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St. Gerard House
Home of The Grotto Center
October 2015

In This Issue
Contact Us
SGH Blessing:Talisman Camps
Autism in the News
Family Group Night
Feed the Need
Autism Bill in NC!
St. Gerard House News!
Welcome to SGH!
Spotlight On: Brandi Hansen
Giving to SGH
Contact Us
St. Gerard House
620 Oakland Street
Hendersonville, NC 28791
SGH Blessing:
Talisman Camps
This month, we'd like to thank Talisman Camps for their hospitality and generosity! Our Grotto students enjoyed a day of hiking, bowling, riding scooters, and several other fun activities that were coordinated and planned by Talisman Camps. Thank you Talisman Camps for providing The Grotto kids an opportunity to learn in a different setting while having fun!
Talisman Programs provide exceptional summer camp opportunities for young people ages 8-22 with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other learning differences. 
Connect Program
December 1 2015 - February 16, 2016
The Connect Program is open to children in elementary, middle and high school, who need a little bit of extra support in the social world.
Students do not need a diagnosis to enroll. Classes meet once a week after school, and include a parent forum. Teachers use fun, hands-on activities, based on Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking® Curriculum, to teach specific strategies for children to use in the classroom and at home.
For more information on how to register click here or please contact our main office at 828-693-4223 or via e-mail at

Autism in the News
[CBS News 9.04.15] Girls and boys with autism differ in behaviors, brain structure
[CBS News 9.14.15] ADHD symptoms may mask autism in younger kids
[Times News Hendersonville, NC 9.20.15] Sound therapy gives autistic kids a voice.
[Autism Speaks 9.22.15] Study finds high rate of Parkinson's disease among adults with autism
[Huffington Post 9.25.15] My Son Has the Kind of Autism No One Talks About
5th Annual WNC Regional Transition to Adulthood Fair was POSTPONED to November 7, 11 am - 4pm.
"A Journey Toward Independence: Positive Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities"
We will learn more about:
High School Transition Planning
Navigating Adult Community-Services
Youth Benefits and Employment Options
Puberty is Coming are you Ready?
Planning for the Future Estate
Planning, Special Needs Trust and Guardianship Options
Click here for more details!
Ability Shirts is a nonprofit corporation that sells awareness products. They donate a portion of their sales at the end of the year to the St. Gerard House. Ability Shirts believes that everyone has a unique ability and can do many things with that unique ability. To purchase our awareness products please visit
Family Group Night
Monday: October 19, 2015
Theme: Transition to Adulthood
To REGISTER, please call our office and sign up with Cecilia Tovar at 693-4223.

We'll serve a family meal (with GF/CF options) at 5:30pm, then at 6, we'll divide into break-out groups:
  • siblings (all ages)
  • child care (0-5 yo)  
  • children with special needs (6-11 yo)
  • youth with special needs (12-21 yo)
Family Group Night is open to all families experiencing special needs in Henderson and surrounding counties. Come share your stories, gather resources, and have fun! Please be on time so you don't miss out on anything! 
This group meets on the 3rd Monday of every month at 5:30 at St. Gerard House, 620 Oakland St. Additional parking at Immaculata School at 711 Buncombe St.
Provided to the community free of charge by St. Gerard House.
Feed the Need
November 30, 2015 - February 19, 2016
The Feed the Need Garden is an exciting program for young adults and teens with Autism helping to prepare them for the working world. Feed the Need focuses on vocational, social, and daily-living skills that are not usually taught in a typical classroom setting. Feed the Need uses a seed-to-sale philosophy, allowing participants to be involved in every aspect of an agribusiness.
Stay tuned to learn more about our Feed the Need Culinary Training program. It will be a year-round after school training program that will allow teens and young adults with autism learn how to cook, prepare, and serve food as well as many other important social and daily living skills. The program will be open to individuals age 14 and up!
For more information about Feed the Need, please call Julia Matthews (828) 693-4223.

Because of the variety of age groups we serve and the variety of programs we offer, St. Gerard House is a great place to volunteer for learning opportunities.
We currently need volunteers on the following days:  
  • Administrative help answering the phone Tuesdays 2 - 3 pm.
  • Childcare help at Family Group Night once a month (3rd Monday of the month from 5 -7:30pm)
If you or someone you know are interested in any of these opportunities, please call us at 828-693-4223 x 14  or send us an email:
Autism Bill in NC!
The Autism Bill has finally passed the NC General Assembly and is on its way for the Governor to sign!
Thank you to Senator Tom Apodaca and Representative Chuck McGrady for championing the cause of autism insurance reform for our state. S.676 is the bill that finally passed. What does this mean for St. Gerard House and the families we serve? In a nutshell, certain health plans are required to cover screening, diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. St. Gerard House will be a qualified provider for assessments and treatments.
The bill becomes effective July 1, 2016 and applies to insurance contracts renewed on or after that date.
The terms: 
The health plans subject to the bill are:
  • Large group plans – plans sold to employers with 100+ employees
  • Grandfathered plans – plans sold to individuals and small groups that have been in effect and essentially unchanged since March of 2010
  • Transitional (or grandmothered) plans – plans sold to individuals and small groups that are not grandfathered but were in effect prior to 2014
Treatment includes the below, when determined to be medically necessary:
  • Therapeutic care (including OT, PT and ST)
  • Psychiatric care
  • Psychological care
  • Pharmacy care
  • Adaptive behavior treatment
“Adaptive behavior treatment” includes Applied Behavior Analysis and may be limited to $40,000 per year (adjustable for inflation) and age 18. 
All of the protections of federal mental health parity law, except the prohibition on dollar and age caps, apply to the autism coverage required by this bill.
The bill contains a list of reimbursable providers for Adaptive Behavior Treatment:
  • A licensed psychologist or psychological associate.
  • A licensed psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician.
  • A licensed speech and language pathologist.
  • A licensed occupational therapist.
  • A licensed clinical social worker.
  • A licensed professional counselor.
  • A licensed marriage and family therapist.
House Bill 714, which is pending in the N.C. Senate, would create a state license for behavior analysts (BCBA’s).
This is great news, but we still have a large percentage of families who do not have insurance and need our help. We will keep you posted on any other information regarding progress and implementation of this new, exciting development.
God Bless,
Caroline Long
Executive Director
St. Gerard House News!

New Website! We are so excited to tell you about our new website. Be sure to check it out by visiting! You can donate directly to our programs, read our new blog, and check out upcoming events on our calendar!

Yard Sale: United Federal Credit Union in Hendersonville will be holding a yard sale on Saturday, November 7 from 8 am - 2 pm. You can rent a space for just $10. All funds from space rental will go towards Christmas gifts for St. Gerard House families! If you are interested, please sign up before November 2nd. For more information call our office 693-4223. 
Feed the Need at Work! This past week our Feed the Need crew persevered through the tough weather conditions and successfully planted mums at the entrance of SGH. We worked on team-building, motivation, good attitude and perseverance! Thank you to Shane Shewbridge and Costa Farms LLC for donating 192 mums to Feed the Need!
Day of Caring:
 St. Gerard House is grateful to United Way of HC and all of the wonderful volunteers that participated in the Day of Caring project! We had volunteers from Pardee Hospital Foundation, Summit Marketing Group and SwoleTown Fitness! Thank you for your hard work and for spending the day with us! Check out more pictures of the Day of Caring at SGH!
WNC Run/Walk for Autism: SGH proudly participated in the 10th Annual WNC Run/Walk for Autism this past September 12, 2015. We took the first place in the men's 25-29 age group, first place in women's 25-29, second place in women's 25-29 and first place in women's 20-24 age group! To see a few more pictures click here.

Welcome to SGH!
Welcome to our newest team members!
Hi I'm Erica Hill! I moved to Asheville two years ago from Charleston where I studied psychology at the College of Charleston and worked as an in home ABA therapist. I am now a behavior technician in the Grotto Center and I am so excited to help the families in our area! I love that our students give me a reason to be silly and laugh loudly every day! In my free time I play soccer, rugby, and love to get outside to experience the beauty of the mountains.
Hi, my name is Jenny Baker and I started at St Gerard House this summer as a lead teacher in the Summer Camp.  During this time I was introduced to ABA Therapy and immediately fell in love with how it involves teaching all aspects and skills in a child’s life.  I knew it was for me.  I started at The Grotto in August as a behavior technician, and couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to work with the amazing children everyday!
My name is Megan Burton and I am extremely excited to start my new career here at St. Gerard House. I graduated from Appalachian State University in 2014 with my Bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Art. After a year of working in Virginia I received my Registered Behavior Technician certification and just recently moved back to the area to continue working with this amazing community. I look forward to getting to know my students and their families while getting to do what I love most! In my spare time I love to hike, draw, read or really do anything that gets my creativity flowing!
Spotlight On: Brandi Hansen

Brandi Hansen and her family moved here from Wisconsin about a year and a half ago.  Brandi and her husband have 5 children ranging from 5 years old to 13 years old. They enjoy remodeling their home, DIY projects and gardening. Brandi is in the process of to going back to school to obtain Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and a Master’s in social work. We are so blessed to have Brandi's help at the Grotto!

Bertha: How did you become involved in the Grotto/SGH?
Brandi: As we were getting established here in Hendersonville the doctor mentioned the St. Gerard House as a resource for my oldest son and possibly my daughter. Being a family of one income, I thought we could not financially afford to have my children participate. However, one Sunday I saw an article in the church bulletin that SGH needed volunteers. By volunteering I saw that the staff and programs at SGH are amazing. Soon with the financial aid from SGH, my husband and I were able to get our son and daughter involved with the Connect program. The kids absolutely love it!

Bertha: What is your motivation to help out at The Grotto?
Brandi: Being a parent of two children who need special attention, I know how the work load can become demanding. I wanted to do service in which I could help support teachers and staff. I also enjoy seeing firsthand how ABA works and how the teachers interact with the children. Experiencing the level of patience, encouragement and in-the-moment problem solving has helped me to improve as a parent. There are so many valuable experiences through volunteering in The Grotto.  In the time I have been able to help out, I know I have become a better parent, person and volunteer.
Bertha: What do you do when you come to SGH?
Brandi: When I come to SGH I help out at the Grotto. I try to greet each child and staff member and sit with them during a lesson. I get to lighten staff’s load by cleaning, picking up toys, sweeping floors, preparing snack and lunch. I also get to help children in art, science, prayer and washing hands. The best time is when we head outside for recess! I am blessed with priceless experiences the children and staff are willing to give me.
Giving to SGH
Even a small contribution makes a big difference for us! Please consider a donation, a pledge, or an in-kind gift, to help us continue offering evidence based autism services in the community. And remember, we are a 501c3 non-profit, so all monetary and in-kind donations are tax-deductible. Click here to make a donation!
Monetary Donations! Your gift will help us provide scholarships for families and individuals who are on the waiting list for scholarship slots for The Grotto, Connect and Feed the Need programs.
In Kind Donations! We have our wish list at Amazon, if you'd  like to donate to SGH in-kind. It works just like a wedding registry - you can order items to be sent straight to us! Take a look and see if there is anything on here you could donate to SGH. Click here to see it!
St. Gerard House • 620 Oakland St. • Hendersonville, NC 28791
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