Since 1950
make a referral search this site

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


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 having her home for a few months, my husband and I started to notice a few characteristics of Down Syndrome. With Ted having an older daughter with Down Syndrome we were aware of some of the markers to look for. At Reese’s three month check up I asked her pediatrician if he could test her just so we would know for sure. Hesaid that he didn’t see anything that pointed in that direction but he would go ahead and test her. That was the longest 10 days of my life. When the results came back, I thought I had prepared myself, but no mother could prepare themselves to get the news that your child has a disability. I was devastated and overwhelmed with all the information he was giving me and all the doctor appointments that came along with the diagnosis. He gave me a folder within formation in it about TEIS (Tennessee Early Intervention System) and told me they would be contacting me within the next week or two. Once I was contacted they helped get therapies started and introduced us to Siskin’s Home Visiting Program. As parents that both work full time jobs and having three older kids that were very active in sports I didn’t know how we were going to squeeze in multiple appointments each week. Siskin’s Developmental Therapist would come to our house each week and bring literature and resources to help us to meet the goals that were set for Reese. She would get together with the other therapists and TEIS to coordinate days and times we could all meet together to help alleviate stress and cut down on how many appointments we had each week.

To add to that stress of family life, at six months old we learned that Reese had a heart defect. Reese underwent open heart surgery to repair an Atrioventricular Septal defect at Vanderbilt. She spent 10 days there but made a quick recovery. After surgery Reese stayed home with family until she was around 18 months old and healthy enough to go into a preschool/childcare program. Reese was enrolled at Siskin Early Learning Center in an inclusive classroom. It was important to our family that people appreciated everything we loved about Reese, and in the classroom she was just one of the girls who happened to have Down Syndrome. As part of her classroom program Reese receives her support services such as physical therapy, speech therapy,and occupational therapy. Reese was successful and has made tremendous progress because her services were provided within the routines of her day and with activities that were meaningful to her. Her teachers and therapist became great supports for our family, providing information and ideas on ways to implement these strategies at home.

Since Reese started at the Siskin Early Learning Center she has blossomed into a spunky, determined little girl with so much personality. We are excited to see where this journey takes us and are very grateful that Siskin,her therapists, and wonderful teachers have been a part of it. Our goals for Reese are for her to go to kindergarten and eventually receive a regular diploma just like her older siblings. 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