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Staff Spotlight: Meet Autumn

Lighthouse Autism Center is starting a new initiative highlighting the amazing employees we have working at our centers. Our Staff Spotlight will feature employees across all different centers in a variety of positions. This is an opportunity for our community to get to know the people who work so hard every day to deliver the best aba therapy to the kids and families we serve.

aba therapist
Autumn pictured with her husband and two daughters

 

Meet Autumn. Autumn is a Senior Therapist at our Mishawaka location. Autumn has worked at Lighthouse for two years and began her Lighthouse journey as an RBT before being promoted to a Senior Therapist As a Senior Therapist she works closely with BCBA’s to implement behavior programs for Lighthouse kiddos.

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

“After graduating with my B.A. in Sociology and Minor in Psychology from Indiana University, I was a stay-at-home mom for a few years and wanted to find a job where I could be able to continue working with kids and making a difference.”

Tell us about the team you work with.

“I have made some of my best friends while working at Lighthouse. Over the course of these two years, I’ve developed and grown friendships that I believe will last a lifetime. A couple of my co-workers and I even created a Book Club together (shout out to Alex, Veronica, and Ale), and I’ve made a lot more memories with co-workers that I consider to be great friends now!”

What is your favorite memory from your time at Lighthouse?

“There was one kiddo in particular that I had a very special bond with – I always looked forward to coming in to work and working with her, or just hearing her in the hallway talking up a storm. I think what I enjoy the most is that I truly love ALL of the kiddos that I work with! They are WONDERFUL!! Watching them grow and learn and develop their skills is truly an honor.

How would you describe your Lighthouse experience?

“I have loved working at Lighthouse! The 28th of February will be 2 years that I’ve been at Lighthouse and throughout my 2 years, I’ve worked at the Park Place, Granger and Edison locations, and I loved working at each one. I’ve learned so much about myself and I’ve developed such amazing friendships along the way. I’ve been able to learn from amazing people at each location. I feel immensely blessed to be working at Lighthouse.”

Autumn is currently working towards her Master’s degree in ABA at Ball State University. When not working with Lighthouse kiddos, Autumn enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters.

Interested in learning more about a career with Lighthouse Autism Center? We are hiring! For a list of available positions or to apply, click here.

What is Board Certified Behavior Analyst?

In the world of autism, and more specifically ABA therapy, you often hear many acronyms for various individuals, procedures, and protocols. Today, we are talking about BCBA’s, or, Board Certified Behavior Analysts. If you’re child receives ABA therapy, you may have worked with a BCBA, or if you are in the field of health services, you may have encountered BCBA’s. So who are they and what do they do?

What makes someone a BCBA?

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst is an individual who has received their master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, has experience working in the field of behavior analysis, and has passed the BCBA certification exam. These are highly trained individuals who are considered experts in the field of behavior analysis.

What does a BCBA do?

If your child attends an ABA center, or receives ABA therapy, their program has been written and is overseen by a BCBA. They are able to assess children who already have an autism diagnosis, and determine what programs will help your child learn new skills, refine previously learned skills, and navigate problem behaviors.

BCBA’s at Lighthouse Autism Center

At Lighthouse Autism Center, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts are all full-time, center-based individuals who are highly involved in the day-to-day activities of our centers. They have small caseloads so they are able to spend time each week with every single child they oversee programming for, as well as consistently review and update programs to ensure children are achieving the best possible outcomes.

BCBA’s at Lighthouse Autism Center are invested in the success of each child and want to help them achieve the best quality of life. They are hands-on and encourage parents to be heavily involved in goal setting for their child. They also work with parents to give them the tools to follow through with therapy at home and increase their preparedness to help their child if they are experiencing problem behavior. They will also review a child’s progress every few weeks with parents and caregivers to keep them informed and provide an opportunity to discuss any new programs a parent might want to see for their child.

You can learn more about Board Certified Behavior Analysts by visiting the Behavior Analyst Certification Board website at www.bacb.com.

 

 

Community Resources for Autism in South Bend, Indiana

The most recent CDC report stated that 1 in 58 children are diagnosed with autism. Chances are, you or someone you know is affected by autism in some way. Whether you were diagnosed, a child, a family member, or a friend. Those who care for someone with autism know that it truly takes a village to be able to provide them with the necessary tools and supports to be successful and have the best quality of life. This can be in the form of supportive family members, teachers at school, parent support groups, and other community resources. Many are unaware of the community resources that exist and how to access them. Below is a list of community resources related to autism in South Bend, Indiana. Most of these resources not only serve South Bend, Indiana, but provide support to families all over the Michiana area.

 

“A Place to Be Me” – Children’s Dispensary, Inc.

www.childrensdispensary.org

The Children’s Dispensary provides social and recreational activities in the South Bend area to allow children and families with special needs social interaction. They do this through fun in music, creative arts, cooking, movement, and sports in the community.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorders Family Support Group

574-289-4831

This South Bend, Indiana area resource is open to families and caregivers of those with autism. They do not have a website but can be reached at 574-289-4831.

 

INSOURCE

www.insource.org

INSOURCE provides families, parents, caregivers and providers in the state of Indiana with information and trainings to be able to advocate for individuals with special needs.

 

LOGAN Community Resources, Inc.

Home

LOGAN is long-standing member of the South Bend Community and has served as a support to special needs families for over 50 years. They support people and families with special needs including adult day services and recreation, autism services, best buddies and super sibs, children’s services and residential services.

 

The Play Project

https://www.playproject.org/

The Play Project in South Bend, Indiana seeks to assist young children with autism in reaching their fullest potential through the power of play.

 

If you are looking for more information about resources for autism in South Bend, Indiana, please contact Lighthouse Autism Center’s Family Outreach Coordinator at 574-387-4313.

ABA Therapy Tips for 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 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.

Winter Activities for Your Child with Autism

Winter in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan can last anywhere from October to April, and is often unpredictable, cold, and filled with snow. For parents, finding winter activities for your child with autism can be a challenging. While the snow can be a fun and welcome activity for children, other times, the bitter cold can prevent children from playing outside. So, how do we keep children and children with autism busy during the cold winter months?

Outdoor Activities

When the temperature is a lovely 35 degrees (which is quite warm in this area during the winter months!) and there is a fresh blanket of snow, here are just a few activities to try with your child with autism.

  • Build a snowman – this can be a wonderful activity that your child can do independently or as a family. Consider building a replica of a favorite character or naming your snowman. Be sure to always explain that a snowman is only temporary and will melt when it gets warmer!
  • Sledding – get your child active by finding a park (be sure to find a safe space!) where your child can enjoy a trip sledding down a hill. A favorite past-time of most, this is sure to be something your child with autism will enjoy as well. Consider getting a sled big enough for two people so your child can sled with the assistance of an adult.
  • Frozen Water Balloons – fill balloons with different color water (just add food coloring!) to make a fun and beautiful display in your yard. Fill the balloons with water and place them outside. Within a few hours you should have a beautiful display of frozen water.
Indoor Activities

When the weather turns bitter cold or there are several inches of snow on the ground, you may find your child’s school closed and a house full of children. Here are a few ideas to keep your child with autism (and all of your children!) occupied when they are stuck inside:

  • Pajama Day – consider letting your child have a lazy day in pajamas. Make them their favorite breakfast and let them watch a favorite movie or TV show. Make a fort with pillows and blankets and let your children enjoy a cozy day inside.
  • Mall Visit – If the kids (and you!) are itching to get out of the house, take a trip to the mall. Make a game of walking around the mall to get some steps in and energy out. If you are able, let your child pick out a new toy or item once you have done so many trips around the mall.
  • Movie Day – this can be done at a local theater or at home. If you want to get out of the house, take advantage of discounted matinee prices and take the kids to see a favorite movie. Pop some popcorn at home and bring that jumbo size purse to provide some affordable snacks at the theater.

For children with autism, on days when school or an ABA therapy center is closed, be sure to do your best to keep a routine and follow through on skills and activities they are working on at home. ABA is meant to be consistent and intensive, and can only be successful if parents do their best to practice many of the same ABA skills that your child does at their ABA center at home.

For more information about autism, the signs of autism, ABA therapy and ABA centers, contact our Family Outreach Coordinator at 574-387-4313.