St. Gerard House was founded to serve all people touched by autism. We use evidence-based therapy as the backbone for all of our programs and are committed to providing the highest quality care possible. We have programs for all ages and offer training and support for families as well. Our Mission is to help individuals with autism and their families experience more joy and achieve meaningful life outcomes. Our families often describe a sense of loneliness and despair in their journey. Dave McFarland, Parent and Board Chair shares that sense of "being alone, desperate turned into belonging and a sense of community. We felt like we won the lottery" when their daughter enrolled in the St. Gerard House Grotto program.
If you or a loved one, are raising a child with autism or related disabilities please know that you are not alone.
CDC estimate for 2020 on autism prevalence increases by nearly 10 percent, to 1 in 54 children in the U.S. In North Carolina, 1 in 39 children are affected. St. Gerard House is one of only three centers in our state that provides comprehensive support to these families. Autism rates rise 10-18% annually, and as the need grows, so does the call for our service.
"He really didn't fit in anywhere. No one knew how to handle his behaviors... St. Gerard House gave us the peace of mind to know that not only was [our son] going to be able to learn, we were also going to be able to be comfortable with where he was and know he was going to be accepted no matter what." - Andy and Kate Guzy, Parents
St. Gerard House delivers its mission through four primary programs including:
The Grotto Therapeutic Center - a full-day, year round educational and therapeutic service.
Feed The Need - a prevocational training program for teens and young adults on the autism spectrum. Participants learn a variety of skills from general work skills, culinary skills to in-depth gardening and farming techniques.
Connect - an after-school social group developed for children and adolescents. This group is for all special needs children and includes a 45 minute parent forum weekly.
Family Group Night - typically a monthly in-person family meal and group time for parents to gather resources while children play. At this time the program is running twice monthly as a virtual group.
WNC Bridge Foundation partnered with St. Gerard House to found the Launching Learners program, now titled Discovery Group. The program offers Grotto students who have moved beyond one on one therapy but are not yet ready for mainstream education the opportunity to learn in small group settings with a focus on academics. The program and its beginnings would not have been possible without the support of the WNC Bridge Foundation. We hope to further expand this program further in early 2021.