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Lighthouse Autism Center Celebrates 8 Year Anniversary

It’s hard to believe it has been eight years since Lighthouse Autism Center first opened its doors. From humble beginnings of just serving four families in Mishawaka, Lighthouse Autism Center now provides autism services to over 100 families across Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan.

While Lighthouse Autism Center may have grown, the quality ABA therapy and values upon which the center was founded have not changed. As parents of a child with autism, Gregg and Sandy started Lighthouse Autism Center with the goal of providing the best ABA therapy to communities in need. Now, eight years later, Lighthouse is doing just that in Mishawaka, Granger, Elkhart, Plymouth, Warsaw and Portage, MI.

While we may not have imagined we would ever be in a place where our staff are wearing masks and children are having their temperatures checked multiple times a day, we are adapting to these new challenges so that we can continue to provide the same quality ABA therapy we have always provided.

We are proud to serve families with autism in Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan, and we look forward to another year of working with the families and team that bring us so much joy.

Lighthouse Autism Center Reopens All Centers with New Health & Safety Procedures

After nearly 6 weeks of being closed, Lighthouse Autism Center is excited to reopen each of it’s seven centers and begin offering ABA services to our families. While Lighthouse Autism Center is an essential service, we felt it was in the best interest of our families and employees to remain closed during the peak of COVID-19 outbreak. Now, with COVID-19 cases on the decline, and with new enhanced health and safety measures in place,  we are prepared to resume offering the highest quality ABA therapy services to our families.

Autism Therapists where masks to protect children.
Lighthouse Autism Center therapists wear masks to keep those they work with safe.

 

So, what does the “new normal” look like at Lighthouse Autism Center?

Social Distancing

Each center has been modified to include only one child per room or two children in very large rooms. We believe this will be necessary for several weeks in order to comply with recommended social distancing practices.

Temperature and Symptom Checks

All employees and children have their temperatures taken before entering a building and two additional times throughout the day. Any individuals who have a temperature of 99.5 or higher, or show any symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough, or shortness of breath, will not be permitted to enter a center until they are tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative test result.

Masks

All employees must have a mask on before entering a building. Masks will be worn all day until someone exits a center. We have special clear masks to be used by therapists who offer speech therapy services to Lighthouse kiddos.

Program Modification

Children will no longer eat together in the lunchroom and some group programs will temporarily be eliminated (like group time). Instead, children they will eat in their room at their desks and social programs will be done with a therapist as opposed to with other children. This will ensure minimal contact in group spaces.

Extra Sanitation

Extra employees are on site at each building sanitizing all common surfaces (door knobs, handles, bathrooms, kitchens, etc…) multiple times a day.

The Lighthouse Autism Center Team will continue to meet weekly and provide regular updates to parents and the greater community. We know these extra precautions will not need to be in place forever, but for the time being, they will aid in keeping our children, employees and families safe.

For questions or to learn more about Lighthouse Autism Center, please call 574-387-4313.

Lighthouse Families First Foundation Makes $50,000 in Donations to Local Food Pantries

Similar to so many individuals, businesses, organizations and the entire world, Lighthouse Autism Center, a therapy center for children with autism, has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. All seven therapy centers are closed, and services are currently provided to children and families through telehealth. In Lighthouse Autism Center’s eight years of operation, the team hasn’t experienced anything like it.

Members of the Lighthouse Team prepare to drop off donations.

During a time when so many are suffering, Lighthouse Autism Center is seeking to do its part by helping those in the communities that we serve. Through the Lighthouse Families First Foundation, donations totaling $50,000 on behalf of each one of the Lighthouse Autism Center employees has been made to local food pantries. These donations were given to: Hope Ministries in South Bend, IN, Mishawaka Food Pantry in Mishawaka, IN, Church Community Services in Elkhart, IN, Fellowship Missions in Warsaw, IN, Marshall County Neighborhood Center In Plymouth, IN, and Loaves and Fishes in Kalamazoo, MI.

The Lighthouse Team at Fellowship Missions in Warsaw, IN

Founders of Lighthouse Autism Center, Gregg and Sandy Maggioli, said, “At each of the Lighthouse centers, you will see a list of values displayed that guide our organization. The first value listed is ‘care about people more than anything.’ Even though we may be closed, we still live our values and we are seeking to do that now more than ever by helping those most in need in our communities.”

To learn more contact Lighthouse Autism Center at 574-387-4313.

At Home Resources for Families During COVID-19

Our Lighthouse team understands the challenges that parents and children face when their daily routines are disrupted. During this time of adjustment, we want to help our kiddos by providing some fun and educational activities.

Please see below for a list of resources you may utilize during the coming weeks. We have included fun virtual tours of museums and zoos, educational websites and games, easy and creative at-home activities, and some ways to get up and move! There is also a social story that can help explain COVID-19 to children.

COVID-19 Schedule

 Social Stories

CoronaVirus Social Story

Additional Visual Schedules, Social Narratives, and More

Libraries/Digital Collections:

St. Joseph County

Elkhart

Plymouth

Warsaw

Portage, MI 

Zoos/Animals/Nature:

Meijer Gardens – 10:00 am daily story time and live view of butterfly exhibit.

Sandiego Zoo – Games and activities to learn about animals.

Cincinnati Zoo – 3:00 pm Daily Home Safaris

Switch Zoo – Watch, listen, and play fun animal games!

National Geographic – videos, games and brain boosters!

Young Explorer Magazine 

Virtual Tours:

Canadian Farm and Food Tours

Louvre Museum – Take a virtual tour!

Monterey Bay Aquarium – View animals on a live cam.

Reid Park Zoo – Live cam of animals at the zoo

Tour your favorite city, or, somewhere you’ve never been! 360 views of cities around the world.

Looking for more live web cam options, view another list of live web cam options offered by various organizations around the world, here!

Games/Education:

Camp Discovery for Autism- a learning app made for those with autism.

PBS Kids – Educational games based on PBS Kids shows

Fun Brain – Pre-K to 8 years old – math, games and books.

Star Fall – Reading and Phonics Skill Activities

Dr. Seuss Books and Activities for all ages

Stories read by celebrities.

ABC – educational games from pre-k to grade 6.

Highlights Kids – activities, games and jokes!

NASA – Join NASA Kids Club

Weather Wiz Kids – fun weather experiments to do with kids!

Movement/Music:

OT Development Activities

Strength, Agility and Movement Exercises

Music and Movement

Music Lab – Explore and Create Music

STEM Activities

A special shout out to Hannah and her Girl Scout Troop who assisted in contributing the resources below!

Junior Handyman’s Toolkit: Classroom Projects, Essentials and Checklists 

Engineering Games and Projects 
STEM Activities

Other Activities:

Free Science Activities

Indoor Activities for your toddler!

 

Staff Spotlight: Meet Ashley

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.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Ashley, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in Warsaw, Indiana

Meet Ashley. Ashley is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Program Manager at our Warsaw center. Ashley has worked at Lighthouse Autism Center for 5 years and began her Lighthouse journey as an RBT before being promoted to a Senior Therapist and eventually a Program Manager. She designs unique programs for each of the children she works with and works with therapists to implement these unique programs.

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

“I joined the LAC team for their values and passion for working with the kiddos and providing services for children in need in the area.”

What is your favorite memory from your time at Lighthouse?

“One of my favorite memories is being a part of the Warsaw Center expansion. During this time, we doubled in staff size and caseload in a matter of 6 months. This was exciting to me because it meant that LAC was able to provide more and more services for children in the area. The atmosphere at Warsaw has always been positive and collaborative. Given the openness of the center, all staff are provided with the experience of a team. Therapist, senior therapist and management are continuously working together to provide the best therapy possible for all of the kiddos.”

How would you describe your Lighthouse experience?

“I would describe my Lighthouse experience as wonderful. Through my different positions and locations at Lighthouse I have always been greeted with smiles and encouragement in my job. Now as a manager, I make sure to continuously follow our LAC values of care about people, more than anything and give away credit. It is the positive, kind words that go a long way!”

Ashley grew up in Valparaiso with a large family. She is the youngest of four and has 15 nieces and nephews! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs, Wrigley and Duke!

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.