Students who attend Lighthouse School range in age from 3-22 years of age and have a variety of types of special needs, including developmental/neurological conditions, medical/genetic conditions, learning disabilities, and psychiatric diagnoses. This diversity in the population is utilized to develop insight and objectivity as students learn about themselves and other people. APEX Biodevelopmental Technology is a comprehensive treatment philosophy that is designed to work for all kids by providing consistent application of tools that maximize growth and development. Then, through the Comprehensive Biodevelopmental Services available, a student’s individual program can be developed to address the unique areas of strength and need for the student.
A carefully designed team-driven termination policy* is in effect at Lighthouse School to demonstrate to students and families that staff are committed and follow through with the needs of the student. Many students have experienced repeated rejection or perceive that others do not truly care about them, as they have attended numerous schools and programs or cycled through service providers without finding the right fit. At Lighthouse School, students experience unconditional acceptance. Through repeated experiences involving staff commitment, students are able to feel that they are valued for who they are and that their self-worth is separate from their deeds. The Lighthouse School termination policy* is one clear example to students and parents that most problems are surmountable. Working together and confronting situations as they arise or preventing them before they occur, increases the possibility that problems can be worked through so that everyone involved can look ahead to a more optimistic future.
It is with good reason that Lighthouse School considers itself a "safety net" for children. The diversity of programs and services, the experienced staff, and the dedication to children that Lighthouse School is proud of, mean that Lighthouse School is able to effectively serve children that have few alternative placements. Families, who are often ready to give up hope that their children can make progress, have found Lighthouse School to be a safe, well-structured, and nurturing environment within which children have been able to positively grow and develop. Family members are involved extensively and, together with the staff, they serve to strengthen the net.
The staff at Lighthouse School are committed to the welfare of their students, and strive to ensure that they place the students’ needs first. The direct service staff, including teachers, therapists, and medical staff, are all certified, licensed, accredited in their respective fields of specialty, or are working diligently to complete their professional requirements. Although staff members are highly experienced, the school places an emphasis on ongoing staff training and development to ensure that a qualitative, professional service is provided. Human service corporations often have high staff turnover rates; Lighthouse has a very low rate of turnovers with many staff having substantial longevity.
Academic education is certainly important. However, for the student population at Lighthouse School it is not enough. At Lighthouse School there is a broad range of curriculum-based, interdisciplinary services which include educational, vocational, communication, clinical, neuromotor, and medical services. These services do not simply work alongside of each other. Rather, they are integrated into an approach called APEX Bioeducation, which produces a more powerful technical intervention, resulting in positive biodevelopment than any service alone could produce.
The goal of APEX Bioeducation is not just to produce positive or cognitive development, but also to help students progress socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. Lighthouse School believes that children need to grow in all of these dimensions. APEX Bioeducation incorporates a proactive approach to learning, one that is aimed at meeting real needs - needs that are basic to all individuals, whether they are limited by disabilities or not. At Lighthouse School services for all these needs are available under one roof.
At Lighthouse School a comprehensive and integrated set of services is available under one school umbrella. The interdisciplinary nature of staff offers the opportunity for services that would be much more expensive if they were contracted for privately by parents or school systems. For instance, a full range of diagnostic devices is available should the need arise. Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and other Neuromotor services are available to students whose needs require them. A program is in place which provides attendance assurance services to children who have difficulty with truancy. A Crisis Support System is available 24 hours a day to provide rapid access of clinical services to students and families who experience crises outside of school hours. Lighthouse School is a school, but it is a school within a treatment center, which offers intensive resources for a reasonable and affordable expenditure.
Appropriate use of cutting-edge technologies has always been a hallmark of Lighthouse School’s commitment to its staff and students. Staff have access to workstations on a high-speed computer network and the school maintains a massive data base to administer to its needs as well as to track the success of its students. However, state of the art at Lighthouse School does not just apply to its hardware and software. APEX Bioeducation, which combines traditional education with positive developmental life experiences, is an exciting technology developed at Lighthouse and has been in use for over fifteen years. A specific treatment philosophy and mission statement, as well as The Comprehensive APEX Bioeducational Services Model, guide programming designed to integrate and synergize home, school, and community experiences for students.
If effectiveness were measured by a business’s years of service, then Lighthouse School has successfully withstood the test of time. Since its inception in 1967, Lighthouse School has had industry-low staff turnover and a steady growth rate. Throughout the years, the school has maintained its commitment to its original founding principles by continually expanding the array of services it provides for its students. Early on, Lighthouse School established strategic goals that have been consistently met or exceeded. Committed partnerships have been established with an impressive number of school systems from throughout eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Lighthouse School’s roots are in the Chelmsford/Lowell community, and its facility in North Chelmsford continues this commitment to the area.
*There may be times when a change in student status occurs that results in termination.