In 1999, a group of parents from the Autism Society of East Tennessee realized a cold, hard truth: once their children were old enough to no longer be supported by the systems available for youth with autistic spectrum disorders, they would enter a world without any frameworks to support living independent and productive lives.

The options of the time were scarce and left no room for any opportunity to continue learning, growing and thriving. The small ember of an idea was mentioned during one of the regular support meetings: create a space in which this dream could be realized.

Imagine utopia.

Imagine a neighborhood with communal spaces and beautiful houses. Consider jobs that didn’t just mean money, but a chance to perform fulfilling, meaningful work. Dream of days which could belong to any of us, really, and included gym visits, volunteering, shopping, and enjoying the rich and lush natural beauty that East Tennessee has to offer. Envision creating chances for lifelong learning, be it at a college, trade school, or right across the street. Conceive of social groups that slip seamlessly into the community.

This is Breakthrough of Knoxville's vision.

We stand by it and this is the bar which we strive to meet or exceed daily. Our clear focus allows us to provide high quality staff, programs and ideas that continue to advance the person-centered, family focused approach designed all those years ago.

Throughout all this time, we've stayed on the cutting edge of the field. We're innovators with big hearts and even bigger goals. Every day, we're reaching higher and embracing innovation. Novel programs for housing, work and daily life drive us forward and form the hallmark of our success.

With the help and support of the federal, state and local governments, the various foundations who have sponsored our continued success, and the individual donors like you, we continue to touch lives and foster the personal growth of the people we support.