Lighthouse Autism Center Staff Spotlight: Haeleigh

Meet Lighthouse Autism Center’s Staff Spotlight of the Month: Haeleigh.

Haeleigh is a Registered Behavior Therapist at our Champaign center, where she has worked since May of 2022. Haeleigh received her undergraduate in psychology at the University of Northern Colorado and she is currently enrolled to begin a Master of Arts program in neuroscience and neurocounseling at Bradley University this fall. She has two pets- a dog, Mico, and a cat, Weeble. Haeleigh recently moved to Champaign, Illinois to be closer to family and for her program at BU.

What made you decide to apply to Lighthouse?

I have always been interested in Autism Spectrum Disorder and working with children. I am excited to learn more about ABA at Lighthouse and have become more encouraged to spread the word of neurodivergence. The position has further inspired me to pursue my career in neurocounseling by learning more about behavior and behavioral analysis. With my experience at LAC, I am excited to be able to research additional therapy options like neurofeedback and biofeedback for people with ASD and similar disorders.
 
 

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

Every day is different, and every role within the organization is vital. Each day our kiddos walk through the door, I know they learned a little bit more than the day before. Knowing it is because of my team at Lighthouse that we can change the lives of these kiddos and their families makes coming to work every day worthwhile. Witnessing joy from the kiddos as well as the RBT’s throughout the day is one reason that makes coming to work each day so easy.
 
 

Do you have a favorite memory from your time here?

I have so many wonderful memories of the little quirks and personalities of the kiddos. I think my happiest memories come from the joy and laughter of the kiddos, especially while they are having fun learning and mastering out of programs. It’s so rewarding working with a kiddo on a tough program, and then working with them a couple days later and seeing how far they’ve come to achieving a goal and progressing to more challenging programs.

 

Ready for a career where you can make a difference?

Join Our Team About Us

Lighthouse Autism Center Shining Example: Jon

Meet Lighthouse Autism Center’s Child Spotlight of the Month: Jon.

Meet Jon. When Jon first came to Lighthouse, he could not consistently communicate his wants or needs. He struggled with transitions away from preferred items or activities and did not respond to directions. Jon also did not engage with his peers or take turns with preferred items. Since enrolling at Lighthouse, Jon has made incredible progress.

Jon’s Progress at Lighthouse Autism Center

  • Jon can now identify and vocalize his emotions
  • Jon can now use 4-5 word sentences to ask for what he wants or to participate in a conversation
  • Jon now plays at the playground with other kids, and will even introduce himself to others

Lighthouse Autism Center Staff Perspective

“Jon’s progress has blown our staff away. When he started, Jon was quiet and did not reliably use his words. Now, Jon will spontaneously start conversations with others, ask for what he wants, and interact with his peers. Jon lights up our center with his smile and goofy personality. We are all so proud of him!”
 
– Courtney Schultz, Lighthouse Autism Center Clinical Director
 

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

Success Stories Get in Touch

Autism Resource Fair

Join Lighthouse Autism Center for our first Annual Central Indiana
Autism Resource Fair!

 
This event will feature vendors from all over central
Indiana that provide support services to families with autism.
Enter to win a free Amazon tablet! A free gift bag will be provided for any
family who attends.
 
Vendors will be handing out materials and prizes! The
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office will be on-site to pass out information on
project lifesaver, and Kona Ice will be on-site providing sweet treats as well! There will also be various fun activities such as face painting and sensory water activities for all kiddos to enjoy!
We cannot wait to see you at this FREE event!
 
This event will take place at our Noblesville Autism Center located at: 15755 North Pointe Blvd,
Noblesville, IN 46060.
Planning to attend? Register Here: https://forms.microsoft.com/r/c1fu6KYHeG
This is a FREE event. Registration is not required to attend.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Autism Resources Contact Us

Autism Parent Support Group

Autism Parent Support Group

 

Lighthouse Autism Center and the Autism Society of Indiana are partnering to host a free Parent Support Group for parents of children who are newly diagnosed with autism. The support group will involve a four-part series that will include a diverse and knowledgeable group of in-person speakers and light refreshments.

This is an in-person, free event! Lighthouse Autism Center in Noblesville, IN. 15755 N Pointe Blvd, Noblesville, IN 46060

Register Here: https://forms.office.com/r/APQiJcFz9j

This is a four-part series.
Autism Parent Support Schedule

Session 1: September 13th
Session 2: October 25th
Session 3: November 30th
Session 4: TBD

For questions or more information, contact abbeyy@lighthouseautismcenter.com

 

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Autism Resources Contact Us

Lighthouse Autism Center to Open New Autism Center in Castleton, Indiana!

Lighthouse Autism Center is Expanding Services into Castleton, Indiana

Lighthouse Autism Center (LAC) continues to expand, now with a network of centers in three states – quite a journey from its humble beginnings serving four families in one building to now serving hundreds of families across three states for nearly a decade. It is truly amazing.

Castleton Autism Center Coming this Winter of 2022

Our newest state-of-the-art ABA therapy center is slated to open in the winter of 2022 near Indianapolis, Indiana. Our children’s autism center will provide autism services to 60 children and their families and create over 85 new jobs in the area.

With a mission of providing the highest quality autism services to children and families through our facilities, LAC has sought to do just that in Castleton, IN. 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.

Natural and Play-based ABA Therapy

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, our autism center in Indianapolis brings together compassionate care and clinical excellence to offer the highest quality ABA therapy to children with autism.

With a unique clinical 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 brings these two therapies together into one enhanced therapy solution. We invite you to learn more 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 317-222-1242 or visit our website.

Castleton Center Contact Information

7526 E. 82nd St

Castleton, Indiana 46256

Family Outreach Phone: 317-222-1242

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 an Autism 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.

Find a Center Contact Us

Applied Behavior Analysis

What is Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy focuses on the principles and techniques of learning theory to help increase or decrease certain behaviors. ABA therapy is a scientifically validated approach to understanding learning and behavior by looking at the function of the behavior and the environment in which it occurs.

Anything a person does is considered a behavior: talking, eating, coloring, tying shoes, etc… ABA Therapy looks at a particular behavior, studies the purpose behind a behavior to understand in what circumstances that behavior occurs, then uses various techniques to change the behavior, teach a new behavior, or a more functional way of doing that behavior.

For children with autism, ABA therapy focuses on three main areas of development: developing new skills, shaping, and refining previously learned skills, and decreasing socially significant problem behavior.

Developing New Skills

ABA therapy is incredibly effective in helping children with autism gain new skills. For example, if a child’s parent and clinical team determine that a goal for a child is to learn to tie their shoes, this would take place over a period of time with several steps. The child may start with going and finding his/her own shoes. Once that is mastered, the child might find them and place them on their feet independently. Following that, the next step might be to cross the strings. This would continue until the child is independently completing all steps of the process. These steps will be different for every child, but the concept is the same, start at the beginning and give the child the building blocks to complete the new skill independently.

Shaping and Refining Previously Learned Skills

Shaping and refining previously learned skills can take many forms. For example, initially a child may engage someone by pulling a caregiver to an item he or she wants. This may be the only way the child may know how to get someone’s attention. With ABA, this communication skills can be shaped into a different and more effective way of communicating. For example, the BCBA might teach the child how to point to an item instead. They might build towards using a picture communication system, using vocal sounds, or an Augmentative Alternative Communication Device. The possibilities are endless! While this is just one example of shaping previously learned skills, in ABA therapy skills can be shaped in a variety of milestones including, play and independent living skills, just to name a few.

Decreasing Problem Behaviors

Some of the first signs a child may have autism may come in the form of socially significant problem behavior such as, intense tantrums, inappropriate behavior, flopping, etc.

For example, if a child typically has tantrums during lunch, ABA therapy could help in many ways. First, the clinicians would evaluate the environment in which that behavior is taking place. Does this only happen when the child is eating at home? Or when the child is eating at a restaurant? Perhaps it happens while eating in a lunchroom setting, but not at home or while eating at a restaurant. What can the environment in which that screaming is taking place tell us about the behavior?

Once the root cause of the behavior, whether environmental, or something else, is identified, the next step is giving the child the tools to appropriately communicate their wants, needs, or what they do not like about the environment. Perhaps they are upset because they see other peers eating something they want. Maybe the lunchroom feels too loud or overwhelming. Whatever it is, we help give that child the tools to be able to tolerate that environment and appropriately express themselves.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Get in Touch Autism Services

Lighthouse Autism Center Staff Spotlight: Bryn

Meet Lighthouse Autism Center’s Staff Spotlight of the Month: Bryn.

Bryn is the Clinical Director at our Fishers Autism Center, where she has worked since January of 2021 and has been in the field of ABA therapy for 11 years. Bryn received her undergraduate degree in child psychology at Bridgewater University in Massachusetts, her BCaBA at the Florida Institute of Technology, and then her master’s at Ball State University. She was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, going to the park and swimming.

What made you decide to apply to Lighthouse?

I am in the field because I love helping clients, families, and my clinical team achieve their individual goals and I enjoy being a part of their journey here at Lighthouse. I love ABA therapy because I love seeing the progress our learners make each day.
 

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

My favorite thing about working for Lighthouse has been the continued collaboration with my incredible coworkers. I always enjoy the opportunities for career growth and cultivating my skills to become the best supervisor and mentor to my team.
 

Do you have a favorite memory from your time here?

There are so many memories! I love that I am part of creating an environment with my team and fellow clinicians that has a positive and tangible impact on our learners. I especially love the people that I work with each day and that we get to spend our days working together to make sure our learners are achieving the best outcomes.
 
Come be a part of our team!

To learn more about career opportunities at Lighthouse Autism Center, check out our career page today!

Ready for a career where you can make a difference?

Join Our Team About Us

Lighthouse Autism Center Shining Example: Hope

Meet Lighthouse Autism Center’s Child Spotlight of the Month: Hope.

When Hope first came to Lighthouse she struggled with flopping, running away, refusal behavior and would often throw objects when she became upset or frustrated. She also had challenges with speech, following routines and directions. Since enrolling at Lighthouse, Hope has made incredible progress.

Hope’s Progress at Lighthouse Autism Center

  • Increase the amount of time she can sit and work independently without reinforcement
  • Nearly eliminate refusal behavior, throwing objects and flopping
  • Increase her school readiness skills such as identifying numbers, letters, turn-taking, peer play and more

Lighthouse Autism Center Staff Perspective

“Hope is doing so well and making tremendous progress. We are all so proud of all she has accomplished thus far at Lighthouse. She continues to work hard and gain new skills within the center and at home daily. We are so grateful to be with Hope on this journey and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her. Keep up the great work Hope!”

– Chelsea Gibson, Lighthouse Autism Center Clinical Director

Contact us with any questions and enroll your child today at Lighthouse Autism Center!

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

Success Stories Get in Touch

Lighthouse Autism Center to Open New Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan!

Lighthouse Autism Center is Expanding Services in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Lighthouse Autism Center (LAC) continues to expand, now with a network of centers in three states – quite a journey from its humble beginnings serving four families in one building to now serving hundreds of families across three states for nearly a decade. It’s truly amazing.

Kalamazoo Autism Center Coming Late Summer of 2022

Our newest state-of-the-art children’s autism center is slated to open in the late summer of 2022 and will provide autism services to 28 children and their families and create over 30 new jobs in the area. 

With a mission of providing the highest quality autism services to children and families through our facilities, LAC has sought to do just that in Kalamazoo, MI. As the need for ABA services continues to grow, LAC 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 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 clinical 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 brings these two therapies together into one enhanced therapy solution. We invite you to learn more 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 269-249-1490

New Kalamazoo East Center Contact Information​

3744 Gull Rd.
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49048

Family Outreach Phone: 269-249-1490

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!

Construction is underway and we cannot wait for the center to be completed!

Find an Autism 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.

Find a Center Contact Us

Safe Activities for Children with Autism

Safe Activities for Children with Autism

Safety is a prominent concern for any parent or caregiver of every child regardless of being on the autism spectrum. There are wide variety of activities that can help children with autism learn life skills, work on socialization, and so much more, all while having fun! Children with autism enjoy a variety of activities based on their abilities, skills, and needs.

Pretend Play

While playing with blocks, dolls, puppets or trains, children can create stories that match their interests, expand their imaginations and deal with real life. Pretend play also helps children with autism develop social skills and learn motor and life skills like going to the grocery store, dentist, or vet. All Lighthouse Autism Centers have play-based therapy rooms that immerse children in imaginary play spaces as well as naturalistic play spaces. These spaces offer more motivated learning opportunities. These naturalistic play-based spaces also help with children with autism learn how to tolerate overstimulating situations by bringing familiarity and even prompt speech and language opportunities.

Pretend restaurant

Help your child with their creativity by playing restaurant with them. A lot of kids love to do this as it becomes fun imaginative play. Use play food or hand-drawn food, a notepad and pen. You can also make play money to enhance the experience. Kids will love eating at the restaurant and taking orders.

Object Sorting

Sorting is an occupational therapy activity for children with autism. Collect various items such as play foods or toy blocks and have your child sort them into categories. Kids can also sort snacks by size, color, and similarities. Work on adding and subtracting with the snacks. This helps kids with colors, shapes, basic math, counting and more.

Imitation and Mirroring

Children with autism often struggle to make eye contact. A fun way to encourage the child to do so is by asking them to imitate you and/or others. Use a mirror or a game like patty cake as you help your child develop social and language skills. Games like Simon Says or Follow the Leader can also encourage imitation and mirroring skills for children with autism. These games can help improve social skills as well as motor skills in children with autism.

Music

The rhythm, repetition and sounds of music can calm children with autism and teach them important language, communication, and rhythm skills. Share songs that rhyme, include physical actions, or incorporate daily activities like getting dressed or eating food, and provide kids with opportunities to shake maracas, bang pans and play other instruments as they make music.

Singing

Encourage children with autism to sing. This is not only very important to child development, but for children to express themselves and be creative. Learn new songs together as a family. Play some of your favorite songs from when you were growing up.

Dancing

Lighthouse Autism Center celebrates Fun Fridays with a dance party! It’s important for children with autism to be creative in their movements. Dancing is very fun and expressive and supports motor skills and socialization!

Outdoors Activities and Playgrounds

Playground visits help children with autism stay active and calm their emotions and senses. Visit a park and allow children to slide, swing and run as they play alone or with peers. Lighthouse Autism Center offers private playgrounds at all our centers for active outdoor play.

Swimming

According to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation (ASDF), swimming provides invaluable therapy for children with autism, as well as providing improved speech, coordination, social skills, self-esteem, and cognitive processing. Enrolling your child with autism into swimming lessons can be highly beneficial! Many children with autism are drawn to water for its calming, sensory experience. However, water can present as a major safety concern. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children and adults on the autism spectrum. According to the National Autism Association, accidental drowning accounted for approximately 90% of total U.S. reported deaths in children with an ASD under the age of 14. Furthermore, introducing your child to water in a safe way and seeking swim lessons has been proven to be highly beneficial for children with autism.

Sensory Water table

Use a water table or a small inflatable or plastic pool, a bucket, or a bathtub. Drop items into the water to have your child scoop out with a kitchen spoon or tongs. Add toys, pompoms, balls and anything else that would engage your child in this fun and sensory exploration.

Swinging

Swinging is a very therapeutic activity for children with autism! There are so many ways to use a swing for therapy. All Lighthouse Autism Centers include a swing in our play spaces.  They are versatile in that they can be used for calming and self-regulation, or just a fun, enjoyable activity! Many parents of children with autism purchase sensory swings for at home use.

Water Balloon Toss

This is a simple and fun way to play catch while getting wet and staying cool in the heat. Toss balloons into buckets and knock over objects you have set up. Smaller balloons are harder to pop, so the smaller you make some balloons for games, the longer the play can continue.

Bubble Blowing

Blowing and catching bubbles is a favorite activity at Lighthouse Autism Center! This activity helps children with sensory and joint attention difficulties.

Drawing and Coloring

Drawing helps children with autism develop fine motor skills, work through emotions and experiment with colors, textures, and shapes. Provide crayons, paints, and pencils, and let them color a picture or create their own design on a blank canvas.

Story time

Story time is another favorite at our centers. Books are a great resource to work on various skills. Ask kids questions as you read. For example, if you were reading Cinderella you could ask, how would it feel to be the main character? What are some ways her stepsisters can show her kindness? If you were reading Aladdin, you could ask, if you had a magic carpet, where would you go? This helps children with autism learn empathy and helps them with perspective taking.

To learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, Visit: https://lighthouseautismcenter.com/children-with-autism/

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Get in Touch Autism Resources

Sensory-Friendly Tips for Children with Autism on July 4th

Navigating the Holiday with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Holidays in general can be overwhelming and overstimulating for children with autism. The 4th of July Holiday can be one of the more overstimulating holidays consisting of large social gatherings, fireworks, parades, festivals and more! Preparing for these upcoming activities is crucial.

There are various ways to ensure that the holiday is safe and memorable for children with autism. Here are a few tips for families and caregivers of children with Autism:

Prepare your child in advance

Prepare your child in advance by telling them what is going to happen at the fireworks display or celebration. Focus on the fun aspect and let your child know that you are excited for these upcoming activities. Engage your child in the excitement and get them excited! Tell them about the holiday and stories of the good food, friends, and activities.  You can read your child books about similar celebrations or show them videos online or even take them to the location beforehand to introduce and bring familiarity to the situation. Create a plan for activities including timing, location, safety, and helpful supplies. Have a plan B. It is important to understand your child’s limits.

Determine a location and create a safe space

Choose a location where your child can retreat easily, such as at home with a view of fireworks, where a quiet room is available if they need a break from the noise and lights or watch by distance from inside your vehicle. You can also create a special space for your child to make them feel more comfortable by bringing their favorite comfort items such as a pillow and blanket or a chair.  It is important that your child feels comfortable and safe and has a space to prevent overstimulation. Create an escape plan if your child becomes too overstimulated. Events like community fireworks can become hectic, fast. As the crowd’s swell, noise grows, and children on the autism spectrum become prone to meltdowns. That is why identifying an escape route to a quiet place is important.

Bring helpful supplies and favorite items

Pack a bag ahead of time with sensory toys, games, and familiar snacks. Also consider headphones for children who are sensitive to loud sounds. As we all know, fireworks can pack a lot of sensory stimulation. Sensory items and snacks can provide a crucial distraction if your child gets antsy while waiting for activities to start.

Make safety a priority

Put a strong focus on safety around fireworks. Wandering and accidents can happen at any time.  However, being in an unfamiliar environment can increase the risk.

Ask for help

Be clear with other adults around you about how they can help make the event comfortable for your child with autism. Make sure your child knows how to ask for help and how to ask for a break from the party or noise. If your child is verbal, they may only need a reminder.  However, many children on the autism spectrum do best with a visual aid. For example, provide your child with a special card to hand to you when they need a break from the stimulation.

Follow us on Facebook for more great content: https://www.facebook.com/LighthouseAutismCenter

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Get in Touch Autism Resources

Children with Autism: Boys Verses Girls

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Boys Verses Girls

According to the CDC, boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

But does this mean that boys are more likely to have autism or does this mean that girls are just being underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed? Signs of autism in girls can be easily missed, especially in cases of high-functioning autism. The signs and characteristics displayed by children with autism is more easily recognizable with severe and problematic symptoms, often observed among boys. Therefore, boys get referred for diagnostic testing and treatment services earlier in development than girls typically do and are more often diagnosed. Autism in girls and autism in boys do not always look the same. In fact, recent research suggests that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may look quite different in girls—so different, that it can be difficult to diagnose. It may not get noticed in girls until later teen or pre-teen years, when it becomes harder for a child to “cover up” their autism-related characteristics. As the gender differences among children with autism get more closely examined, many experts are beginning to observe that girls may be better at imitating socially appropriate behaviors and have fewer behavior problems than boys. This creates a masking of autism symptoms for girls that prevent them from being referred for services.

Some of the differences in girls with autism verses boys with autism based on resent research are:

  • Boys with autism often have very repetitive and limited areas of play. Girls with autism are less repetitive and have broader areas of play.
  • Girls with autism are more likely than boys to be able to respond to non-verbal communication such as pointing or gaze following. They are also somewhat more focused and less prone to distraction.
  • While boys’ social communication issues become challenging very early in their lives, girls may be able to manage the social demands of early childhood but run into difficulties as they enter early adolescence.
  • According to the Kennedy Krieger report, Boys with ASD may tend to engage in disruptive behavior to gain objects, while girls with ASD may tend to engage in disruptive behavior to get attention.
  • Girls with autism are more likely than boys to also suffer from anxiety and/or depression.
  • While girls with autism do have perseverative interests, they are more likely to choose interests (such as TV stars or music) that appear more typical than, for example, many boys’ perseverative interests in schedules, statistics, or transportation.
  • Girls with autism are less likely to behave aggressively and more likely to be passive or withdrawn.
  • It is fairly common for girls with autism to appear socially competent as youngsters because they are “taken under the wings” of other girls who enjoy mentoring their peers. These mentors often fade out of the picture as they enter adolescence and find other interests or groups of friends.

What is autism?

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is defined as the broad range of conditions that include challenges with communication skills, social skills, motor skills, daily living skills and more. In the most recent study performed by the CDC, 1 in every 44 children are diagnosed with autism. Furthermore, boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

How to Identify Signs of Autism and Evaluating Your Child

Having a child tested for autism spectrum disorder is only something that a qualified professional will be able to do. However, knowing the signs of autism can help you decide whether or not to seek further evaluation for your child. The easiest way to be able to determine if a child should have further evaluation for autism spectrum disorder is to know the signs.

Getting an early diagnosis of ASD is key for proper treatment and early intervention. With that in mind, what are the characteristics of autism?

 

 

Sources:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/differences-between-boys-and-girls-with-autism-260307

https://www.verywellhealth.com/signs-of-autism-in-girls-260304

https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-statistics-asd

https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2017/04/autism-spectrum-disorders-the-difference-between-boys-and-girls

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Request an Evaluation Autism Services