"Siskin brought out the best in Parker and prepared her for an education based on inclusion from kindergarten through high school and beyond "
-- Lee Davis, Parker's Dad
Parker is a typical 21-year-old college student, but with an intellectual disability, Down syndrome.
Parker was born at Erlanger Women’s East shortly after it opened in 1996. We did not know Parker had Down syndrome at birth. When we found out,it was through nursing staff who suggested that we contact Siskin Children's Institute for early childhood intervention. Parker’s mom, Heather Ott, is a teacher and coach. She followed up with the tenacity you would expect from a teacher-coach and we, as a family, followed Siskin’s every suggestion.
The biggest impact Siskin Children’s Institute had on Parker‘s life was teaching us as a family what inclusion could be. Without minimizing the differences that Parker has, we have always expected Parker to do the best she can. Siskin brought out the best in Parker and prepared her for an education based on inclusion from kindergarten through high school and beyond.
Parker is now a third-year student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. UTC has been wonderful in allowing her to sample academic courses and achieve what she can, given the realities of Down syndrome. We have supplemented that by having a tutor work with Parker outside of class and attend some classes with her to fully understand the material.Parker’s typical semester is two academic courses and a physical fitness type course or activity. Parker loves to attend CRU (Campus Crusade) on Thursday nights on campus.
She enjoys school, family, and friends. She loves the new friends she has made at UTC. Parker loves the support and unconditional acceptance from CRU. She finds motivation from her older sister, Logan, who is in law school and her younger brother, Matthew, who is a senior at Baylor. Both Logan and Matthew have been inspirations to Parker as much as Parker has been an inspiration to them.
Parker works part-time at my law office, Davis& Hoss, PC.The office, fortunately, is in Fort Wood and within walking distance to campus. Parker’s typical day begins by arriving at the office with me to help open. She helps with office activities like filing and cleaning up.This year she has begun answering the phone and helping clients. Parker loves working with the office staff and getting involved with activities outside the office.For example, at this year’s Buddy Walk, her team “One Scoop Cookie Dough” won first prize. Parker hopes to take more courses in legal studies and work at my law office or possibly the Hamilton County Courthouse one day.
Thanks to the early intervention programs at Siskin Children's Institute, Parker has achieved her full potential and continues to set and reach new goals everyday.
-- Lee Davis, Parker's Dad