Norris Academy


Notice of Privacy Practices

Norris Academy was established in January 2009 as a residential treatment care facility for children and youth ages 5 to 21 diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Norris Academy is licensed for 31 beds (male and female) and is a Joint Commission accredited program serving youth from Tennessee as well as several other states.  The Autism Spectrum/Neuro-developmental Disorders Residential Treatment Program at Norris Academy is medically and clinically supervised by a Licensed, Board-Certified Psychiatrist who serves as the Medical Director of the program.  Each shift is staffed with a Registered Nurse 24-hours a day. The program is designed to provide supportive, therapeutic care and evidence-based treatment for individuals ages 5 to 18 that require a highly structured environment to stabilize unsafe behaviors. These individuals are experiencing emotional, behavioral and/or psychological difficulties that require more than outpatient treatment, but not requiring acute inpatient hospitalization. The program additionally has the capability to care for individuals with complex medical needs.  Norris Academy has a limited number of beds for individuals ages 18 to 21 that are experiencing difficulty with identifying appropriate adult placement as they transition out of youth services.  The program provides 24 hours a day, 7 days per week therapeutic care for these individuals.

Programs Offered

  • The Autism Spectrum/Neurodevelopmental Disorders Residential Treatment Program is divided into two distinct programs:
    • Early Learners program for individuals with limited expressive language capabilities that serves individuals ages 5 to 21
    • Advanced Learners program for individuals that present with expressive language capabilities and pervasive social functioning deficits that serves individuals ages 5 to 21.

Student Profile

  • Males and females ages 5 to 21 years old
  • Must have a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis describing an Autism Spectrum Disorder or other neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Less intensive and less restrictive clinical settings have been attempted without success and/or have been ruled out due to safety concerns
  • Demonstrated need for a highly structured environment and is unable to maintain stability in a community setting requiring 24-hour care to maintain safety and security
  • The parent/guardian consents to placement and agrees that the family will participate in treatment as determined to be clinically necessary.

Whom Do We Serve?

The purpose of the program is to provide intensive services to those facing the challenges of ASD and neurodevelopmental disorders, meaningfully engaging and diminishing problematic behaviors in order to provide the opportunity for transition of the individual back into the community and into the home. The level of treatment is appropriate for individuals currently presenting significant to acute problematic behaviors, which are prohibiting them from participating in the community and in their family.

The theoretical underpinnings of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH), Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS), and Behavior Modification/Treatment drive the services provided to all individuals. Services include speech therapy, occupational therapy, a rich sensory diet, family psycho-education, family consultation, family therapy, behavior modification plans, and activities of daily living (ADLs). Treatment efforts beginning at admission focus on the individual's behaviors, which are maladaptive and interfere with the individual's ability to participate in their community and their family in a safe, meaningful way. The approach focuses on the reducing and/or elimination of the maladaptive behaviors, allowing for more constructive relationships and the development of new skills. The above approaches–cognitive behavior therapy, applied behavior analysis, sensory integration and communication improvement techniques–are all intended to bring the child to a given level of functioning providing for their reintegration into the family. The family will then be taught the same approaches to provide consistency and predictability for the individual, thus sustaining the lessons learned while in acute treatment as well as to enhance and develop further skills.

For additional information or to make a referral, please contact:

Donna E. Kirk, LCSW
Executive Director
Phone: 865-494-5554 ext. 306
Fax: 865-494-5535

Norris Academy
17 Ridgeway Road
P.O. Box 1647
Norris, TN 37828

Not sure which program?
Contact Steve Gilbert
Phone: 712-310-9395
Email for more information