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St. Gerard offers innovative autism program

St. Gerard House offers customized instruction designed for children 8 and older who are on the autism spectrum. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Every day inside this house is a celebration toward independence.

"Onomatopoeia is like, kaboom."

It sounds like one-on-one language arts help, but this session is much more than that at Grotto 2 in Hendersonville.

It's customized instruction at St. Gerard House designed for children 8 and older who are on the autism spectrum.

"So, we have created a program here that involves academics as well as functional living skills," said Sophia Greco, St. Gerard House'S program coordinator.

"Where do you put your bags when you're done with them?" an instructor asks a student who provides a reasonable response. "Good work. That's another check."

Learning household chores is only the beginning of a curriculum that also emphasizes personal hygiene and food preparation.

"There aren't really any programs like it in the area and even in the nation," said Greco. "We have people calling from out of state."

The interest is understandable.

It is giving hope these youngsters can one day make a difference in the workplace, integrate into the community, and live independently.

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