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August 23, 2019

7/9/2019 7:30:00 AM
Gracie's Place therapy center in Woodruff receives $5,000 Autism Speaks community grant

Gracie's Place, a non-profit therapy center for special needs kids in Woodruff, has announced the award of a $5,000 grant through Autism Speaks to offer group or individual therapy scholarships to children with autism.

Gracie's Place is currently piloting a new Social Thinking therapy group over the summer. This therapy is led by speech language pathologist Sadie Bognar and is designed to help kids develop essential life skills, including social-emotional learning and self-regulation techniques, Gracie's Place officials explained in a press release.

In addition to the Autism Speaks grant, Gracie's Place was the recipient of a generous donation from a local business, Black Sheep Ink (BSI) in Minocqua. In honor of national Autism Awareness month this past April, BSI donated 5 percent of every tattoo inked during the month of April to Gracie's Place.

"It's our goal to never hand a parent a bill and at this point, by the grace of God and the kindness of a lot of individuals and organizations, we have not had to," co-founder Deb Adams said when asked why donations like these are so important.

While many individuals believe kids with disabilities are simply taken care of by the "system," the truth is not that simple. According to Autism Speaks, on average, autism costs an estimated $60,000 a year for families throughout childhood. This could relate to therapies, lost wages and other factors, but the bottom line is families with children with autism average 28 percent less income than others whose children are neuro-typical.

"That's why it's so important to us to not only care for the physical needs of these kids, but the practical needs of the family." Adams said. "We want to lighten the burden and give hope, and that's difficult to do if you offer the service, but then hand them a bill. They get enough bills. As parents of a nine-year-old daughter with autism and ADHD, we get it better than anyone."

The mission of Gracie's Place is to offer hope for families and help for kids with special needs. This is done by offering occupational and speech therapy, as well as group therapy to kids with special needs and parent mentoring groups to help support and encourage families.

For more information about Gracie's Place, visit

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