Knoxville Community Gives Adults With Autism Hope

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A community in South Knoxville is helping adults with autism. New homes were recently built for families unable to take care of their loved ones.

Eleven years ago, parents who had adult children with Autism formed a not-for-profit organization called Breakthrough Corporation to help meet their needs.

The focus on Autism is often children, but for many it's is a life long battle.

Breakthrough Corporation was able to start services for adults with autism five years ago.

One of its biggest accomplishments was building four homes that could permanently house adults with Autism. The community is in South Knoxville off of Maryville Pike.

One of the residents is Luke Koksal, 23. He can't communicate easily, but has a talent for using the computer. He can type faster than most people his age.

"One big misconception is that someone can't communicate very well, that they might not be very intelligent," said Breakthrough Executive Director, Thomas Beeson. "Many adults with Autism are very intelligent. They just have a difficult time sharing it."

Each year, Breakthrough Corporation helps 40 to 50 adults with autism. "We have residential services. We are standing in one of the residential homes. We have a day-service program, and we also have in-home services for families," Beeson said.

Breakthrough Corporation just received HUD money to built three additional homes in its South Knoxville location. It also rents four other homes in different parts of the city.

Officials hope more families will learn their services are in Knoxville. "It would give them some relief that they know that somebody out there that could help their child," said board member Terry Ray.

Case in point, Luke Koksal is able to live a relatively normal life although he has Autism.

All the Knoxville residents living at Breakthrough now have Medicaid waivers, but for families who don't there are payment plans.

There's currently a waiting list for people needing Breakthrough's services.