New building for St. Gerard House dedicated
Pictured: Bishop Peter Jugis uses holy water to bless people attending a ceremony Oct. 10 for the new expansion of Immaculata School in Hendersonville, which includes the St. Gerard House, a nonprofit that offers treatment for autism, learning disabilities and developmental delays. Immaculata School will use the building for pre-kindergarten and middle school classes. To view a slideshow of photos from the dedication, go online to www.blueridgenow.com. (Photo courtesy of Mike Dirks, Hendersonville Times-News)
HENDERSONVILLE — St. Gerard House held a dedication ceremony Oct. 10 for a new building that houses classrooms for Immaculata School, St. Gerard House, and the Grotto ABA School in Hendersonville. St. Gerard House is a resource center for children and families facing autism and other developmental disabilities.
The project took just under a year to complete and now provides facilities designed to assure a positive learning environment and connection to the existing school building. The new building includes four large classrooms used by Immaculata's pre-kindergarten and middle school. The Grotto ABA School uses six rooms for specialized child development and an outdoor play court; the two schools share a playground for pre-K students. Six offices and a conference room provide space for the operation of St. Gerard House.
The Grotto ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Preschool works with children and their families to provide assessments and education regarding ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), learning disabilities, developmental delays and behavioral health needs. Established in March 2010, the services are provided to families at minimal cost.
One out of every 110 children born today develops some form of autism disorder. With more than 50,000 North Carolinians living with ASD, the need for assessment and education about the disease has become vital to providing for the needs of the children and their families. St. Gerard House offers evaluations for needs, functional behavior and formal behavior as well as education in the practice of applied behavior analysis, the use of behavioral assessments, social skills training, tiered training for the application of behavior analysis, parent and professional training, and biomedical and nutritional consultations.
Besides these services for children, St. Gerard House offers a parent support group to enhance the understanding of autism and to offer encouragement and education in how to handle the daily realities of this condition.
Bishop Peter Jugis led the dedication ceremony, which featured prayers and readings, and the blessing of the grounds and of each room of the building.
Participants in the ceremony included Monsignor Mauricio West, vicar general and chancellor of the diocese; Capuchin Father Nick Mormando, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Hendersonville; Carole Breerwood, principal of Immaculata School; Caroline Long, executive director of St. Gerard House; and members of the Knights of Columbus.
They were joined by students of Immaculata School, Immaculate Conception parishioners, the board of directors of St. Gerard House, and many community supporters and friends. Following the dedication ceremony, a tour of the facility was offered.
St. Gerard House is located at 718 Oakland St. Hendersonville. For more information, call 828-693-4223 or go online to www.stgerardhouse.com.
— Kathleen Schmeider, correspondent. Contributing to this article was Amanda Armstrong, assistant director of St. Gerard House.
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