Autism Breakthrough of Knoxville expands services to support adults with autism and their parents with a new building and a strong mission.
For many families, nonprofits have changed lives.
The organization recently received a $2,000 grant from Knox News and its parent company Gannett. Breakthrough is he one of seven East Tennessee charities selected for Gannett’s A Community Thrives grant program.
Executive Director Kendries Colebrook and Marketing Coordinator Dylan Sremp said the funding will not only help the organization create and expand new programs, but also help community members pay for Breakthrough’s services. I’m here.
We spoke with Colebrooke and Slemp about Breakthrough’s offering and future goals.
How did your organization start?
colbrook: Breakthrough was founded in 1999 by parents so that adults with autism had graduated from the school system. At the time, there was nothing for adults on the autism spectrum. As such, they wanted to continue the services and support they saw in the school system. They were all top members of the East Tennessee Chapter of the Autism Society of America. And he gave them a small grant, like $300, to get them started.
So we started with a Saturday program for parents, Rest and Recreation. This allows parents to have a place for adult children within the spectrum to go and do fulfilling activities, and also allows children to leave their parents. Because they want to be fully grown up and play with their friends. So for about 10 years I did rest and recreation only. And it was volunteer-based and that kind of thing, but the need grew.
Parents who started the organization got to thinking, what do we want for our children in the long run? What is utopia for them? What can we create, not only for our children, but for other parents like us with adult children on the autism spectrum? has grown exponentially.
What is driving the increased demand in Knoxville?
Coalbrook: Knoxville is growing exponentially. People are moving here from all over. We see some of it and many are diagnosed with autism. can.
What new services do you offer?
Coalbrook: Added home service. Today, we have 12 of her homes and support about 34 people in residences across the city. Because we provide employment services, we have programs that help people obtain and retain employment. These include job coaching, employment retention, and disability education in the workplace.
We recently added therapeutic services to this new building. As such, it’s the latest addition to creating her 360-degree approach to all things Autistic Adults. As such, our therapeutic services include speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, and we are considering hiring a board-certified behavior analyst to be able to provide that service.
What does the A Community Thrives grant support?
Coalbrook: That’s why many of our services are now private pay. Such grants help reach people who would otherwise be unavailable.
slump: Not just buildings, but I should also add that we are working to become a people-centered organization recognized by the Intellectually Disabled Division. is. In short, we practice people-centric thinking, so people are always the first priority in all aspects of our organization. I think one aspect of her to that is building community and allowing these people to do what they want and be part of it. We think of it this way because the grant is helping these people to get involved in their own community, the Knoxville community. This building is just going to do great things for us.
Is there anything you would like people to know more about your organization and its activities?
slump: I think it just makes people realize that these people have after-school lives and they inevitably need support to live the lives they want to live. Not everyone is as lucky as others. But you know, they can live meaningful and purposeful lives just by keeping a job, moving out to community housing, and developing friendships. So the list of benefits we can offer people goes on and on. We cannot really measure the impact that continuing these services will have on the lives of these people.
slump: What I think most is that, like adult parents with autism, your parents will generally die before you. Honestly, I think it’s probably one of the biggest things people should know.
Anila Yoganathan is an investigative reporter for Knox News. Contact her at email@example.com and follow her on her Twitter @anilayoganathan.Enjoy exclusive content and premium benefits while supporting strong local journalism by subscribing knoxnews.com/subscribe.