Hunter has grown exponentially through the time he’s spent at Lighthouse Autism Center. When he first started attending Lighthouse, he preferred playing with smaller toys at his desk or while sitting. His ability to communicate was minimal, unable to use one to two-word sentences and gaining attention in inappropriate ways. But with help from our therapists, we’re starting to see changes in Hunter’s behavior. Now, he likes playing on the trampoline or playing chase. In fact, he often asks his teachers or
other adults in the building to chase him around or just to give him a few tickles.
He’s mastered the PECS program and has started to use one to two-word sentences to ask for what he wants. He’s increased his ability to communicate and has learned appropriate ways to gain attention like tapping someone’s shoulder or saying their name. His behaviors are decreasing, especially flopping and head banging. We love seeing Hunter’s progress and are delighted to know his parents are seeing it too. “We’re truly blessed that we got Hunter into Lighthouse. We have seen so many changes and didn’t think it was possible for him to change in any way,” said Hunter’s mom. “He is finally using words and becoming a social butterfly! His behaviors are awesome compared to where they were. He’s opened up so much and we are
In his two years at Lighthouse Autism Center, Joey has made incredible progress.
When he first came to Lighthouse, Joey rarely spoke and had difficulty vocalizing his wants and needs. He did not make eye contact, didn’t follow direction, and was not able to sit down without engaging in negative behaviors. His father, Dwight, said, “Before our son started attending Lighthouse, he was nonverbal. His vocabulary had only a few words. He was not potty trained. He would not eat anything except dry cereal. When Christmas came each year, he would not open his presents. Joey was mostly locked in his own world.” His time spent with Lighthouse soon turned things around.
Now, Joey can speak in compete sentences, maintain eye contact, and answer 200 WH (ie. who, what, when, where, why) questions. He’s also able to read and spell over 100 kindergarten-level spelling words! Even more impressive, Joey has made great strides in his ability to follow 2-3 step instructions and can now sit up to 5 minutes without engaging in negative behaviors.
His parents are thrilled with his progress – and Lighthouse therapists are too! “Since attending Lighthouse, he is growing more and more every day! He doesn’t hold entire conversations, but he can say about anything he wants. He even sings!” said Melissa, Joey’s mother. “He has been at Lighthouse for only 2 years and has done so much more than we ever thought. We are looking forward to seeing how much he grows in the next years before transitioning him to public school.”
Nina has attended Lighthouse Autism Center since 2014 and has made incredible progress in her time here. So much so, that the Lighthouse clinical team has recommended she transition back to school full-time in January.
When Nina first began at Lighthouse Autism Center, she would ask for preferred items with only one-word sentences, making it very difficult for unfamiliar people to decipher what she was saying. Now, Nina uses five to seven word sentences and has drastically improved her articulation, resulting in overall better communication and understanding by others.
Nina’s mother expressed great appreciation for what LAC has done for Nina, saying “She looks at me, she holds me, she communicates with me and tells me what she is need of. She’s playful and she’s so funny. She has the personality, and this from my heart – I’m so happy for Nina. She deserves to have a bright future. She deserves to be happy and I have you to thank for that. You have given her guidance to find her voice, to share her thoughts, to be her true self.”
Furthermore, we continue to see Nina’s problem behaviors consistently decrease, specifically, with adapting to change. Prior to Lighthouse, Nina would have huge meltdowns, sometime lasting upwards of two hours, when dealing with change or work she did not want to do. Now, Nina will try new things including wearing different types or clothing, new foods, hairstyles and shoes. She no longer feels the need to bring all of her toys to school each day, and will consistently try new thing in her daily life!
Finally, Nina’s academic skills have also improved greatly. Nina can work independently for up to twenty-five minutes without a therapist’s assistance. We are so proud of her and excited for her to transition back to school!
Zac started three years ago at our Warsaw location as a nonverbal child with many behaviors, and has grown drastically during his time here. He now attends our Plymouth center and has few behaviors and has learned to communicate using one and two word phrases. His family’s dedication to getting him the therapy he needed has allowed Zac to make great strides since first receiving an autism diagnosis in 2013. While he’s been one of the few kids to attend more than one of our centers, and it meant a lot of driving for his family, they know it’s been worth it.
“Lighthouse Autism Center has truly been a lifesaver,” said Racheal, Zac’s mom.
Racheal said when Zac started at Lighthouse he had no words, but he’s made a lot of progress since then. “I will never forget the day that he looked at me and said ‘ I love you , mommy!’ I had waited for him to say those words and without Lighthouse being there helping him find his voice, I would have never heard those words.”
Here are several examples of the progress Zac’s made.
Independence: Zac’s gone from wearing diapers to being fully potty trained and independent in the bathroom.
Communication: Initially, Zac could barely make a few sounds. Now he uses an iPad and has a vocabulary of over 400 words.
Flopping: Zac went from flopping almost 400 minutes per day and refusing to work to flopping an average of just 20 minutes per day.
“Thank you so much for everything you have given us,” said Racheal. ” I cannot put into words how thankful we are to have found Lighthouse Autism Center and for everything you’ve done for us and Zac.”
In the three years Aidan has spent at Lighthouse he has grown from a child who had difficulty with his diet, communicating, and academic work, to a student transitioning back to school who now dreams of a career as a zookeeper! “We believe he would make an excellent one, and we would like him to have the same opportunities to fulfill this dream as any other child,” said his mom, Michelle. “We know Aidan is a very intelligent boy, and Lighthouse Autism Center has been able to let him show it to the world!” Prior to transitioning back to school, Aidan mastered first, second, and third grade workbooks, and started working on a fourth grade level that includes reading/writing, math, social studies, and science. Aidan has accomplishments in several other areas in addition to his academic ones. These include:
Communication: Aidan is more confident
and open about his thoughts and feelings,
and is now able to hold a conversation with
family and friends.
Diet: At first, Aidan would only eat taco meat
for lunch and dinner. He now eats 23 other
food items regularly and also attempts to try
Counting: Once unable to count by
multiples, he’s now proficient at addition
with borrowing, subtraction with carrying,
two-digit multiplication, and long division.
Aidan’s parents are both very proud he’s
graduating and able to attend traditional
“We are so thankful for Aidan’s Program Managers, Therapists, and the Lighthouse staff,” said Michelle. “You have been a big part of our lives for almost three years and we will never forget the things you have done for our Aidan. Thank you so much for giving Aidan your time, patience, love, and support.”