Child with Autism | SSI Benefits

How a Child with Autism Can Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

We take a look at the requirements for the SSI benefits for children with autism and other key information. From financial requirements to starting a claim, find out what you need to know.

A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is not just emotionally difficult for parents; it also means they may have to make big lifestyle changes. There are many therapies and treatments to assist children with autism, but in most cases, a parent or caretaker will need to tend to the child full-time.

This need for full-time care can lead to financial turmoil in a family, especially one that relies on a two-person income to support themselves. With the loss of one income and the expense of treatments and therapies, parents are often under enormous pressure.

Many parents don’t realize that the Social Security Administration (SSA) program offers supplemental security income (SSI) to support children with disabilities. If your family qualifies, autistic child SSI benefits can be a significant relief from financial pressure.

What is the SSA Benefits Program?

The SSA offers monthly disability benefits to parents of children with disabilities. While most children with autism have no difficulty qualifying for the SSI benefits, there are some strict criteria, which we will cover in more detail below. 

How To Qualify for the SSI Benefits Program

Is autism a disability under social security? Yes, autism is considered a disability that is eligible for benefits, providing the correct requirements are met. The SSA’s Blue Book covers what conditions children with ASD must have to qualify for benefits.

To be eligible for SSI benefits, children with autism must have:

  • Deficits in social interaction
  • Deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Significantly restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.

Parents must provide medical documentation to prove that their child has all three of the above deficits.

The child must also have an extreme limitation in one of these areas, or a severe limitation in two of these areas:

  • Understanding, remembering, or using information (ability to learn, remember, and use information, follow instructions, solve problems, and use reason to make decisions)
  • Interacting with others (ability to engage in interactive play, cooperate with others, maintain friendships, handle conflicts, initiate or sustain conversation, and understand social cues)
  • Focusing on activities (ability to engage in activities at a consistent pace, avoid distractions, and complete tasks in a timely manner)
  • Adapting or managing oneself (ability to regulate emotions, control behavior, protect oneself from harm, and maintain personal hygiene).

As mentioned above, parents must provide medical documentation to prove their child’s condition.

Financial Requirements To Qualify for Benefits

Financial limitations are the top reason why children with autism are denied SSI benefits. All parents with a child with autism that is under the age of 18 must meet the relevant financial requirements to access monthly benefits.

The SSA has an income cap that cannot be exceeded if a child is to qualify for SSI benefits. This cap increases with every adult that earns a wage, as well as the number of children in the household.

To prove that they qualify, parents must provide documentation such as a W-2 form or a federal tax return for each adult that earns a wage in the household.

How Much Does a Child with Autism Get From SSI?

So, how much is a disability check for autism? 

There isn’t a simple answer to this question because every child and their parents will be treated as an individual case, and this will impact how much they receive each month.

Currently, the full benefit amount is $841 a month. However, the SSA will then apply a formula to work out how much to deduct from this once the parents’ income has been considered.

Starting a Claim

One of our biggest tips for parents is to get the claim for SSI benefits started as soon as possible. The process can take months, so it’s important to make an appointment at your local SSA office when you can.

To prepare for your appointment, read through the SSA’s Child Disability Starter Kit to find out the exact paperwork you need.

Get the Best Therapy and Treatment for Your Child

The Lighthouse Autism Center offers the highest-quality therapy in a tranquil, play-based environment. Our innovative ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy model, Lighthouse Fusion, helps children make greater progress, faster.

Contact us to get the best for your child.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

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Autism Signs in Infants

The Top 9 Signs Your Infant May Have Autism

We take a look at the most common autism symptoms in babies and toddlers, and the importance of getting children diagnosed as early as possible.

The signs and symptoms of autism are unique to every individual, and they vary in intensity from person to person. It’s a difficult disorder to pick up when children are young, but an early diagnosis can significantly impact a child’s quality of life and shape their development. Having an awareness of autism symptoms in babies and toddlers is critical.

Common Autism Characteristics

Although it’s specific to each individual, there are some more common autism characteristics that indicate a child could be autistic. 

1.) Lack of smiling

Children with autism often display a lack of smiling. Does your child smile back at you when you give them a warm, joyful smile? Does your child smile on their own? By the age of six months, your infant should be giving you big smiles or happy expressions.

 

2.) Rare Imitation of Social Cues

Does your child imitate the sounds and movements of others? Do they share expressions back and forth? Infrequent imitation of sounds, smiles, laughter, and facial expressions by nine months of age can be an early indicator of autism in infants.

3.) Delay in Babbling and Cooing

Missed milestones of babbling and cooing can often be a leading indicator of autism in babies. Is your child making “baby talk” and babbling or cooing? Do they do it frequently? Your baby should typically reach this milestone by 12 months.

4.) Unresponsiveness to Name

Is your baby increasingly unresponsive to their name from 6 to 12 months of age? Parents who see this in their child are often concerned it may be hearing loss and are unaware it can be a sign of autism in babies. If you see this behavior in your child, be sure to monitor the signs and consult a doctor. Knowing the signs can be the key to early intervention and getting your child the resources they need to reach better outcomes and live a more independent life in the future.

5.) Poor Eye Contact

Lack of eye contact is a very common sign in those with an autism diagnosis. Does your child make limited eye contact with you and other loved ones? Do they follow objects visually? Severe lack of eye contact as the baby grows can be an early indicator, as it is a form of communication and comprehension.

6.) Infrequently Seeking Attention

Does your child initiate cuddling or make noises to get your attention? Do they reach up toward you to be picked up? Disinterest in seeking a loved one’s attention or bonding with a caregiver is a sign your baby may eventually have difficulty relating to others, which can be a struggle for those on the autism spectrum as they grow up. 

7.) Lack of Gesturing

Does your child gesture at objects or people to communicate? Do they wave goodbye, point, or reach for things? This is a milestone that is typically reached by the time an infant is 9 or 10 months old. Lack of gesturing is a common sign in infants on the autism spectrum.

8.) Repetitive Behaviors

Repetitive behaviors are another highly recognized sign in children with autism. Does your child engage in repetitive behaviors such as stiffening their arms, hands, or legs? Do they display unusual body movements like rotating their hands on their wrists? Do they sit or stand in uncommon postures? This is a form of stimming or self-stimulatory behavior.

9.) Delayed Motor Development

Has your child experienced significant delays in motor development milestones, such as rolling over, pushing themselves up, and crawling? These could be signs of autism in newborns, but they may not be recognized as autism until much later. Early symptoms of autism in babies or toddlers often go unrecognized by parents or caregivers and are often put down as the child simply being a slow learner. 

Why It’s Important to Recognize the Signs of Autism in Infants

One of the most important things you can do for your child after birth is to learn the early signs of the autism spectrum. While most children will start to develop symptoms as newborns, many are only diagnosed when they display the common symptoms of autism in toddlers. 

Getting your child diagnosed as early as possible is the best decision you can make. Firstly, you could get peace of mind if the medical doctor tells you that what you are seeing are signs your baby is not autistic. If they do diagnose autism when your child is an infant, you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • Improved overall development: As parents, our single goal is to ensure our children’s lives are as easy and enjoyable as possible. The same goes for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The bottom line is that infants who receive autism treatment, support, and education at appropriate ages and key developmental stages are far more likely to gain the essential social and reasoning skills needed in society.
  • Diminished distress: Imagine a child at school who can’t talk to their classmates, finds it hard to make friends, gets frustrated at not being able to communicate what they want, and is great at math but can’t articulate that. Undiagnosed autistic children become incredibly distressed in social settings; they don’t know what’s wrong with them, and parents and teachers think they are just acting out. An early diagnosis can diminish this distress hugely.
  • Early understanding and acceptance: For parents, it can be hard to understand their child and accept that they are autistic, and it certainly takes time to get used to a new way of life. Getting your child diagnosed early means that you have more time to understand and accept their disorder and to become an advocate for awareness.

The Type of Therapy to Expect at the Lighthouse Autism Center

At the Lighthouse Autism Center, we use a unique approach to ABA therapy called Lighthouse Fusion™. This is a unique  program for children on the autism spectrum fuses together ABA and speech therapy and helps children make greater progress, faster.  ABA therapy helps children with autism develop new skills, as well as improve the skills that they already have and decrease problem behaviors.

Our therapy programs are tailored to each individual child, and achievable goals are set out for the child to strive for in different areas of skill. Some skills include:

  • Communication (including speech and language skills)
  • Social skills
  • Improve attention, focus, and memory
  • Decrease problem behaviors
  • Self-care (such as showering and using the bathroom)
  • Play and leisure
  • Motor skills
  • Learning and academic skills.

ABA therapy is based on positive reinforcement, and it brings together a number of different disciplines to ensure that each child gets the greatest chance of becoming the best version of themselves.

Contact us at the Lighthouse Autism Center if you want to know more about our treatment programs, and we can create a custom therapy program for your child.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

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How Autism Can Help You Land a Job

Working  with Autism Spectrum Disorder

DUBLIN—Some employers increasingly are viewing autism as an asset and not a deficiency in the workplace.

A Germany-based software company has been actively seeking people with autism for jobs, not because of charitable outreach but because it believes features of autism may make some individuals better at certain jobs than those without autism.

It’s a worthy initiative, according to disability experts, since 85% of adults with autism are estimated to be unemployed.

Piloted in Germany, India and Ireland, the program is also launching in four North

SAP employee Patrick Brophy, right, with his co-worker and coach David Sweeney. Ciaran Dolan for The Wall Street Journal

SAP aims to have up to 1% of its workforce—about 650 people—be employees with autism by 2020, according to Jose Velasco, head of the autism initiative at SAP in the U.S.

People with autism spectrum disorder—characterized by social deficits and repetitive behavior—tend to pay great attention to detail, which may make them well suited as software testers or debuggers, according to Mr. Velasco, who has two children with the condition.

In addition, these people bring a different perspective to the workplace, which may help with efficiency and creativity as well, he said.

“They have a very structured nature” and like nonambiguous, precise outcomes, Mr. Velasco said. “We’re looking at those strengths and looking at where those traits would be of value to the organization.”

Autistic employees at SAP take on roles such as identifying software problems, and assigning customer-service queries to members of the team for troubleshooting.

One employee works in “talent marketing,” issuing communications to employees internally. The company is looking for someone to produce videos and is considering an applicant with autism who has experience in media arts.

SAP is also considering other positions, such as writing manuals to give clients very precise instructions on how to install software.

Individuals with autism might excel at going step by step, without skipping details that others may miss, said Mr. Velasco. The business procurement process, such as getting invoices or managing the supply chain, is another area in which an individual with autism might shine, he said.

SAP isn’t the only company to have such a program. In the U.S., mortgage lenderFreddie Mac FMCC -1.12% has offered career-track internships since 2012, including in IT, finance and research.

The lender hired its first full-time employee from the program in January, according to a Freddie Mac spokeswoman. In IT, the company has found that interns often perform well in testing and data-modeling jobs that require great attention to detail and focus as well as a way of seeing things that might not have been anticipated by the developers.

“Harnessing the unique skills of people on the autism spectrum has the potential to strengthen our business and make us more competitive,” according to the lender’s policy.

To be sure, as with any group, people with autism have a range of interests and abilities. SAP is working with a Danish autism-focused training and consultancy firm, Specialisterne, which carefully screens and interviews the candidates to find the appropriate matches before sending them to SAP to evaluate.

Patrick Brophy, 29 years old, has a bachelor’s degree in computer science in software systems and a master’s in multimedia systems, which includes website development and editing. Mr. Brophy says he has Asperger’s, a term commonly used to describe a milder form of autism spectrum disorder.

He had been looking for full-tine work for a few years but said that in the handful of interviews he went to, he would sometimes stutter or misinterpret questions, which he felt reflected poorly on him in the interviews.

When he arrived at SAP for the screening day, however, he had the technical qualifications and he appeared to have skills to work in a corporate setting, according to Peter Brabazon, Specialisterne program manager. Mr. Brophy was hired by the quality assurance department in July, where he identifies glitches in software prior to it being issued to clients.

“Four weeks before joining, I was steadily more and more nervous,” said Mr. Brophy, who worried about his adjustment to a new environment. “Within a month, [the work] was second nature. I had found myself.”

Mr. Brophy said there have been challenges with his job, particularly when he has to revamp how he does a certain task.

From a social standpoint, he found it easy to integrate into his team, said both Mr. Brophy and David Sweeney, a colleague assigned to be his mentor.

About 1% of the population in the U.S.—or some three million people—is thought to have an autism-spectrum disorder. The latest figures issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that one in 68 children have been identified with an autism-spectrum disorder.

Their lifetime employment rate is extremely low even though many want to work, said disability experts. Among young adults between 21 and 25 years old, only half have ever held a paid job outside the home, according to a study published last year in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Though many people with autism go on to higher education and are qualified for employment, they may have trouble getting in the door of a workplace because of difficulties with networking or interviews, according to Wendy Harbour, executive director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, at Syracuse University.

There are a number of companies and outreach efforts that aim to hire people with autism, seeking to tailor work to their abilities.

But SAP and employers like Freddie Mac said their effort is specifically a business decision to take advantage of what they see as unique skill sets.

SAP said that individuals being considered to work there usually have had at least some higher education.

In Dublin, the candidates arrive at the company’s software design center, dubbed the “AppHaus,” which features open spaces, movable desks and whimsical furniture. They are asked to work in pairs on a task building a motorized robot. Candidates are given the instruction manual and brief instructions.

Assessors from Specialisterne look to see if the candidates listen to instructions and pick up on cues, and how they react to challenges such as how the colors of the pieces to the robot look different from the instruction manual. “I want to see how they work together and their technical skills,” said Debbie Merrigan, one of the assessors for Specialisterne.

She wants them to be meticulous, she says. If they aren’t it doesn’t mean they aren’t employable, but they may not be a good fit for working at SAP. Sometimes candidates get overwhelmed and simply leave.

After Specialisterne identifies a candidate as being a good fit, SAP then conducts further interviews, as they would with any other applicant, says Kristen Doran, a program manager in human resources at SAP Dublin. At this facility, 15 candidates were screened and interviewed in order to hire the three who are currently placed as contractors. Mr. Brophy works in the quality assurance department while the other two individuals are in the troubleshooting division.

The candidates are paid market rate and if they succeed on the job, they will be hired as full-time employees after a year, said Liam Ryan, managing director of SAP Labs Ireland.

Difficulties with social interaction and inflexibility can sometimes pose significant problems for individuals with autism, and SAP has a mentoring system and in some cases has made changes to the work schedule to accommodate these new employees. The company also conducts a month of employee-adaptation training to increase employees’ comfort level at working with the team as well as another month or more of job training.

“It’s hard to go into a corporate space if you prefer order to disorder,” says Thorkil Sonne, founder of Specialisterne. “Our biggest effort is to work with them…to define and strengthen their comfort zone,” said Mr. Sonne, who has a son with autism.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

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Celebrating Halloween with Autism Spectrum Disorder

5 Tips for Celebrating Halloween with a Child on the Autism Spectrum

1.) The Costume

Let your child pick out a costume that works for them. If they love soft things, try a fuzzy costume onesie, if they love dinosaurs, let them be a T-rex. Whatever it is that gets your child excited, channel that into a costume!

2.) What to Expect

Make sure your child knows what to expect. Talk about the trick or treating and exactly what your child should expect. Consider creating a visual schedule or countdown to the big day!

3.) Practice

Help your child practice for the big day by practicing putting on their costume and going through the routine of the day. Enlist the help of a neighbor or friend and have your child practice trick or treating at their homes.

4.) Trick or Treat Alternatives

If your child does not enjoy trick or treating, or if you are choosing to stay home due to Covid-19 related reasons, consider other alternatives. Take them to other Halloween-related activities in the community or consider a “not-so-scary” night in with their favorite movie and treat.

5.) Have Fun!

Whatever you choose to do and however you do it, remember to be flexible, do what is best for your child and family, and have fun!

To learn more about Lighthouse Autism Center, visit: https://lighthouseautismcenter.com/

 

Here are some additional links to tips on safety during Halloween:

https://www.safekids.org/tip/halloween-safety-tips

15 trick-or-treating safety tips to ensure a happy and healthy Halloween

https://www.cityofsouthfield.com/news/follow-these-halloween-trick-or-treating-tips-stay-safe-stop-spread

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/will-you-let-your-child-trick-or-treat-this-halloween-heres-how-the-cdc-says-to-do-it-safely-11633370865

 

 

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

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ABA Therapy Tips for Taking Your Child with Autism to the Dentist

Taking Your Child With Autism to the Dentist

For any child, and even adults, a trip to the dentist can often be filled with anxiety, fear, and discomfort. For a child with autism especially, these feelings can be even further heightened by sensitivities to noise, smell, and touch. In order to make this experience better for both the child and family, Lighthouse Autism Center has compiled a list of ABA therapy tips to make taking your child with autism to the dentist just a little bit easier.

Below is a list of tips that are commonly used during ABA therapy that may help your child with autism during their next trip to the dentist:

Tip 1 – Prepare Your Child for the Visit

Be sure to talk about the visit for days or even weeks before it is going to happen. Show your child pictures of the dentist office and explain to them what kind of things will take place there (ie: “you will sit in a chair, a nice man or woman will ask you top open your mouth so they can look and touch your teeth. They want to make sure that your teeth are nice and healthy!”).

Tip 2 – Consider Visiting the Dentist Before Your Visit

If your dentist office will allow it, consider making one, two or however many visits it may take to get your child comfortable with the atmosphere. Show them the lobby, waiting area, and if available, even the room or seat they may use for the teeth cleaning. The more your child is exposed to the space, the more comfortable they will become.

Tip 3 – While You’re at the Dentist

Bring along a favorite toy, activity or treat so as your child is attempting and engaging in new experiences you can provide them with that item.

Tip 4 – Be Flexible

A trip to the dentist can be challenging for anyone. If your child begins to experience difficulty at the visit, or is visibly frustrated, scared or uncomfortable, understand that your child simply may not be ready or able to complete the visit that day, and that’s ok. You as a parent or caregiver know your child best!

Tip 5 – Consider Requesting A Therapist to Attend the Visit

For those children who receive aba therapy, some centers, like Lighthouse Autism Center, will send a therapist to help your family and child during the dental visit. They can serve as a helpful resource for you and your child by applying aba therapy techniques.

 

To learn more tips for parents of children with autism, visit: https://lighthouseautismcenter.com/parents-of-children-with-autism/tips/

 

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

Get in Touch Autism Resources

Vaccines and Autism – What We Know

Vaccines are a routine part of child medical care, but many parents face concerns that these routine vaccinations are unsafe and can even cause certain medical conditions in children, such as autism.  So when did the concern that vaccines cause autism start? What do we know about vaccines and their connection with autism? Read below to learn more.

Vaccines and Autism: Where the Controversy Started

The idea that vaccines cause autism can be traced to a few sources beginning in the 1990’s.. For one, British researchers published a document in 1998 stating that the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine could cause autism. Because there was a notable elevation in the number of children being diagnosed with autism at that time, the paper received a great deal of publicity.

Not long after the 1998 study with MMR and many other studies supporting that vaccines do not cause autism, a new concern emerged regarding the ingredients used in some vaccines:  thimerosal. Thimerosal was, at the time, used to thwart the growth of fungi or bacteria in vaccines, and the agent contained fractional levels of mercury, something that was obviously concerning to medical providers and parents alike. While thimerosal was pulled from all child vaccines by 2001 due to the mercury present, no scientific evidence or study every suggested that thimerosal could cause autism.

What do we know about vaccines and autism?

Numerous scientific studies have examined vaccines and their ingredients to determine whether vaccines could cause autism. To date, these research efforts have not been able to identify a link between vaccines and autism.

In 2015, the largest study to date was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers extensively analyzed 95,000 health records of children — including 2,000 children already being at risk of autism due to other underlying factors. The study did not find any link between the MMR vaccine and the risk of ASD.

At least 25 other studies have examined a host of other possible links between vaccines and autism. Researchers have looked at several aspects of vaccine safety in children and how those safety concerns could be linked to autism.

Some of those research efforts have been on factors such as:

  • Thimerosal exposure
  • Antibody stimulating proteins
  • Vaccines and antigens
  • Immunization rates and neuropsychological outcomes
  • Immunization rates and metabolic errors

None of these studies were able to point out a link between vaccines and autism or conditions related to autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics compiled an extensive list of studies on vaccine safety and autism, but the list is not exhaustive. Each vaccine — existing and already in use and those in development — are continually being tested for safety and effectiveness.

What do we know about the causes of autism?

While at this time, no single cause of autism has been identified by researches,  medical professionals have identified a significant number of risk factors that can make a child more likely to have the condition. These risk factors all appear to be genetic or environmental in nature.

Autism seems to run in families, which suggests a genetic factor. Certain familial genes and gene changes may heighten the risk that a child develops autism. Though people can have the genes that have been noted as risk factors for autism and never have the disorder. It is also worth noting that genetic changes can happen spontaneously during the initial stages of embryonic formation.

A few environmental risk factors for autism include:

  • Either parent being of an advanced age
  • Complications during pregnancy or birth, such as pregnancy with multiples or premature delivery
  • Close-occurring pregnancies less than a year apart

Risks should never be misconstrued as causes for autism. Neither environmental nor genetic risk factors definitively cause autism.

Vaccines and Autism

While there are many who believe that vaccines do cause autism, there is no research based or scientific evidence at this time to suggest a direct link between vaccines and autism.  Parents should be aware that vaccinations are an ever-important and consistently safe way to help ensure the health and well-being of their children.

For an appropriate autism diagnosis, it is important to work with a qualified professional who specializes in autism spectrum disorder and knows the true signs of the condition. If you believe your child has autism or need to know more about the disorder, reach out to Lighthouse Autism Center for information.

Lighthouse Autism Center Announces New Location in Noblesville, Indiana

Lighthouse Autism Center has some exciting news to share with you! This fall, Lighthouse Autism Center will open a new location in Noblesville, Indiana! The newest center will be part of the Access Together with Lighthouse Autism Center region and will be located at 15755 North Point Blvd.

The design of the Noblesville center will be consistent with other Access Together with Lighthouse Autism Center centers and will include curated materials and inspired spaces to promote language and learning.  The space will feature therapeutic areas to enhance skill acquisition in older learners without intensive behavioral needs.  Most importantly, the new clinic will house talented practitioners trained in typical speech and language development in addition to behavior analysis.

With an abundance of natural light, high ceilings, a gated outside play area, and plenty of parking, we have no doubt this center will be a beautiful and warm space where children are able to learn and thrive!

If you’re interested in learning more about this new center location, please contact us today!

2021 Autism Awareness Scholarship Winner!

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, Kaveh  Moaddeli was selected as the awardee for this scholarship.

Scholarship Winner
Kaveh is studying pre-med at Monmouth College and hopes to be an EMT where he can practice exceptional patient care.

Kaveh currently attends Monmouth College where he is studying pre-med and plays water polo. Originally from California, Kaveh has a rather unique upbringing that has led him to where he is today.

The son of immigrants, Kaveh grew up  living on a small boat in the harbor when his family could not afford a home. With a passion for water polo, he would travel into shore each day at 5:00 am to attend practices. His perseverance and commitment to his education and his team led him to Monmouth where he now studies pre-med and hopes to be an EMT.

During the summers, Kaveh returns home to California to teach surf lessons to children in his community. This past summer, he had the opportunity to connect with a boy who has autism who wanted to learn to surf. While he had never worked with a child who had an autism diagnosis before, Kaveh says it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences he has had teaching.

Congratulations, Kaveh!

The Lighthouse Autism Center Autism Awareness Scholarship is open to junior or senior students enrolled full-time at a college or university. Preference will be given to those who reside in the areas that we serve (please click here to view a full list of center location). Preference will also be given to students studying psychology, special education or a related field.

Who may apply?

The Lighthouse Autism Center Autism Awareness Scholarship is open to junior or senior students enrolled full-time at a college or university. Preference will be given to those who reside in the areas that we serve (please click here to view a full list of center location). Preference will also be given to students studying psychology, special education or a related field.

Requirements:

Part 1:  Submit a one-page personal statement. This should include information about any work experience, internships, or volunteer activities you may have participated in. If applicable, please include any experience you may have with special needs families.

Part 2: Submit a one-page essay discussing your goals and plans following graduation

Interested in applying next year? Click here to apply!

Lighthouse Autism Center Celebrates 9 Year Anniversary

On May 21, 2012, Lighthouse Autism Center opened its very first center in Mishawaka, Indiana. With a handful of clients and a small team of clinicians, we began providing ABA therapy services to the Michiana community. Since then, we have opened centers all over northern Indiana and southwest Michigan and recently expanded into central Indiana. To think we stated with just one center, and have no grown to over twenty centers is truly incredible.

When Gregg and Sandy Maggioli pursued their dream of providing the highest quality autism therapy services to families in Mishawaka, I don’t think they could have imagined just how big and how far that dream would come nine years later. Through a passionate team of individuals dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families with autism, Lighthouse Autism Center has impacted hundreds of clients and thousands of individuals across the state of Indiana and Michigan serving as not only an ABA provider, but an advocate and support for special needs families.

We are grateful to all of those clients, families, employees and individuals who have been a part of the Lighthouse family for the past nine years, and look forward to what another year will bring!

A Step Ahead Joins the Lighthouse Autism Center Team

Lighthouse Autism Center is pleased to announce the acquisition of A Step Ahead, an ABA and pediatric therapy provider in Columbus, Indiana.  Since 2013, A Step Ahead has been offering center-based ABA services to the Columbus community and has a reputation for clinical excellence in the area.

“With 2020 behind us, we are ready to hit the ground running in 2021 with our most recent expansion into Columbus, Indiana. With A Step Ahead joining the Lighthouse Autism Center team,  I have no doubt that our organizations will fit together seamlessly to continue to deliver the very highest quality autism therapy services in the state. At the heart of both of our organizations is a strong and passionate team committed to changing the lives of children with autism. We look forward to continuing to do just that in the year ahead,” said Gregg Maggioli, Lighthouse’s co-founder and CEO.

To learn more or inquire about services please visit www.lighthouseautismcenter.com/contact-us.

Staff Spotlight: Meet Alexis

Meet Alexis! Alexis is a Registered Behavioral Technician at our Mishawaka center, where she has worked for a year. She is a graduate of Indiana University and holds a degree in Psychology. As an RBT with Lighthouse Autism Center, Alexis is responsible for working one-on-one with children with autism and implementing therapy programs designed by Board Certified Behavior Analysts. She helps children work on refining previously learned skills and helps them develop new communication, social, living skills and more!

ABA Therapist

What made you want to apply to work at Lighthouse?

I wanted to work somewhere where I could help kiddos live their best life.  I knew I could do that at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Tell us about your favorite part of working with your team at Lighthouse.

Honestly, my favorite part of working with my team is being able to be myself around them, inside or outside of work. Whether it’s making jokes or needing support, they are always there.

Can you share a favorite part or memory about working with the Lighthouse kiddos?

My favorite memory is hearing one of our non-verbal kiddos finding their voice. The list words he knows went from zero to almost 30 seemingly overnight. I may have shed a tear or two hearing him talk.

How would you describe your Lighthouse experience?

It’s been the most supportive environment I’ve ever worked in. The staff, the seniors, and our PM’s are just all so friendly and easy to get to know.

In her free time, Alexis enjoys painting to help her relax.  She paints on canvas and on miniatures, which are only one inch tall!

Lighthouse Autism Center is hiring! To view a list of available positions visit www.lighthouseautismcenter.com/jobs.

Staff Spotlight: Meet Katie Beth

Meet Katie Beth! Katie Beth is a Registered Behavioral Technician at our Granger center, where she has worked for a year and a half. She also has a degree in ministry and theology from Atlanta Bible College. As an RBT with Lighthouse Autism Center, Katie Beth is responsible for working one-on-one with children with autism and implementing therapy programs designed by Board Certified Behavior Analysts. She helps children work on refining previously learned skills and helps them develop new communication, social, living skills and more!

autism therapist

Tell us about why you applied for a position with Lighthouse.

I have always had a passion for working with kiddos and helping people.  Since I knew that I wanted to be able to make a bigger impact in the lives of children with special needs, Lighthouse seemed like a natural fit! My aunt has Down Syndrome and she has been an inspiration in pursuing a career in this field.

Can you share a favorite part or memory about working with your Lighthouse teammates?

I love how supportive and encouraging my teammates are.  Coming to work is easy when you have such a wonderful group of people to share the day with.  I would not be able to do what I do without each of them!

Can you share a favorite part or memory about working with the Lighthouse kiddos?

The best feeling in the world is when you look back on when a child first started and see just how much they have achieved in their time with us.  It is such a joy to be a part of their lives and help them grow!

Outside of work, Katie Beth enjoys spending time with her husband and their rescue dog Sage.  She also enjoys photography and hiking. 

Lighthouse Autism Center is hiring! To view a list of available positions visit www.lighthouseautismcenter.com/jobs.