After many months of planning and several weeks of renovations, Autism Site Knoxville (ASK) will open its doors on Monday February 15. The public is invited to an autism-friendly open house on President’s Day from 10am-2pm to drop in and take a look around the new facility and find out about new programs.
The 3000-square-foot nonprofit ASK facility is at 4028 Papermill Drive, Suite 20 and features an autism resource space, preschool playroom, a family recreation room, a Quiet Room for those with sensory processing difficulties, an art room with free creating materials, and several meeting rooms.
The facility was painted by fifty-one volunteers in one day, and the furniture all assembled the next. The ASK team is extremely grateful to the number of people who have helped physically, financially, or by donating items needed at the facility; it has truly been a community effort.
Programming at the facility includes preschool playtime, homeschool social groups, and teen nights beginning immediately. Extracurricular programs in art, music, dance, and yoga are available for a variety of different ages, including adults with ASD.
Community training at ASK is being developed by a team of autism and special education professionals that will help local daycares, churches, and businesses create an autism-friendly environment.
Other programs for siblings of children with special needs as well as support groups and training for parents of individuals with autism spectrum disorder are anticipated to be added soon.
ASK will also serve as a meeting place for local special needs-related groups, including a Girl Scout troop designed for children with disabilities.
Startup funding for the first year of operation was provided by the Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee through their annual grant competition for new nonprofit health-related projects in Knox and surrounding counties. One of the grants was awarded to Artistic Spectrum, Inc., the parent organization of the Autism Site Knoxville facility to launch a website and an autism community support center.
Autism Site Knoxville also provides opportunities outside of the facility, including an autism-friendly story time at Barnes & Noble twice monthly, and Autism Family Day at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, which welcomes hundreds of autism families to enter the aquarium early before the crowd with all the background sounds and music turned off for a reduced-price sensory-friendly experience.
The center’s regular hours will be 9-3 Tues-Fri, 9-noon on Saturday, and other dates and times by appointment. Regular hours begin on Tuesday February 16.
Autism Site Knoxville is currently operated by the Artistic Spectrum Board of Directors, volunteer Parent Leaders, and university interns.
Artistic Spectrum, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. For more information, and to see the calendar of events, go to AutismSiteKnoxville.org or call 865-816-9716.
An Amazon Wish List is available under the name “Autism Site Knoxville”.