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Category Archives: Autism Center News

News from Lighthouse Autism Center

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

Access Behavior Analysis Joins the Lighthouse Autism Center Family

Lighthouse Autism Center is pleased to announce the acquisition of Access Behavior Analysis, one of the most well-respected ABA providers in central Indiana. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Access is a center-based ABA provider that operates four centers in Indianapolis and surrounding areas. Founded in 2013, Access specializes in offering an integrated therapy approach that fuses ABA and Speech Therapy services into one treatment from a dually-certified provider.

“Access has a strong team with impressive clinical experience and expertise.  Their deep passion and reputation of providing high-quality ABA services to children with autism align perfectly with the Lighthouse’s mission and values,” said Gregg Maggioli, Lighthouse’s co-founder and CEO. “We are excited to welcome Access to the Lighthouse family.”

Janine Shapiro, co-founder of Access commented that, “the operational, clinical, and moral imperatives that our organizations share will allow us to create a unique synergy that will bring the very best clinical services to children and families across Indiana and beyond.”

To learn more or inquire about services please visit

Lighthouse Autism Center Opens 3 New ABA Centers

ABA therapy with a child who has autism.

Lighthouse Autism Center is preparing to open three new ABA therapy centers this summer to meet growing demand in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan. Each center will serve nearly twenty families and create a combined 120 additional jobs in these areas. The newest center in South Bend, Indiana is located on Ireland Road and will open in July. In addition to serving as an ABA therapy center, it will also serve as the administrative headquarters for Lighthouse Autism Center.

“Lighthouse Autism Center is excited to continue our mission of brining the highest quality ABA therapy services to areas in need. With our newest centers in South Bend, Elkhart and Kalamzoo, we will be able to provide crucial therapy services to an additional 60-70 families who might otherwise not be able to access this therapy for their children,” said CEO and Founder of Lighthouse Autism Center, Gregg Maggioli. While the South Bend and Elkhart centers are slated to open in July of 2020, the Kalamazoo center will not open until August.

To learn more about Lighthouse Autism Center’s newest locations, visit or call 574-387-4313 to schedule

Communication and Autism: Using Visual Language

What is Visual Language?

Research tells us that children with autism are able to better communicate their wants and needs through images rather than words. With this knowledge, many autism therapy providers have started creating learning programs and software that focus on allowing children with autism to communicate with familiar and consistent images. This helps increase their understanding of basic communication and more easily communicate their wants, needs and emotions.  This “visual language” method of learning has proven incredibly successful in helping children with autism develop communication skills.

Using Visual Language to Communicate with Children Who Have Autism

Communication can be a major problem for families. It accounts for an estimated 60% of all family-related stress experienced on a daily basis. It is also the main reason that some children are slower to develop their social skills. By using visual communication tactics, families and autism therapy providers can give the child the tools they need to communicate their needs effectively. Once the child has these skills, it often alleviates many problems for families.

So, what are some of the visual communication techniques your child with autism can use?

1.) Dry Erase Board – The child can use a piece of paper or dry erase board to draw objects that symbolize their wants and needs.

2.) Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) – this is when a child has several pre-made (and often laminated) cards with images that communicate everything from needing to go to the bathroom to requesting a snack and telling someone how they are feeling. The parent can than react or provide the item to fulfill the need they are expressing.

3.) Tablet – children can use communication software downloaded to a tablet such as an ipad and use the system similar to a PECS system. This allows children to select images that express their wants and needs in a way that a parent or adult can understand.

To learn more about visual communication and your child with autism, contact Lighthouse Autism Center at 574-387-4313.

Technology as a Reinforcement Tool

While scientists work on finding the causes of autism behavioral specialists are making great strides in assisting child development through the use of technology.

The Benefits of Modern Technology

Computers in the classroom have evolved from a luxury to a necessity as communication technologies progress. As traditional classrooms have proven successful with the use of modern technology, autism specialists have been researching and developing therapies that use computers to improve communication means for children with autism.

How Does It Work?

Research has found that many children with autism are visual learners. Computers provide teachers and therapists the means to create visual presentations as well as the ability to use communication software that resonates with children who have autism. Because children with autism often communicate through images as opposed to words, computer language software programs provide a way for children to communicate their wants and needs in a way that makes sense to them.

What are the Benefits of Using Technology to Help Children with Autism?

Through this means of positive communication, children experience a more enjoyable, less stressful learning environment that increases their ability to break down their barriers and develop their social skills. One of the most widely used learning techniques with technology is practicing cause and effect. For example, if the child is hungry and wants to eat, he or she would be taught to draw, find or present an image of a food item. The child would then show their picture to their teacher or parent and receive the food they asked for.

Technology and computers can also be used to benefit those who seek to further develop motor skills. Working with a computer, iPad, video game or any technology requires children to practice and develop their fine motor skills, something children with autism often struggle with.

To learn more about the use of technology in ABA therapy or how ABA therapy can help your child, schedule a tour at one of our centers by calling 574-387-4313.