesitate to put yourself out there.

Ready for a career where you can make a difference?

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