siskin children's institute
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Siskin Children's Institute

Medical & behavioral Health Team


MEdical Providers


james van decar, M.d., FAAP

Dr. Van Decar is a neurodevelopmental pediatrician with more than 30 years of experience serving children with special needs and is an expert in the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of developmental disabilities in children. He retired from the Air Force in 2015 after a 28-year career spanning medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, residency in pediatrics and fellowship in developmental disabilities in San Antonio, Texas, and then multiple assignments including Lakenheath Air Force Base in England, Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.  In addition to the exceptional care he provided to thousands of military dependent children with special needs, he also established one of the Department of Defense (DoD)’s first early intervention programs for children when their families were stationed overseas. He advocated for them through efforts to reform the DoD’s Exceptional Family Member Program, and worked to improve Tricare’s Autism Demonstration Program. Dr. Van Decar is a member of the planning committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics Developmental Pediatrics board review course, and also consults with the Florida State University Autism Center.  In addition, he was recently appointed by the Governor of Tennessee to the State Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention Services.

Applied behavior analyst


tina patterson, BCBA

Tina Patterson has an international certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and US licensure as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with 25 years of experience working to improve behavior change practices in education,clinical and community programs. She has guided public and private organizations and government agencies in the US and UK with the implementation of research-based behavior change programs to improve daily practices and performance outcomes for individuals with various disabilities. In addition,she has participated in and published several research studies and provided workshops at national and international conferences surrounding topics related to the science of learning and behavior.