When it comes to caring for your child with autism, we understand that it truly “takes a village” to provide the best care for your child.
Taking a “team approach” to your child’s care will help them achieve the best possible outcomes. This means working in a spirit of collaboration with the various therapy providers, caregivers, and other parties involved in your child’s care. This team can include:
Lighthouse Autism Center
Family Doctor or Pediatrician
At Lighthouse Autism Center, we encourage the involvement of each and every team member to collectively work as a unified force in helping your child reach their fullest potential. P
At Lighthouse Autism Center, we take great pride in our staff. They are truly the backbone of our centers. All staff members are highly educated and trained. Each staff member has at least a Bachelor’s degree and all BCBA’s have a Master’s degree. All staff members are first aid, CPR and Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) certified. So who are the Lighthouse employees and what do they do?
Therapists make up the largest number of employees at Lighthouse Autism Center. Therapists are those employees working directly with your child each week. While program managers create therapy programs for your child, the therapists are the one’s implementing these programs. Therapists are also responsible for recording data and providing feedback to program managers and clinical directors regarding the programs implemented for your child. All therapists have at least a bachelor’s degree and go through constant ongoing training to ensure the highest quality therapy for your child. At Lighthouse, we have a wonderful group of therapists who are all very passionate about working with those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, some who have been doing so as long as eight years!
The program managers oversee the therapists who work with your child. Program managers conduct skill assessments when your child initially enrolls with the center, creates goals for and therapy plans for your child as well as writes insurance reports for your child and trains therapists in how to implement programs with your child. Furthermore, they then analyze data on the children’s behaviors, revise goals and therapy programs accordingly, monitor therapists working with your child, and work directly with parents to provide updates regarding their child’s progress.
A clinical director is the most senior clinical staff member. The clinical director oversees the entire clinical team and program manager’s report directly to the clinical director. The clinical director’s responsibilities include developing quality ongoing training for program managers and therapists, child intake, and community outreach. The director spends a majority of their time observing children, and monitoring their programs and behavior intervention programs (BIPs) to ensure they are appropriate and implemented properly.
With a passionate and highly qualified clinical team, you can’t go wrong with LAC!
One of the most important criteria for choosing an autism therapy center is safety. When working with children who have autism, safety is of the most paramount importance. At Lighthouse Autism Center, we are committed to providing the utmost security for your child, ensuring a safe and educational environment.
There are several safety precautions taken in order to ensure the safety of your child. These include:
Doors – Every singly door in each center is locked. This means that if a child tries to “elope” or run, they cannot exit the building. Each door has a button above the door that must be pressed in order to exit the building. In the six years the centers have been open, a child has never escaped. Furthermore, the doors are also locked from the outside meaning that the only way an individual (besides staff members and parents who have key fobs) to enter the center is for someone inside the building to let them inside.
Staff- All staff members are put through multiple interviews, reference checks, and background checks before being offered a position with the center.
Training- Each staff member is provided with two weeks of training prior to commencing therapy with a child. Not only that, the center provides certification training for each therapist in both CPR as well as Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI).
Emergency Protocols– Each center has emergency protocols for severe weather, fires, and lock downs. Several times throughout the year emergency drills are issued in order to ensure staff members and children know how to react in an emergency situation.
No matter which LAC center you walk into, you will receive the same Lighthouse experience: Highly qualified therapists, one-on-one care, beautifully decorated, clean and safe centers, toys for all ages, and a warm and welcoming center. While the centers are similar in many ways, one way the centers differ is in the age groups they serve.
Mishawaka: Mishawaka is the only location that currently has two centers. The first center serves children from birth to five years of age and largely focuses on preparing children for school. The second location focuses on serving children from six to eleven years old (and sometimes older) and involves working on school skills as well as early life skills.
Plymouth: The Plymouth center serves the widest age range of children from two years old to sixteen years old. As a result, there are a wide variety of skills incorporated into therapy at this location depending on the child’s age and skill set.
Warsaw: In Warsaw, the center mainly serves children two to twelve years of age and focuses both on skills used to transition children back to school as well as some early-life skills.
Portage, Michigan: Similar to the Warsaw center, the LAC in Portage also serves children two to twelve years of age and focuses both on school skills as well as early-life skills.
While each center has a primary age group they serve, it’s important to remember that therapy is tailored to your child’s skills and needs and will always be unique to your child in order to help them reach their fullest potential.
As a parent, it is our goal to love and protect our children. This means doing everything in our power to make sure our child is loved, happy, and healthy. While it may be difficult to admit your child may have a problem, when it comes to an autism diagnosis, every minute matters. The best thing you could do for your child with autism is identify it early and enroll them in ABA therapy as soon as possible.
So, what is autism and how do you know if your child may have it?
Autism spectrum disorder is a spectrum of closely related disorders with shared core symptoms. Autism generally appears in infancy and early childhood, causing a delay in basic areas of development such as talking, playing and interacting with others.
As a parent, it is important to look for early signs of autism in your child. Symptoms can appear as early as six months of age and ideally, autism should be identified and treated beginning by 18 months of age. This will provide your child with the best opportunity for treatment.
What are the early signs of autism you should look for in your child and what steps should you take if you think your child has autism?
Developmental Delays – autism involves a variety of developmental delays including: no social smiling, lack of eye contact, poor visual tracking, unexpected reactions to sounds, lack of social babbling, not responding to name, lack of interest in interacting, not meeting verbal milestones, etc…
Trust your instinct – as a parent, you know your child best. Sometimes, even well-meaning doctors can miss signs of autism. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, take action and be persistent.
Don’t “wait and see” – some parents may want to “wait and see” if their child hasn’t reached certain developmental milestones. If you suspect something may be wrong, take action. The best thing you can do for your child with autism is identify the diagnosis early and begin treatment.