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2022 Autism Awareness Scholarship Winner!

Congratulations to our 2022 Autism Awareness Scholarship Recipient

In 2020, Lighthouse Autism Center established the Lighthouse Autism Center Autism Awareness scholarship. This scholarship is intended to provide financial assistance to an individual enrolled at a college or university as an undergraduate student in their junior or senior year, preferably in an area that we currently serve. While we had many impressive applications, Heather Hilliard was selected as the awardee for this scholarship.

About Heather Hillard

Heather Hillard is a senior undergraduate student at Ball State University. Heather is pursuing a bachelors in speech pathology with a minor in educational psychology. She is a first-generation college student who strives to make her goals of achieving a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, into a reality.

Heather chose this major for many reasons, but the biggest one has been the incredible speech-language pathologists that influenced her in her own early development. Heather was a child who experienced a slow speech development and was diagnosed with apraxia of speech.  She had surgery for tubes to be placed in her ears at 2 years-old, and she knew it was something she was going to be dealing with for a while, with many speech therapists to come.

Shortly after that, Heather found herself at the young age of three, working with an at-home speech-language pathologist, followed by a year in the Pals Program at the local high school, a year of Head Start at an elementary school, and finally working with another elementary school’s SLP during her kindergarten year.

This really resonated with Heather as she started researching her options for a college and a field of study, since this was a challenge that she faced as a child. Heather knew that in her heart it was right where she needed to be in order to get speech therapy to kids as young as possible to reach their unlimited potential.

Heather has worked in prior roles as a substitute teacher as well as a Registered Behavior Technician. She attributes these experiences to creating the pathway for her to pursue a career in speech pathology. Heather enjoys working with children and finding creative ways to make speech activities effective and fun. She has worked with children with a variety of disabilities, nonverbal and limited speaking abilities.

Heather is a responsible student who values and practices hard work and rigorous study. She has maintained an impressive 3.9 GPA and has been named on the Dean’s List every semester at Ball State University.  Heather plans to apply to Ball State’s graduate program upon completing her undergraduate degree and will work towards earning her SLP-A certification. She hopes to provide speech services to Central Indiana and surrounding communities to continue giving back to the state that has allowed her to flourish into the young adult that she has become today.

Congratulations Heather!

To learn more about the Autism Awareness Scholarship, visit: https://lighthouseautismcenter.com/scholarship/

 

The Compassion behind Our Care – Meet Sam Farber

Get to know the Compassionate Team of Clinical Experts at Lighthouse Autism Center

Meet Sam Farber

Sam Farber is a speech-language pathologist at Lighthouse Autism Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences from Indiana University Bloomington and received her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. She has been in practice for six years. Sam recently enrolled at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in May 2022 to pursue her master’s in behavior analysis. She will join the team of three other dually certified SLP-BCBAs at Lighthouse Autism Center.

What made you decide on a career in therapy?

I have two brothers with autism and saw first-hand how therapies could impact not only their lives, but the lives of their loved ones as well.

What inspires/drives you?

My brothers and the clients I get to work with.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Seeing the impact for the kids and their families when they are able to communicate.

How has this career path impacted you?

This career has impacted me very positively both personally and professionally.  I get to work with wonderful clients who teach me just as much as I get to teach them and seeing them have a lot of success and go on to bigger and better things really is the highlight for me.

What advice would you give to those seeking a Similar career path?

I would advise them to get experience and volunteer for a variety of different organizations that support individuals with special needs. Not everyone has the experience of growing up with siblings with autism and getting that exposure helps you find what you are most interested such as ages of client, type of setting you want (clinic based vs. home based), etc.

Why Lighthouse Autism Center?

My sister works as a BCBA at Lighthouse and spoke highly of it.  I also had general understanding of ABA since I also worked with individuals with autism and grew up with my brothers, which is not common for an SLP.  I was interested in the opportunity to work with clients with ASD since each child is so unique and wanted to provide a service that was not available to Lighthouse Autism Center at the time.

What is your favorite part about Lighthouse Autism Center?

The collaboration with the BCBA’s and the families for the clients.

What Lighthouse Autism Center value to you identify most with?

“Care about people more than anything”

What is a fun/unique fact about you?

My favorite season is the summer and I prefer to spend my time off in the sun and on the lake.

 

To learn more about career opportunities at Lighthouse Autism Center, check out our career page today!

The Compassion Behind Our Care – Meet Emily Lourash

Get to know the Compassionate Team of Clinical Experts at Lighthouse Autism Center

Meet Emily Lourash

Emily Lourash is a speech-language pathologist at Lighthouse Autism Center. She has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in speech-language pathology, both from Indiana State University. She has been in practice for six years. Emily recently enrolled at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in May 2022 to pursue her master’s in behavior analysis. She will join the team of three other dually certified SLP-BCBAs at Lighthouse Autism Center.

What made you decide on a career in therapy?

My youngest brother has DiGeorge Syndrome, and we always went to therapy with him during the summer. I loved helping him with his speech therapy homework!

What inspires/drives you?

Providing an effective way for children to communicate their wants and needs.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Watching the progress and seeing the therapists, BCBA’s, and family’s face light up when their client/child has learned a new sound or way to communicate effectively.

How has this career path impacted you?

It has made me more empathetic in public when I see anyone with a disability.

What advice would you give to those seeking a Similar career path?

Stick with it! The classes are difficult, but the career is SO rewarding; no matter what span of life you are working with!

Why Lighthouse Autism Center?

I love the employees and the care they provide for all of the learners and families!

What is your favorite part about Lighthouse Autism Center?

My favorite part about Lighthouse is the way they care for their staff and the clients!

What Lighthouse Autism Center value to you identify most with?

“Judge people by more than their metrics” because there is much more to people than their stats, scores, diagnoses, and behaviors we see upon initially meeting.

What is a fun/unique fact about you?

My husband drag races so we spend majority of our summers at the race track!

 

To learn more about career opportunities at Lighthouse Autism Center, check out our career page today!

 

The Compassion Behind Our Care – Meet Helen Corey

Get to know the Compassionate Team of Clinical Experts at Lighthouse Autism Center

Meet Helen Corey

Helen Corey is a speech-language pathologist at Lighthouse Autism Center. She has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree with a concentration in speech-language pathology from Ball State University. She has been in practice for six years. Helen recently enrolled at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in May 2022 to pursue her master’s in behavior analysis. She will join the team of three other dually certified SLP-BCBAs at Lighthouse Autism Center.

What made you decide on a career in therapy?

I had delayed speech, and didn’t talk until I was 4 years old, and so I received speech therapy all throughout elementary school.  I absolutely loved my speech therapist and she inspired me to make changes in every kid’s life through providing them the means to communicate, whatever that may be!

What inspires/drives you?

I am driven by my need for continuous learning. I am always researching techniques, watching webinars, and making connections across the SLP world.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is being able to connect with all the kids, and when I walk into a building having kids come up to me and hug me, or say hi, and want to play all day with me!

How has this career path impacted you?

The career path has allowed me to take a step back in life, slow down, and appreciate the little moments. All children progress differently, and it is important to be able to celebrate the little victories!

What advice would you give to those seeking a Similar career path?

Learn to appreciate yourself for your special skills! No one is ever a perfect therapist, and we all need to continue to learn and grow as people and as therapists, because improving the quality of life for the children is always the top priority.

Why Lighthouse Autism Center?

I worked with a BCBA at a previous job site and found my niche of alternative and augmentative communication! The majority of kids that I have worked with along my career path, have had primary diagnoses of autism, and so it was a no-brainer for me at the time to come to Lighthouse so that I could work with one of my favorite populations full-time!

What is your favorite part about Lighthouse Autism Center?

My favorite part about Lighthouse is that they encourage expanding your mindset to become more adept in your profession, by providing access to continuing education.

What Lighthouse Autism Center value to you identify most with?

Put a premium on innovation & creativity. In the field of Speech Pathology, there is no need to only utilize a few techniques, there are so many different ways to achieve a goal, and it’s fun to come up with completely individualized ways of targeting communication!

What is a fun/unique fact about you?

I have over 50 houseplants that I care for and love!

 

To learn more about career opportunities at Lighthouse Autism Center, check out our career page today!

The Compassion behind Our Care – Meet Susan Stahly

Get to know the Compassionate Team of Clinical Experts at Lighthouse Autism Center

Meet Susan Stahly

Susan Stahly is a speech-language pathologist at Lighthouse Autism Center. She has a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and received her master’s degree from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She has been in practice for 20 years. Susan recently enrolled at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in May 2022 to pursue her master’s in behavior analysis. She will join the team of three other dually certified SLP-BCBAs at Lighthouse Autism Center.

What made you decide on a career in therapy?

I was working as a catering manager with Marriott Hotels and Resorts; in the evening I would volunteer in the NICU at a local hospital. It became apparent that I wanted to be part of the healthcare industry; I loved working with patients and their families, have always been fascinated with healthcare, neurology, physiology, etc. as well as wanting to make a difference by directly helping others.

What inspires/drives you?

I am very passionate about doing all I can, within my area of expertise, to help our clients and their families. I always strive to learn more evidence-based strategies, techniques and follow research for the greatest benefit of our clients and families. I’m inspired by all of my current and past patients/clients/families – they have taught me so much and I’m grateful and feel privileged to work with them.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love to see the smiles on learners’ faces and love celebrating progress. It is rewarding to help build communication skills as well as feeding and swallowing skills. I’m grateful for our co-treat sessions, learning from each other and the collaboration as an interdisciplinary team.

How has this career path impacted you?

Working as an SLP has been an incredible part of my life; the families and clients that I’ve worked with have taught me so much and allowed me to sharpen my skills. I’ve been in awe of the strength, drive, and commitment I’ve witnessed; it has opened my eyes to the vast challenges people go through, and their perseverance. I’m grateful to be part of their journey.

What advice would you give to those seeking a Similar career path?

I would advise anyone interested in a career as a speech-language pathologist to spend time talking with or shadowing SLPs in a variety of settings, to help find your niche and which population and setting you are most passionate about. I would also advise them to continue to learn and strive to expand your skills and expertise.

Why Lighthouse Autism Center?

With the new Lighthouse Fusion model, I am able to pull from my past SLP experiences to consult and collaborate, to share my knowledge; partnering with Program Managers to blend our areas of expertise for the greatest benefit of our clients. I share Lighthouse Autism Center’s desire to help clients and their families and can appreciate their desire to expand.

What is your favorite part about Lighthouse Autism Center?

My favorite part about Lighthouse is the people – such a fantastic team of co-workers, dedicated parents, and amazing learners.

What Lighthouse Autism Center value to you identify most with?

Care about people more than anything: Isn’t that why we’re here?

What is a fun/unique fact about you?

I dream of being a Formula 1 race car driver.

 

To learn more about career opportunities at Lighthouse Autism Center, check out our career page today!