The Bluegrass Center for Autism’s mission is to provide children and adults affected by autism with an individualized spectrum of services for lifelong success.


n the evening of Saturday, November 9, 2019, The Henry Clay in downtown Louisville will be the site of Bluegrass Center for Autism’s “Day of the BCA” Fundraising Gala. In support of the Center’s vital role in our community, BCA supporters will don cocktail or “Chic Muerto” attire for this colorful and festive Day of the Dead themed event featuring upscale Mexican tapas, specialty cocktails from a Heaven Hill Lunazul Tequila bar, Four Roses Bourbon bar, Tito’s Handmade Vodka bar, auctions, and a mariachi band. Development Director Tara Southall Denham shares with us the important work the Bluegrass Center for Autism does for our community.

The Bluegrass Center for Autism was established in August 2010 with its unique and individualized programming providing a one-on-one child/young adult-to-staff ratio for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. BCA serves children and young adults from ages 3-24 and all along the spectrum. This unparalleled approach of intensive daily programming and therapy is unmatched in the state of Kentucky and aims to develop skills and tools necessary by the time the child reaches adulthood. The demand for BCA services has led to expansion with two campuses in Louisville. The Kosair Charities East Campus serves children age 3-11, while the Mid City location has a current age range of 12-24.

How has the Center grown so quickly in less than a decade? On what Tara describes as a “neverending waitlist”, families with children on the spectrum know that this full-day medical therapeutic program of Applied Behavior Analysis is the only one of its kind. These families have been known to move to Louisville from all over the state for the chance to participate. They believe in BCA’s vision of aspiring “to remediate deficits and strengthen abilities in the critical areas of Communication, Social Interaction, and Academic Accomplishment.”

The reach of the Bluegrass Center for Autism stretches far beyond families with children on the autism spectrum. With 1 in 59 children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder on an upward trend, autism will inevitably touch all of our lives as they work so hard to be completely integrated into society. Donations to this nonprofit go straight to serving more children and families. The earlier the intervention, the better the results. As Tara tells us, getting the word out about Bluegrass Center for Autism is the challenge. To grow and address the needs of all waiting families will require a continuous need for a great deal of funding.

The best part of Tara’s job, with zero hesitation, is “getting to see the kids every day” and how hard they work with the staff of dedicated professionals. These staff members are a special breed, as every day is emotionally and physically demanding. No doubt they take their work home with them. But the reward of seeing the progress made by the children and young adults in their care makes it all worthwhile. To learn more about their services and schedule a tour, visit If you miss this month’s gala, be on the lookout for BCA’s Spring Soirée to be held in May at Owl Creek Country Club in Anchorage.


Day of BCA is Saturday, November 9 from 6:30–11pm at The Henry Clay. The event will honor the Baker family. Guests will enjoy an elegant evening of chef’s small plate tastings, specialty cocktails, auctions, and entertainment. To purchase tickets visit

Posted on 2019-11-14 by By Dawn Anderson | Courtesy photos