Knoxville Center for Autism
Helping Children Reach Their Full Potential
9051 Executive Park Drive, Suite 302, Knoxville, TN 37923
Our Therapists

Sara L. Gilbert, M.S., BCBA
Director/Owner, Therapist
    Sara is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) practicing in the Knoxville area. Sara has over 10 years of experience working with children ages 18 months to 16 years diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum and other related disorders in the home, clinical, community, residential, and school settings. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Ashland University located in Ashland, Ohio.  Sara opened KCA in March, 2010.  
    Sara's specialty is in applying the principles and procedures of ABA with children on the Autism Spectrum.  Sara oversees and is involved with every child's ABA therapy at KCA.  She conducts assessments including: Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA), VB-MAPP, and ABLLS-R assessments.  Training and overseeing ABA therapists and KCA staff, meeting with new families interested in KCA services, conducting 1-on-1 therapy sessions, coordinating and meeting with current families, and handling the day to day functioning of KCA are just a few of Sara's responsibilities at KCA.  
    Sara enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and son.  She also likes to travel to visit her family, friends, and the beach!!

Linda Dreke, Ph.D. 
Psychological/ Educational Testing and Diagnostic Services

Linda Dreke, Ph.D
is a licensed psychologist with health service provider (HSP) designation by the State of Tennessee and is a certified School Psychologist.  Dr. Dreke specializes in conducting comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations of children, adolescents, and young adults to assess for: autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disorders/dyslexia, intellectual giftedness, intellectual developmental disabilities, emotional/behavioral/social problems, and processing difficulties. Her goal is to provide families with a thorough understanding of their child’s strengths/weaknesses and research-based interventions/recommendations.  Dr. Dreke is willing to accompany parents to school meetings to help convey evaluation results and consult with school staff regarding services that may optimize student performance.  She also consults with and offers support to parents who need help understanding or coping with their child’s diagnosis or managing behavior challenges.

Dr. Dreke is a native of Oak Ridge and is happy to have returned to East Tennessee after completing her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Princeton University and her doctorate in School Psychology at Texas A&M University.  Prior to being in private practice, Dr. Dreke spent several years working in school systems conducting psychoeducational evaluations/interventions, providing therapy, parent training groups, social skills groups, and parent and teacher consultation services.  Currently she works in private schools and residential treatment facilities in addition to her private practice.  Dr. Dreke works part-time in order to spend lots of quality time with her husband, her three-year-old daughter, and one-year-old son.  In her spare time, Dr. Dreke enjoys going to the lake, waterskiing, gardening, reading, and playing the piano.

Dr. Dreke is an in-network provider for BlueCross/BlueShield, Magellan, Humana, Aetna, Tricare, Behavioral Health Systems, Inc. insurances.  She is also happy to see clients as an Out-of-Network provider for other insurance companies.  Out-of-pocket payment is also an option, for clients without insurance or those who choose not to use their insurance.  Dr. Dreke is not able to accept TennCare insurance at this time. You may contact Dr. Dreke to schedule an appointment by sending an email message to or by calling 865-200-5127.

Tamra Bell, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a Speech- Language Pathologist who recently returned to Knoxville after 6 years in the Baltimore, Maryland area. She spent her last 5 years in Maryland working at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins Hospital.  While at Kennedy Krieger, Tamra trained under national experts in the field of early diagnosis and early intervention for children on the autism spectrum. At Kennedy Krieger Institute, Tamra specialized in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders in very young children. Her diagnostic work involved collaboration with Developmental Pediatricians, Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, and Clinical Social Workers for children from 9 months of age to 19 years of age.  Tamra also specialized in evidence based interventions for toddlers and preschoolers with ASD. Tamra loves helping children with ASD learn the power of communication! She utilizes a variety of strategies during her treatment including: joint action routines, enhanced milieu teaching, indirect language stimulation, communication temptations, the Picture Exchange Communication System, pivotal response training, and discrete trial training. She uses these strategies in individual treatment, group treatment, and parent training settings.

Before working at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Tamra received both her Bachelor's of Arts Degree in 2005 and Master's of Arts Degree in 2007 in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Tennessee. Tamra loves spending time with her husband and young son, Nathaniel. Her family is very excited to be back in beautiful East Tennessee! Tamra likes to hike and play soccer whenever she gets the chance! 

Sara Sheffler, M.Ed., BCBA., is one of our Board Certified Behavior Analysts.  


Alexandrea Whitfield, M.A., is our Clinical Mental Health Counselor.  She is certified by the NBCC and is working towards her licensure in LPC-MHSP.  She conducts various therapy sessions including sibling sessions, and parent support.  Alex has experience working with children of all ages with various mental health (including ASD), emotional, and social needs. 

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