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Reece’s Story


“We feel Siskin Children’s Institute has laid the ground work for Reese to have the foundation to accomplish these goals.   

-- Reese’s Mom, Dominique




Smiling Reece

Reese was born at 36 weeks and weighed 4 lbs 14 ounces.She was very healthy and didn’t have any known medical problems. After havingher home for a few months, my husband and I started to notice a few characteristicsof Down Syndrome. With Ted having an older daughter with Down Syndrome we wereaware of some of the markers to look for. At Reese’s three month check up Iasked her pediatrician if he could test her just so we would know for sure.He said that he didn’t see anything that pointed in that direction but he wouldgo ahead and test her. That was the longest 10 days of my life. When theresults came back, I thought I had prepared myself, but no mother could preparethemselves to get the news that your child has a disability.

I was devastatedand overwhelmed with all the information he was giving me and all the doctorappointments that came along with the diagnosis. He gave me a folder withinformation in it about TEIS (Tennessee Early Intervention System) and told methey would be contacting me within the next week or two. Once I was contactedthey helped get therapies started and introduced us to Siskin’s Home VisitingProgram. As parents that both work full time jobs and having three older kidsthat were very active in sports I didn’t know how we were going to squeeze inmultiple appointments each week. Siskin’s Developmental Therapist would come toour house each week and bring literature and resources to help us to meet thegoals that were set for Reese. She would get together with the other therapistsand TEIS to coordinate days and times we could all meet together to helpalleviate stress and cut down on how many appointments we had each week.

To add to that stress of family life, at six months old welearned that Reese had a heart defect. Reese underwent open heart surgery torepair an Atrioventricular Septal defect at Vanderbilt. She spent 10 days therebut made a quick recovery. After surgery Reese stayed home with family untilshe was around 18 months old and healthy enough to go into apreschool/childcare program. Reese was enrolled at Siskin Early Learning Centerin an inclusive classroom. It was important to our family that peopleappreciated everything we loved about Reese, and in the classroom she was justone of the girls who happened to have Down Syndrome. As part of her classroomprogram Reese receives her support services such as physical therapy, speechtherapy,and occupational therapy. Reese was successful and has made tremendousprogress because her services were provided within the routines of her day andwith activities that were meaningful to her. Her teachers and therapist becamegreat supports for our family, providing information and ideas on ways toimplement these strategies at home.

Since Reese started at the Siskin Early Learning Center she hasblossomed into a spunky, determined little girl with so much personality. Weare excited to see where this journey takes us and are very grateful thatSiskin,her therapists, and wonderful teachers have been a part of it. Our goalsfor Reese are for her to go to kindergarten and eventually receive a regulardiploma just like her older siblings. We feel Siskin Children’s Institute haslaid the ground work for Reese to have the foundation to accomplish thesegoals.  

-- Reese’s Mom, Dominique