Our Story

About The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre

The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre was developed by our Executive Director, Serena Thompson. Serena is unique in this industry, as it wasn’t her education or professional experience that led her on this journey, but rather the love she has for her son, who is on the Autism spectrum. Serena understands better than anyone how important individualized learning plans are for each and every child on the spectrum.  Serena’s son Daniel has experienced a variety of educational settings, from private school to home schooling to the public school board. Unfortunately, none of these experiences truly addressed the unique learning abilities Daniel has. The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre was born after Serena had to pull Daniel out of his private school and was yet again at a turning point. Daniel had been in the public system for a short time; however, due to severe regression he was pulled out. Daniel was then home schooled, which was an excellent academic alternative, though it did not provide the social setting that Daniel needed and so desperately wanted.  Daniel was then placed in a small private school. The private school provided an extraordinary social opportunity, but the lack of Autism awareness by the administration proved to be detrimental to Daniel’s success. Of course, Serena was upset that the school she had researched and spent so much time with didn’t work out, so she decided that it was time to take matters into her own hands.  There is no one more determined than a mother trying to help her child, and so The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre was born – the only school for children with autism in York Region.

Every child has the potential to do and be something great

The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre believes that every child has the potential to do and be something great. We also understand that in order for children to be given the opportunity to reach their full potential, they need to be taught in a way that they understand. The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre takes great pride in the program that we create for each and every child. We accept children from grades K-8, however, we believe that no two children have the same learning plan — no matter what “grade” they are in. When a child comes to us at The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre, they are assessed in every unit that we teach. Based on those assessments, information we learn from the family and any outside resources, we create the child’s learning plan. We then have a parent meeting to discuss the child’s learning goals and the specific plan we have created to achieve those goals. Unlike other educational institutions, The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre is continuously assessing the children and changing their learning plan as they achieve goals and progress. The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre depends greatly on the involvement of our parents. Children need an entire team to grow and prosper. The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre works closely with parents to ensure that our children have every chance to succeed.

Serena Thompson

Serena Thompson


My son Daniel was diagnosed with PDD-NOS on September 24, 2008, at the age of twenty-six months. As I sat in the developmental paediatrician’s office, I knew what he was going to say, but for those last few moments before walking into his office I still had hope. There is nothing quite like a doctor telling you that your child has Autism. You can literally feel the ground give way beneath you. You stop breathing for just a minute, just long enough to realize that the life you had planned, the life you had dreamed of, is gone just like that. The doctor shakes your hand, and off you go, feeling like you’ve just stepped off a plane into a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and don’t understand the culture…

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Yes, our children with Autism have individual learning barriers, but they are NOT incapable of learning

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