The Launching Learners program will enable students with autism to improve their academic skills by using programs, materials, and technology tailored to their individual needs.
The grant includes the cost of materials and technology and salary for a paraprofessional who would assist the current program coordinator. Instruction is concentrated in reading, writing, and math and would include the following:
‒ Individualized instruction using guided reading lessons combined with independent work time; skill practice using independent reading, work tasks, computer phonic work and comprehension; and small group time that includes read-aloud literature.
‒ Writing skill improvements that focus on spelling, handwriting instruction, and computer-assisted writing applications.
‒ Individual and group math instruction that includes computer applications and websites to assist with math fluency and numeracy.
St. Gerard House began its work in 2010 with a mission to help individuals with autism and their families experience more joy and achieve meaningful life outcomes.
Its programs are based in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques that apply familiar concepts, such as reinforcement, prompting and generalizing, in systematic ways to teach skills and to replace problem behaviors with more functional ones.
Autism rates in the United States have escalated 782 percent in the last 12 years —a rate faster than any other disability or disease, including cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 2014 that 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Today that estimate has been revised to 1 in 40 children.
The estimated annual costs of autism in the US total between $11.5 billion - $60.9 billion and include both direct and indirect costs (medical care, special education, lost parental productivity) and social impacts to the family including high rates of divorce and abandonment.
St. Gerard serves nearly 400 individuals and their family members with comprehensive programs and services.
WNC Bridge Foundation makes grants to empower local nonprofits in the area of elder care, emergency wellness, and youth development. The foundation serves the most vulnerable of our neighbors and eliminates barriers that prevent individuals from reaching their full potential.
The foundation’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for change in our community and create a better Western North Carolina for all.
“Through these strong community partnerships, we can connect caring people with experienced non-profits to have the strongest impact in WNC and create real and lasting change”, Elizabeth Williams, executive director.
Originally from Blue Ridge Now