April 2021 Newsletter

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ABA Basics – Behavior and the Environment | 
Friday, April 9th
3482 McClure Avenue, West Lafayette, IN 47906 

9am-9:45am (In-Person) or 12pm-12:45pm (Online)

Join us online or in-person for our upcoming parent training.  On April 9th, we will start up our series on ABA Basics with Behavior and the Environment.  We’ll take a look at behavior, how our surroundings affect behavior, and how we track behavior to make sure the strategies we use are effective. We’ll also provide time with our BCBAs to answer any questions and discuss how to apply these principles at home.

You can join us in-person at 9am.  Individual breakfast items will be available as well.  There is a limit of 8 slots in order to maintain social distancing. If the in-person session doesn’t work, you can join us online at 12pm.  We will meet via Zoom and have BCBAs available to answer questions throughout the presentation.  RSVP to psallade@cornerstoneautismcenter.com with your name, number of participants, desired session, and any questions.

From Avon Resident to ABA Therapist

Faith’s passion to help individuals with autism and the love she has for her hometown came together once Cornerstone opened a location in Avon this year.

Since she learned about ABA based therapy and has had more exposure to children with autism, she wants to help educate her family, friends and community about Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“With April being Autism Awareness Month, it is crucial for us all to learn more about the amazing individuals we know with autism while crushing false stereotypes and incorrect language of the diagnosis.”  Read her full blog here.

Wear Your #LoveNeedsNoWords Shirt

In early March, we had a t-shirt fundraiser through Custom Ink. The funds raised will benefit the Cornerstone Autism Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that gives grants or sponsorships to Indiana-based schools, charities, or events that impact children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

We had 199 supporters and raised over $500 for the foundation!! If you are someone who ordered a shirt and supported this cause, we would love to see you wearing your shirts in April! Please tag Cornerstone Autism Center in your posts, use the hashtags #CornerstoneABA and #LoveNeedsNoWords. You can also make your posts set to “public” so they can be shared! Let’s spread the LOVE this Autism Awareness Month!


Thank you to these staff members for Maximizing Those Who Struggle, Embracing Those Who Love and Fulfilling Those Who Serve.


Bryan Swift, Center Manager and Administrative Coordinator

In my free time, I like to do anything to stay active. I enjoy walking, running, playing sports, martial arts (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), lifting weights and anything else to help me stay healthy and fit! Now that it is warming up, I am excited to start being active outside again.

One dream that I have accomplished while being at Cornerstone is building my first home with my significant other. This is something I didn’t even have on my mind when I started but now I am in the position to make the idea of owning a brand new built house a reality.

One of my favorite things about working with the kids at Cornerstone is how much I got to learn while teaching them. I learned so much about the world of autism but I also learned how to be more patient and open minded. I also learned how to be goofy and silly with the kids which is my favorite thing to do with them!

There are so many good memories from working at Cornerstone but one of my favorite memories involves a client I used to work with. He was working on a food desensitization program and when he finally accomplished the goal of eating a new type of food he was so excited that he wanted to come tell me he did it. It was a great feeling to know that I was the person he wanted to tell that he finally did it! After that it became almost a daily thing that he would eat his new food and come tell me so we could celebrate together.

Dr. Kristen Hurley, Clinical Psychologist 
Being a child psychologist can be a hard and stressful job at times. But it’s also one of the most rewarding careers I can imagine having. Kids inspire me, and they’re the reason I want to keep doing this job no matter how hard it feels. I love watching kids feel happier and learn new skills, and I get to watch their faces light up when they realize they can do more than they thought. One time, one of my clients called me their “feelings teacher,” and I think that is perfect.

At Cornerstone, I’ve really enjoyed being part of a team where everyone represents a different professional discipline than mine. We all have different perspectives about what can help children meet their full potential, and I love to consult with therapists about how we can combine our knowledge to come up with the best ideas. I’ve learned a lot from everyone here, and I love that Cornerstone feels so encouraging for the kids and staff alike.

In true psychologist fashion, I think I have to share that the best advice I’ve received recently is to really feel my emotions – all of them, especially the hard ones. This year with COVID, I’m realizing that I’ve been stuffing down stress and anxiety about things I can’t control. Now when I notice my mood shift or my chest tighten up, I sit and take deep breaths while just concentrating on the physical feeling. And it has helped me so much. Just intentionally giving my emotions a name and some space to be there also helps them feel relieved so much faster. I challenge you to give it a shot!

Lisa Cleefman, MA and Team Lead

Since coming to Cornerstone, I have accomplished my goal of earning a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and I am currently working towards my dream of becoming a BCBA! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, at the beaches along Lake Michigan during the summer, riding my bike, running, watching home décor shows, and looking for a beach house somewhere warm year round on Zillow!

The clients and co-workers I work with inspire me on a daily basis with their hard work and determination. Watching clients achieve a goal they have been working hard to accomplish is rewarding. Making a difference in the lives of others has been one of my life missions and Cornerstone has given me the opportunity to do that, I look forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of others.

Ride for Autism on Sunday, April 25, 2021

This marks the 8th Annual Autism Awareness Ride, organized by the Gatekeepers Widows Sons Chapter. The date is Sunday, April 25, 2021. The ride leaves promptly at noon from Southside Harley Davidson, 4930 Southsport Crossing Place, Indianapolis, IN 46237. You can prepay with your registration, or register from 10am to 11:30. The PayPal information is gatekeepersindiana@yahoo.com. You can download the flyer here.

Spring Box on Rainy Days

Do you ever wish you could bring the spring indoors on a rainy day for your child? With a sensory box like this, you can!

These ideas are great for giving your child real objects for sensory play. You may already have these items around your home. This spring-themed box includes: lemon peels, potting soil, flowers, garden tools and herbs.


A fundamental component of communication is the ability to express wants and needs. We do this through making demands and requests of others, also known as mands.“A mand is an operant that is evoked by motivation and followed by specific reinforcement.”Watch Cornerstone’s training video to learn more about this ABA topic by clicking here.

ABA Quick Guide: Reinforcement vs. Punishment

We have a new ABA Quick Guide for families, which compares the two different types of consequences — Reinforcement and Punishment. Reinforcement does not mean good and Punishment does not mean bad. This quick guide describes therapy terms based on ABA principles. View the new quick guide PDF by clicking here.

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