Lighthouse Roots – The Story of Nick

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

Lighthouse Roots – The Story of Nick

In May of 2022, Lighthouse Autism Center is celebrating 10 years of business. This would not be possible without our clients. These families were some of the first families to receive services at Lighthouse Autism Center and helped build a strong foundation. We would not be where we are today without them! Thank you for choosing Lighthouse Autism Center and for trusting us to provide compassionate care and for being a part of our story.

About Nick

Nick attended Lighthouse Autism Center Park Place and Edison Lakes between 2012 and 2016. He was 12 years old when he first enrolled.

Nick’s Lighthouse Journey

Tell us about your favorite memory from your child’s time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Seeing Nick actually having fun even when working.  I could tell that everyone who worked with him made it fun so that he wanted to participate in the lessons.

Tell us something your child does or is independent with now that you attribute to their time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Nick had a lot of skills before Lighthouse, but Middle school destroyed him in less than a year.  They did not follow his IEP and never communicated with us about what was going on.  When asked about his day or behaviors that were starting to develop, they would tell me “He was just adjusting.” Lighthouse managed to help Nick regain control of his emotions, they boosted his confidence and gained his trust.

How did Lighthouse help your family and child reach their goals?

Nick was able to enjoy life again.  He was able to reenter school and ended up graduating from PHM.

What advice would you give prospective parents who are considering Lighthouse Autism Center for their child?

You can’t go wrong.  The people are all so caring and really want to help your child succeed.

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

Lighthouse Roots – The Story of Morgyn

In May of 2022, Lighthouse Autism Center is celebrating 10 years of business. This would not be possible without our clients. These families were some of the first families to receive services at Lighthouse Autism Center and helped build a strong foundation. We would not be where we are today without them! Thank you for choosing Lighthouse Autism Center and for trusting us to provide compassionate care and for being a part of our story.

Meet: Merle and Dawn Janiszewski, parents of Morgyn

Morgyn’s Lighthouse Story

Morgyn attended Lighthouse Autism Center Park Place and Edison Lakes between 2013 and 2017. She was 11 years old when she first enrolled.

Lighthouse Journey:

Tell us about your favorite memory from your child’s time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Morgyn loved when she was tickled by the therapists, and she loved to swing.

Tell us something your child does or is independent with now that you attribute to their time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Morgyn helps with cleaning dishes when asked, knows her colors and can count really well. She can spell her name and likes a few more vegetables because of Lighthouse.

How did Lighthouse help your family and child reach their goals?

Lighthouse brought out the entire person in Morgyn.  She returned to public school and did really well and became many teachers’ favorite student.  She “graduated” high school and is now involved in the adult day program in the same school corporation.  She is again a favorite of her current teacher.  She is more patient and responds to questions when asked as well as mostly does what she is told.

What advice would you give prospective parents who are considering Lighthouse Autism Center for their child?

If you don’t believe in small miracles, you will after experiencing lighthouse.  We were so happy, lucky and blessed to find Lighthouse.  Before Lighthouse, the public school system was not making noticeable progress with Morgyn.  It took us a few months to secure financial avenues and Lighthouse stuck with us during this time.  Experiencing that showed us that Lighthouse puts the children they serve as the main priority.

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

Lighthouse Roots – The Story of Hunter

In May of 2022, Lighthouse Autism Center is celebrating 10 years of business. This would not be possible without our clients. These families were some of the first families to receive services at Lighthouse Autism Center and helped build a strong foundation. We would not be where we are today without them! Thank you for choosing Lighthouse Autism Center and for trusting us to provide compassionate care and for being a part of our story.

Meet: John and Tara Antonucci, parents of Hunter

 Hunter’s Lighthouse Story

Hunter attended Lighthouse Autism Center Park Place and Edison Lakes between 2012 and 2018. He was nine years old when he first enrolled.

Lighthouse Journey:

Tell us about your favorite memory from your child’s time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Hunter loved all the staff at Lighthouse- and he would frequently try to “butter “them up with hugs to get out of his work.

Tell us something your child does or is independent with now that you attribute to their time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Hunter learned to dress himself, basics of following one and two step direction, all important daily life skills doing laundry, using the microwave and basic hygiene like teeth brushing and flossing.

How did Lighthouse help your family and child reach their goals?

Lighthouse gave us hope, an outstanding support system of other parents in our area who were dealing with issues with the schools and overall, a resource for ABA therapy that was new to the community at the time.  Gregg and Sandy were truly angels for providing this resource to parents in the community.

What advice would you give prospective parents who are considering Lighthouse Autism Center for their child?

Lighthouse is an outstanding resource!

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

Lighthouse Roots – The Story of Ginny

In May of 2022, Lighthouse Autism Center is celebrating 10 years of business. This would not be possible without our clients. These families were some of the first families to receive services at Lighthouse Autism Center and helped build a strong foundation. We would not be where we are today without them! Thank you for choosing Lighthouse Autism Center and for trusting us to provide compassionate care and for being a part of our story.

About Ginny

Ginny attended Lighthouse Autism Center Park Place and Edison Lakes between 2012 and 2017. She was 12 years old when she first enrolled.

Ginny’s Lighthouse Journey

Tell us about your favorite memory from your child’s time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

How happy she was to go to Lighthouse and see all her friends and therapists. We (Ginny) still sees and interacts with a couple therapists and friends she made at Lighthouse.

Tell us something your child does or is independent with now that you attribute to their time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Ginny is able to put on her socks and shoes with minimal help, she can brush her teeth without much help and apply deodorant. She can put on her coat and her shirts. And she can undress completely by herself. She uses utensils and can pour a drink (most of the time). She can complete simple puzzles and color. She will swing independently on her swing set, enjoys walking on the treadmill and of course she enjoys a good ‘dance party’!

How did Lighthouse help your family and child reach their goals?

Ginny grew in ways we didn’t think would be possible. Lighthouse Autism Center gave us the support we needed to help Ginny be as successful as possible. We are so grateful that Lighthouse was a part of our lives and our daughter’s life. LAC is truly a game changer. A dream would be an LAC for adults – adult day services.

What advice would you give prospective parents who are considering Lighthouse Autism Center for their child?

Trust the BCBA’s and RBT’s they know what they are doing, and they have your child’s best interest in mind. Follow through with what they are doing at the center at home as much as you possibly can. Have them partner with your child’s school and be a strong advocate for your child. You won’t know what your child is capable of if you do not try different tasks/skills.

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

Lighthouse Roots – The Story of Dylan

In May of 2022, Lighthouse Autism Center is celebrating 10 years of business. This would not be possible without our clients. These families were some of the first families to receive services at Lighthouse Autism Center and helped build a strong foundation. We would not be where we are today without them! Thank you for choosing Lighthouse Autism Center and for trusting us to provide compassionate care and for being a part of our story.

Meet: Tom and Christi Sexton, parents of Dylan

Dylan’s Lighthouse Story

Dylan attended Lighthouse Autism Center Park Place and Edison Lakes between 2012 and 2017. He was 12 years old when he first enrolled.

Lighthouse Journey:

Tell us about your favorite memory from your child’s time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

We have several, but I think one of the parties they had where Dylan was laughing and dancing around.  He absolutely loves music.

Tell us something your child does or is independent with now that you attribute to their time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

He’s very polite.  He always says “please” and “no thank you” if he does not want something.  Even if he’s yelling it, he’s still polite.

How did Lighthouse help your family and child reach their goals?

Lighthouse has helped in so many ways.

What advice would you give prospective parents who are considering Lighthouse Autism Center for their child?

We would encourage them to go.  Lighthouse has been such an important part of our lives.  They have been so incredibly helpful in every way.  Having to take your not very verbal child to a place and leave them is a very scary thing.  I felt so relaxed when he was there rather than a regular school.  I knew he was being taken care of and that I didn’t need to worry about his safety.  That is huge for us parents!

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

Lighthouse Roots – The Story of Ally

In May of 2022, Lighthouse Autism Center is celebrating 10 years of business. This would not be possible without our clients. These families were some of the first families to receive services at Lighthouse Autism Center and helped build a strong foundation. We would not be where we are today without them! Thank you for choosing Lighthouse Autism Center and for trusting us to provide compassionate care and for being a part of our story.

Meet: Lisa Cook, parent of Ally

Ally’s Lighthouse Story

Ally attended Lighthouse Autism Center in Mishawaka between 2012 and 2013. She was four years old when she first enrolled.

Lighthouse Journey:

Ally was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two.  The specialist at the Mayo Clinic told us about ABA therapy.  He painted a picture of what Ally’s life would be like if we continued with the limited therapies she was receiving (not graduating high school or living alone as an adult) and then what her life could be like with ABA therapy.  We were living in a small town in Iowa at the time and there were no ABA centers in the state. We struggled for another year, until our insurance stopped covering the limited therapies she was receiving. It became clear that Ally would not thrive if we stayed in Iowa.  She was an expert escape artist, dismantling every child lock system we installed.  We struggled to keep her safe in our own home.  She was not verbal and any change in routine led to hours of meltdowns.  We took a huge leap of faith, left good jobs and put our house on the market and moved here.

Long story short, we fought insurance for another year to get ABA coverage and so many doors slammed shut.  My favorite memory from LAC was the first time we met Gregg and Sandy and they shared their story.  They gave us so much hope.  They offered the last spot at the Mishawaka center to Ally.  Sandy helped us move mountains with insurance. The staff that worked with Ally was so creative in finding ways to motivate her.  My favorite was the paper ballerinas they made with her and hung from the ceiling over her workspace. She still has them. Over the course of 1 year Ally’s speech exploded.  She went from using a few sentences to get her needs met, to talking nonstop about everything.  She no longer attempted to escape our house and her tantrums became few and far between.  She went from eating 3-4 different foods to trying new foods daily.  But it is really so much more than the measurable goals and data sheets. When Ally was little, I could see in her eyes that she understood every word I said, and I wanted so desperately to connect with her.  The biggest impact that LAC had on our family was bridging that connection. My husband and I have a relationship with her that we didn’t think was possible.  I love the depth of our conversations and her unique perspectives.  Ally is a prime example of the profound impact of early intervention.

Lighthouse did an amazing job transitioning her into kindergarten.  She has had several outstanding teachers in elementary school that have continued to build upon the foundation that was started at LAC.  She is now a straight A student and has scored above average on the ILearn 3 years in a row. She no longer has an IEP.  Her robotics team made it to state and placed 2nd overall. She loves to fish, plays guitar, is competitive in archery, and boys…so many boys. More importantly, she’s happy.  She’s becoming a great advocate for herself.  She remembers a lot from her time at LAC and wishes that every child with autism could go there because of how much it helped her.

We sacrificed so much and fought so long to get ABA therapy for Ally.  It was so worth it.  It blows my mind that other parents would hesitate to send their child to Lighthouse Autism Center.  I would love for them to meet Ally.

We have been thrilled to see how Lighthouse has rapidly expanded over the past 10 years and how many more families you have been able to help.

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

Lighthouse Roots – The Story of Alexis

In May of 2022, Lighthouse Autism Center is celebrating 10 years of business. This would not be possible without our clients. These families were some of the first families to receive services at Lighthouse Autism Center and helped build a strong foundation. We would not be where we are today without them! Thank you for choosing Lighthouse Autism Center and for trusting us to provide compassionate care and for being a part of our story.

Meet: Jodi and David Donathen, parents of Alexis

Alexis’ Lighthouse Story

Alexis attended Lighthouse Autism Center Park Place and Edison Lakes between 2012 and 2017. She was 12 years old when she first enrolled. Lexi was the eleventh client to join at Lighthouse Autism Center’s very first center! The group of kiddos that attended with her have a very special bond to this day as well as the group of parents. These families continue to cheer each other on and pick each other up. They consider the group as one big family.

Lighthouse Journey:

Tell us about your favorite memory from your child’s time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

The holiday party at Christmas time. We enjoyed watching Lexi participate in the stations and the camaraderie between she and the other members of her pod. Every season brought a special event, but Santa and his elves sparked a special light with our girl.

Tell us something your child does or is independent with now that you attribute to their time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Lexi’s independence with self-help was vastly improved while in attendance at the center(s). She has continued to dress herself with minimal cueing and assist. LAC helped us to see her potential and carry the tools and tactics used by the therapist to Segway into her everyday life at home.

How did Lighthouse help your family and child reach their goals?

Lighthouse Autism Center helped us be better equipped to recognize her abilities and to let her grow as an individual.

What advice would you give prospective parents who are considering Lighthouse Autism Center for their child?

Jump. Feet first! Be ready to watch your child bloom and grow. But the work is not just for your child. Be prepared to step back and work yourselves. It’s a team initiative. The work doesn’t stop at the center. Ask questions and reflect at how your household can begin mimicking the work that is being done during the day. Join in your child’s education in a new and functional way that acknowledges who they are as an individual, not a standard set of prewritten and defined goals and objectives set forth by a district or corporation. The program is not cookie cutter/one size fits all. It is an individualized education program (IEP) that is truly centered around your learner.

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

Lighthouse Roots – The Story of Adam

In May of 2022, Lighthouse Autism Center is celebrating 10 years of business. This would not be possible without our clients. These families were some of the first families to receive services at Lighthouse Autism Center and helped build a strong foundation. We would not be where we are today without them! Thank you for choosing Lighthouse Autism Center and for trusting us to provide compassionate care and for being a part of our story.

Meet: Kub and Cheryl Marshman, parents of Adam

Adam’s Lighthouse Story

Adam attended Lighthouse Autism Center Park Place and Edison Lakes between 2012 and 2015. He was 11 years old when he first enrolled.

Lighthouse Journey:

Tell us about your favorite memory from your child’s time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Adam was potty trained by Lighthouse staff. This was such a challenge that so many parents struggle with.

Tell us something your child does or is independent with now that you attribute to their time at Lighthouse Autism Center.

Before Lighthouse, Adam’s diet consisted of a lot of milk, yogurt, and snack type foods. Lighthouse came to our house at dinner time and after roughly 5 days of therapy, encouragement, and rewards, Adam was eating the same meals we were. It was a remarkable turnaround. Today, he eats a large variety of foods including every food group.

How did Lighthouse help your family and child reach their goals?

Goals were documented, and progress data driven and measured. There were regularly scheduled in person progress meetings and reports on goals and progress.

What advice would you give prospective parents who are considering Lighthouse Autism Center for their child?

You are the parents of your child. No one knows your child like you do. Put your trust in a group of people who have nothing but your child’s best interest at heart. At some point you have thought, “I know my kid has more potential than what I’ve been led to believe”.  Lighthouse and you can uncover that potential.

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

Brewing up success with one Lighthouse Autism Family

Following the Journey of Nick – delivering 22 years of compassionate care

Featuring Maggie Curry, Program Manager, BCBA

2010

Maggie Curry started working with Nick at an ABA provider in 2010. He was 6 years old at the time. His family moved to Indiana from Nebraska for quality ABA services when Nick was 3 or 4 years old. At this time, Nick’s family was dedicated to his care and fostering his unlimited potential. Even at his early age, Nick’s family would talk about their goals of life readiness and future employment when he was old enough. Nick’s mother wanted to own a coffee shop and employ Nick, so that she could remained involved with his needs.

2013

Nick ended up starting in school and changed ABA providers before beginning at Access which has since been acquired by Lighthouse Autism Center. Maggie started at Access in 2014 and was once again Nick’s therapist for in-home services. As he grew older, he took a liking and interest to the kitchen, always assisting his mom with meals, baking, groceries, and in any way he could. This further fueled the idea to have him work in a restaurant or coffee shop.

Maggie was promoted to a trainer position while attending school to become a Board Certified Behavior Analysist and remained involved with Nick’s programming for supervision and training his therapists. Once she was certified, Maggie became Nick’s BCBA.

2021

Nick’s parents made the decision to invest in a coffee shop franchise based out of Nebraska and open one here in Indiana. They are a very close family and often travel back to Nebraska to visit and spend holidays there as well, in addition to much of their family from Nebraska coming to Indiana to visit often – some have even moved here permanently!

2022

It’s a long process for Nick and his family and they are working on finding the perfect location and hope to have a shop opened within the next year. By then, Nick will be 18 years of age and will be their first employee! They are also hoping to hire a few other employees with special needs and offer a safe and accepting environment for them to continue to grow and gain independence.

“It’s been amazing to work with Nick and his family for so long and watch this dream unfold. I’ve worked with them for 12 years, and while I’ll be sad not to work with Nick any longer, I cannot wait to go to Scooter’s and order a cup of coffee!” Maggie Curry, Program Manager, BCBA

Nick’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfv0W4uirGY

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