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Sun Tan City Raises $6,000 for Siskin Children’s Institute


Chattanooga, Tenn., July 3, 2018


Siskin Children’s Institute is excited to share the success of our community partner, Sun Tan City, and their charity event held June 7-10. “The Sun Tan City Cares Initiative takes much pride in partnering with local charities, as it is an honor to be able to participate with organizations that are core to our beliefs and values.  It is through the continued passion and support of staff and our valued clients as well. During our Sun Tan City Cares Events, Sun Tan City hosts $5 Spray Events in which clients can donate $5 to the partnered charity and receive a free spray tan. It is a special time to see our staff, clients, and charity members come together to contribute to such important causes.  It has been a pleasure to work with the great organization Siskin Children's Institute, and we look forward to working with them on future events,” says Sun Tan City Managing Operator, Garrett Bruner. 

In just four days, Sun Tan City raised an incredible $6,000 to support the kids with special needs served by Institute. 
“We are so thankful for this wonderful partnership with Sun Tan City and for their generosity,” says Interim President and CEO, Deborah Arfken.  “Community partnerships like this allow SCI to continue providing high-quality programs and services for children with special needs and their families each year.”


Emily Brandt, M.D. Named Medical Director, Siskin Children’s Institute Center for Developmental Pediatrics


Chattanooga, Tenn., June 27, 2018


Siskin Children’s Institute has named Emily Brandt, M. D., board-certified in general pediatrics and developmental-behavioral pediatrics, as the Medical Director for the Center for Developmental Pediatrics. An assistant professor, Dr. Brandt also holds the title of interim division chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at The University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga.

Dr. Brandt received her B. S. in music from Southern Adventist University and her Doctor of Medicine from Loma Linda University’s School of Medicine. Her internship and residency in pediatrics were completed at Loma Linda University. Post-graduate training in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities at the Center for Disabilities and Development at The University of Iowa and a fellowship in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at The University of Iowa Children’s Hospital followed. 

She holds membership in the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
Dr. Brandt has been employed at Siskin Children’s Institute since 2013. “With her credentials and experience, Dr. Brandt performs an integral role both in the center and as a member of the Senior Leadership team,” stated interim president & CEO, Dr. Deborah Arfken.
“The Department of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger are excited to have Dr. Brandt accept her new role as Medical Director for Siskin Center for Developmental Pediatrics. Dr. Brandt has been instrumental in developing the new developmental curriculum for our pediatric residents and for overseeing the care provided at the Center. With so many families concerned about the development of their children, Dr. Brandt and the Siskin Center are seeking to address the increasing needs of Chattanooga and the region,” commented Dr. Alan Kohrt, Chair of Pediatrics at UT College of Medicine and CMO of Children’s Hospital.


Siskin Children’s Institute Announces LOCASH to Headline Annual StarNight Concert Gala
All proceeds benefit children with special needs and their families.


Chattanooga, Tenn., May 17, 2018


Siskin Children’s Institute is excited to welcome country music stars, LOCASH, as the headliner for this year’s StarNight event. The event, held on Saturday, August 25, at the Chattanooga Convention Center, will welcome approximately 1500 guests. John Pregulman, grandson of Institute co-founder Garrison Siskin, will co-chair the event alongside his wife Amy Israel Pregulman. Mr. Pregulman’s mother, Helen Pregulman, will serve as honorary co-chair.

LOCASH is a country music duo made up of singer-songwriters Chris Lucas and Preston Brust, natives of Baltimore, Maryland, and Indianapolis, Indiana, respectively. With a sound that fuses modern country and classic heartland rock with an edgy vocal blend, the independently-minded partners are revered as “one of Nashville’s hardest-working acts” (Rolling Stone) whose live show “has consistently been among the most energetic and entertaining in the country music genre” (Billboard). With two albums and eight charting singles to their credit, LOCASH broke out in 2015 with their gracious GOLD-certified hit, “I Love This Life," followed by the flirtatious GOLD-certified #1 smash, “I Know Somebody” – their first trip to the top of the Country radio airplay charts – and 2017’s fun-loving romantic anthem “Ring on Every Finger.” All three singles were part of their Reviver Records album debut, THE FIGHTERS, which was released in the summer of 2016 to Top 15 success. The follow up to THE FIGHTERS is expected this year.  In 2017, they earned their first round of awards show recognition, nominated at the ACM Awards for New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year, the CMT Music Awards for Duo Video of the Year (“I Know Somebody”), and the CMA Awards for Vocal Duo of the Year.
“We are excited to welcome LOCASH as our entertainer for this year’s StarNight event. We know they will put on a great show in support of the children with special needs we serve,” says Interim President and CEO, Deborah Arfken. “John and Amy will surely knock it out of the park and make StarNight 2018 one to remember.”

John Pregulman is the President of KAVOD, a Memphis-based organization supporting Holocaust survivors in need, which he founded with his wife, Amy. As a former professional photographer in New York City in the 1980’s, John found his passion for taking photographs of Holocaust survivors and has taken 600 photos so far. After his time in New York, he returned to Chattanooga to join the family steel business, Siskin Steel and Supply Company. The company was sold in 1996, and John was named President/COO until leaving the company in 2005. He is currently the managing partner of Robmer Partners, a real estate company his father created. Mr. Pregulman also serves his family by heading the family office as the Chief Investment Officer. John has four children, ranging in ages from 30 to 11.
Amy Israel Pregulman serves as the Executive Director of KAVOD.  Prior to KAVOD, Amy was the Director of Cultural Arts at the Memphis Jewish Community Center (MJCC) where she developed the Cultural Arts Department.  Under her leadership, she developed and implemented the Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival; the International Jewish Film Festival; the first Health and Wellness Expo; and established and branded the patrons of the Arts Program. Amy also curated for the Shainberg Gallery as well as developed the Campus for Holistic Learning. Prior to the MJCC, Amy was the Director of Community Engagement at Opera Memphis. Amy completed her Master’s in Strategic Planning and Leadership with a certificate in Nonprofit Management at the University of Memphis in 2017. Amy is a native Memphian and has two sons ages 22 and 19.  
StarNight 2018 opens with a cocktail reception beginning at 6 p.m., then moves to a formal dinner followed by a concert performance by LOCASH. An electrifying after-party with dancing and music from Atlanta Groove Factory will round out the night. 

For more information and tickets, visit


Siskin Children’s Institute Announces New Board Members


Chattanooga, Tenn., May 17, 2018


Siskin Children’s Institute announces the addition of six new board members, each of whom will serve a three-year term.  Paul Loftin is the current board chair, and Dr. Mary Tanner is the immediate past chair. 

Alan Cates, attorney, is a member of Husch Blackwell’s Financial Services and Capital Markets team.  Mr. Cates is a member of the Tennessee Probate Study Committee and has served on the faculty of the National Planned Giving Institute of the College of William and Mary for more than 25 years.

Dr. Andrea Goins, pediatrician, graduated from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and was a resident at the UT College of Medicine. She is affiliated with Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, Erlanger Bledsoe Hospital, Erlanger East Hospital, and Erlanger North Hospital. Dr. Goins heads the NICU follow up clinic.

Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President, College & Career Success, Public Education Foundation, coordinates the PEF's Camp College program, an intensive college planning weekend retreat for first-generation and low-income students. Additionally, Ms. Lightfoot manages the Passport Scholars program, providing young women of promise with residential summer enrichment experiences across the country.

Stephen Ratterman, Jr. is a Senior Vice President with Pinnacle Financial Partners.  Mr. Ratterman earned a B.B.A. in Managerial Finance and Investment Analysis from the University of Mississippi and is a graduate of the Southeastern School of Banking conducted at the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University 

Matt Rivers is the Principal Product Manager at BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee. Mr. Rivers received his B.A. from the University of the South and earned a Master of Public Administration from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a concentration in Nonprofit Management.  Currently, he is participating in the 2017 UTC Executive Education Leadership Program.

Eddie Russell, president of SecureAmerica, has been involved in facility services for 20 years. Mr. Russell serves as a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Building Services Contractor Association International (BSCAI) and Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. 

Dr. Jim Shire is a physician specializing in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and owner of Shire Facial Plastic Surgery.  A graduate of Ohio State University and the Medical College of Ohio, Dr. Shire completed a medical residency at the University of Cincinnati and a fellowship at Tulane University.  He practices at Erlanger and Memorial hospitals, and his research is published regularly in medical journals.

Scott LeRoy and Dr. Jim Shire will return to the Board of Directors.  Other community leaders continuing their terms on the board include David Binder, Julie Brandao, Lee Davis, Greg Eaves, Betty Lebovitz, Carla Morgan, Larry Parks, Valerie Rutledge, Robert Siskin, Robert Snetman, Edna Varner, and Rachael Welch. 

Helen Pregulman and JoAnn Yates will join the advisory committee. 


Free Summer Workshops for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders


Chattanooga, Tenn., May 16, 2018


Siskin Children’s Institute, in partnership with the Chattanooga Autism Center and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment & Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) program, will offer three workshops this summer for parents with children diagnosed or suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder. Workshops will be held on June 9, July 14, and August 11 from 10am-1pm at Siskin Children’s Institute. 

Each session will last three hours and focus on providing parents and caregivers strategies, based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), they can use at home, school, and in the community. Summer topics include developing visual supports, improving mealtime routines, and beginning toilet training. 

These workshops are free, but parents and caregivers are asked to RSVP at Limited childcare is available first come, first served.


siskin children's Institute help kids with special needs at home


Chattanooga, Tenn., May 9, 2018


The Home and Community-Based Early Intervention Program (HCBEI) at Siskin Children’s Institute is primarily focused on helping children with special needs, ages birth to three years, through best practices in the field of early intervention. 

Deidra Love, Director of the HCBEI program, explains, “The best way to help and support young children in their growth and development is to support their families and caregivers. We do that by making weekly home visits where we discuss child and family needs with the caregiver; then we help them develop strategies to accomplish their goals.” Love further notes that very young children learn best in familiar environments and in the regular routines of their day. Furthermore, they need repetition and practice to learn new skills. Families and caregivers are the best people to work with them throughout the day, since they are with them all of those hours when the professionals are not there. 

Jennifer Lawhorn is the mother of Jadon, a child who was in the HCBEI program for over two years. She says that her son has overcome so many struggles and continues to meet goals and accomplish milestones monthly. She is grateful for the support of the program because it ultimately changed their lives. “Our developmental therapist and our physical therapist are the most caring and compassionate people I have ever met. Jadon is not “just another child” to them; he is loved by them, and our family considers them family.”

Catherine Millard, a Lead Developmental Therapists at Siskin Children’s Institute, explains that the HCBEI program provides families with various types of support such as modeling specific developmental techniques, coaching, providing feedback, sharing information about child development, and brainstorming with them to develop a plan of action. When Catherine was asked why Siskin Children’s Institute is so special to her, her response was one that sums it up best. “Siskin is so special to me because I firmly believe in its mission to support families of children with special needs. These are often the families that feel most isolated, and it humbles me to know that Siskin is an organization that reaches far beyond the walls of our building to provide help for families who quite possibly need it the most.”
The HCBEI program is supported by Tennessee’s Early Intervention System (TEIS), a state program that serves children with special needs, ages birth to three. If you think your child could benefit from the HCBEI program provided at Siskin Children’s Institute, you can make a referral directly to the Chattanooga office of TEIS at 423-624-6344.


vanderbilt presenting free training on developmental disabilities at siskin children's institute


Chattanooga, Tenn., April 9, 2018


Twenty-five percent of outpatient pediatric visits are for developmental or behavioral concerns. To help both families and professionals, the Vanderbilt Consortium LEND is holding a series of free conferences and workshops in Chattanooga and other Tennessee cities.

For families, the half-day session will help parents be effective advocates for their child with an intellectual and developmental disability. Experts will address a range of topics, including autism, intellectual disability, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and congenital Zika

For professionals, the Vanderbilt Consortium LEND is providing an Interprofessional Course on Developmental Disabilities in Pediatrics—Including Congenital Zika.

The Interprofessional Course is designed for a broad range of professionals, including community pediatricians, family physicians, pediatric and family nurse practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, dieticians, speech-language pathologists, special education teachers, school administrators, audiologists, social workers, and clinical and developmental psychologists. CME/CNE credits are available.


Siskin/Vanderbilt Partner to bring autism assessment training to Chattanooga


Chattanooga, Tenn., March 21, 2018


Siskin Children’s Institute (SCI), in partnership with VanderbiltKennedy Center, is excited to host a two-day professional training workshop,April 12 and 13, on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) for behavioralhealth professionals.

“Withthe rising diagnostic rates of autism spectrum disorders, there is a need toprovide additional training to local professionals to expand diagnostic optionsfor families of children with autism concerns,” says Dr. Brandon Rodgers,Director of Behavioral Health Services at SCI. “Our hope is that equipping moreprofessionals with these tools will result in shorter wait times for childrento receive these critical assessment services in the Chattanooga area.”

SiskinChildren’s Institute is pleased that Dr. Gotham, one of the assessment’s developers,will lead the two-day training. More than 60professionals from across the country including Kennedy Krieger, LSU,University of Texas, Florida, Colorado and more will join local and regional professionalsas they develop the skills to utilize this essential tool. Participants willalso be provided continuing education credit through Vanderbilt University.

Thanksto a grant from the Rotary Club of Chattanooga, 25 local and regionalprofessionals including behavioral health providers, representatives from localpublic schools, speech-language pathologists, and private providers ineducation and pediatrics will be able to attend this vital workshop at no cost. 


Siskin Children’s Institute Hosts 42nd Annual StyleWorks Event 


Chattanooga, Tenn., March 12, 2018


Siskin Children’s Institute is pleased to announce Kim Leffew and Carrie Eaves as the co-chairs for the 2018 StyleWorks luncheon and fashion show. A spring tradition in Chattanooga, StyleWorks – Fashion with Compassion supports Siskin Children’s Institute’s programs that serve more than 2,600 children with special needs and their families annually. StyleWorks, will take place on Thursday, May 3, beginning at 11:00am at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
This year’s event welcomes a new presenting sponsor, Dillard’s, known for providing designer apparel, shoes, and accessories as well as highend beauty products and home goods. Local models as well as current and former children of the Institute along with their families will showcase Dillard’s trendiest clothing and accessories in the StyleWorks runway fashion show, produced by Kim Coulter Style Makers. Guests will be treated to a show full of smiling faces that highlight the work of Siskin Children’s Institute.

“I can’t express, in words, how honored I am to be the co-chair for Styleworks 2018. In November 2011, our family of three entered the butterfly gates and never looked back. It is difficult for me to envision what 18 months to age 6 would have been like for our son Laik, and our family, without Siskin Children’s Institute,” says event co-chair Kim Leffew. “As Chattanoogans, the families in our city and surrounding areas are exponentially fortunate that we have a resource like Siskin Children’s Institute. StyleWorks gives the attendees a brief glance into the Institute. I invite everyone to come see the butterflies spread their wings on the fashion runway!” 

Five families will be featured at this year’s event, both families with children currently enrolled in programs and those who got their start with the Institute and are flourishing as teens and adults. Guests will be inspired by their stories and their incredible accomplishments, all while enjoying an exciting runway fashion show like no other. 

"I have been involved with the Institute for many years, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact that a specialized program can have on a child with special needs and their families," says event co-chair Carrie Eaves. "My daughter got the best start in life thanks to Siskin, and I am so happy to share my story and support this mission."

In addition to the fashion show, attendees will have the opportunity to shop at the pop-up Dillard’s store just before the luncheon and following the fashion show. Donations made at this year’s event will be used for a scholarship fund to provide opportunities for more children with special needs to attend the Siskin Early Learning Center. We look forward to you joining us at our 42nd annual StyleWorks, Fashion with Compassion event. You can help Siskin Children’s Institute make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families in the Chattanooga region just by attending this event and showing your support at the fashion show. This year’s event will be dedicated to the memory of Amelia David Allen.

Thank you to our StyleWorks sponsors: Dillard’s, Jo Ann Yates, First Tennessee, ERMC Facility Services, Helen Pregulman, CBL & Associates, Charles and Betty Lebovitz, Southeastern Salvage, Rone Regency Jewelers, Pris Siskin, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Sunny 92.3, WRCB Channel 3, and EPB Fiber Optics. 



Siskin Children’s Institute Promotes Stephanie Cooper-Wilkes

Chattanooga, Tenn., March 7, 2018


Siskin Children’s Institute has appointed Stephanie Cooper-Wilkes practice manager in the Center for Developmental Pediatrics. With 12 years of experience in medical practice management, Stephanie brings extensive knowledge of administering a clinic to her new responsibilities.  During her five years’ of previous employment at Siskin Children’s Institute, she served as the clinic’s billing manager.
In her new role, Stephanie will prioritize the support of high-quality patient care and satisfaction, optimize efficiency in daily operations, and ensure compliance with changes in administrative health-care regulations.

“We are pleased to recognize Stephanie’s experience and contributions to Siskin Children’s Institute.  In her new leadership responsibilities, Stephanie will help move the Institute forward in its mission to serve children with special needs and their families,” said Dr. Deborah Arfken, the interim President and CEO.


The Siskin Museum of Religious Artifacts Provides Interesting Opportunity for Community 

Chattanooga, Tenn., March 1, 2018

The Siskin Museum of Religious Artifacts, operated by Siskin Children’s Institute, houses hundreds of religious artifacts and is open to the public free of charge Monday through Friday 9am to 4pm. It is located inside Siskin Children’s Institute at 1101 Carter Street. 

The museum is home to over 400 religious pieces, 247 Judaic and 140 Christian, ranging from the 16th to the 20th century. Other religions and philosophies represented in the museum are Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism among others. Each artifact was hand-picked in Europe by, Rabbi Harris Swift, a close friend of Mose and Garrison Siskin. 

The Siskin brothers, who were members of the Jewish faith, believed that if you could understand a person's religious views, you could know that person more fully. The Siskin brothers’ belief in preserving and appreciating the many religions of the world lives on in the Siskin Museum of Religious Artifacts.

Resources are available to ensure maximum satisfaction while visiting the museum. Each artifact has a QR code that can be scanned with a smart phone, which will provide an informational summary of the piece.

chattanooga roots property team raises $4,000 to support children with special needs 

Chattanooga, Tenn., February 5, 2018

Siskin Children’s Institute is excited to share the success of our community partner, Chattanooga Roots Property Team. For each home purchased or sold in 2017, the Chattanooga Roots Property Team donated $50 to Siskin Children’s Institute. Thanks to their generosity, the Team raised a total of $4,000 in the past year to support the programs and services for children with special needs and their families.

“Even before visiting the Institute, I felt the need to give back to the Chattanooga community,” says Natalie Henson. “Siskin Children’s Institute and the children with special needs they serve hold a special place in my heart. I’m so glad I have the opportunity to support a local organization that supports families in our community.” 

Institute Interim President and CEO, Deborah Arfken, adds “We appreciate Chattanooga Roots, a dedicated community partner. They and all our partners ensure that we achieve our mission.”


Chattanooga, Tenn., January 31, 2018

Julie Mickel, Amanda Robins, and Lisa Spurlock have been accepted to present at the Partners in Education Conference, February 6 – 8 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The presentation is titled Inclusion: The Journey of Two Children. “We will follow the path of two Siskin Early Learning Center children and explore what a day in an inclusive environment looks like,” says Julie Mickel, Siskin Early Learning Center director. “The presentation will explain what therapy services look like in an inclusive environment, explore how to embed functional individualized education program goals into daily classroom routines, and how to write functional goals that are age-appropriate and meaningful to the child and family.” 

Joining Julie in the presentation will be Amanda Robins, Siskin Early Learning Center education coordinator, and Lisa Spurlock, Children’s Hospital at Erlanger physical therapy assistant and Siskin Early Learning Center provider.

The PIE conference is an annual event which focuses on instruction and best practices for all students in the state of Tennessee, will be held at the Music City Center in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. To learn more about the Partners in Education Conference, visit

Siskin Children’s Institute Welcomes Deidra Love, New Director Of Home Visiting Program

Chattanooga, Tenn., January 26, 2018

Siskin Children’s Institute is proud to announce Deidra Love as the new Director of Home and Community-Based Early Intervention.

Deidra Love earned her master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from UTC, as well as undergraduate degrees in Education and English from Carson Newman University. She brings more than 18 years of experience in the early intervention field as a teacher, home visitor, and behavior specialist/consultant. Deidra has focused additional study and professional work in the fields of autism, challenging behavior, and inclusion. She has provided training and workshops for preschool teachers and early intervention professionals across the state. Additionally, she is the mother of four children and is passionate about supporting the developmental therapists on her team who, in turn, help families and caregivers build their skills and confidence as capable teachers of their own children.

“I am very grateful and excited to join this team as director of the Home and Community-based Early Intervention Program here at Siskin Children’s Institute. The work of home visitors is so important, as we strive to increase children’s progress and growth by building on the strengths and supporting the needs of their families. I look forward to investing in and leading our dedicated and skilled group of home visitors here at Siskin, as well as expanding our program to reach more children and families in the Chattanooga community and surrounding counties.”

Baylor Tennis Team Raises Over $13,000 for Kids with Special Needs 

Chattanooga, Tenn., January 18, 2018

Baylor School’s girls and boys tennis teams held the 5th annual “Serving It Up For Siskin Children’s Institute” tennis tournament in the fall, raising $13,540 for children with special needs and their families. The funds will support programs and services of Siskin Children’s Institute, the largest and most comprehensive organization serving children with special needs and their families in the tri-state area.

The Baylor tennis students who paved the way for this year’s success include Lauren Carelli, Miles Kadrie, Hailey Kleban, Landie McBrayer, Lilly Mooney, Presley Thomas, and Ryan Toomey. Siskin Children’s Institute gives a special thanks to everyone at Baylor School and the sponsors who made it all possible. 

Serving it Up for Siskin Children’s Institute began as a senior project by Baylor alumnae McCall Morgan and Harper Caswell. The event was a tremendous success and a partnership with the Baylor tennis programs was born. Now an annual event, the tournament has raised over $50,000 since its inception. Each year the Baylor tennis team passes the torch, building a legacy of giving and community service with a goal to surpass the participation and dollars raised in the previous year. 

Wendy Bennett announced as Siskin Children’s Institute Events Manager in addition to Executive Assistant to the CEO

Chattanooga, Tenn., December 19, 2017

The addition of events manager to Wendy Bennett’s title gives recognition to the responsibilities she has carried for many years. In her new role, she will manage Star Night and Style Works, the signature fundraising events for the Institute. She will also continue as the executive assistant to the President & CEO. Bennett is a graduate of Georgia Northwestern Technical Institute.

“Bennett brings a remarkable level of entrepreneurial skills to conducting the major fundraising events for Siskin Children’s Institute. Under her management, the many moving aspects of large events run like clockwork,” said Dr. Arfken.

Siskin Children’s Institute Offers Free Resources to the Community through Lending Library

Chattanooga, Tenn., November 30, 2017

Siskin Children’s Institute offers families and professionals free access to their Lending Library. Inside is an extensive collection of more than 5,000 books, DVDs, periodicals, videos on child development and disability related topics, and now includes access to assistive technology devices. The Institute staff can help visitors research a topic, select the right books, browse the library catalog or use one of the computer work stations. All resources are available at no charge. The Lending Library is located at 1101 Carter Street and open Monday through Friday 9am to 4pm. 

In addition to the plethora of resources available at Siskin Children’s Institute, the downtown branch of the Chattanooga Public Library houses the Siskin Children’s Institute Parent Corner, where visitors can now find helpful information on a number of topics related to early childhood development and disabilities. The Parent Corner is on the second floor of the library, located at 1001 Broad Street. 

The lending library now offers assistive technology. Assistive technology (AT) is any item that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. Please contact the Siskin Lending Library for additional information about the AT devices available for check-out.

If you are unable to make it in, Siskin Children’s Institute can provide helpful resources over the phone, send information via email, or even mail resources free of charge. 

Siskin children's institute hosts free workshops for families with special needs

Chattanooga, Tenn., November 7, 2017

Siskin Children’s Institute is proud to announce it will be teaming up with the Chattanooga Autism Center and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment & Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) to provide free educational workshops for parents of children with an autism spectrum disorder. Ideal participants are parents with children 5 years and younger, or who are newly diagnosed. Siskin Children’s Institute will be hosting all workshops at 1101 Carter Street during September, October, and December. 

TRIAD has provided services to thousands of children and families and is a member of the renowned Marino Autism Research Institute. It has been a partner of Vanderbilt Kennedy Center since 2005. The goal of each workshop is to provide parents and caregivers with strategies to be used at home, at school, or in the community. The strategies discussed are based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). 

Live streaming sessions with the TRIAD staff in Nashville, in-person segments, and various activities are on the agenda for each of these 3-hour workshops.

To learn more about Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment & Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) visit

Siskin Children’s Institute Partners with Vanderbilt to Share SPARK Research Opportunity

Chattanooga, Tenn., September 21, 2017

Siskin Children’s Institute is proud to partner with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment & Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) to encourage participation in a research study focused on the condition. The study, known as SPARK, focuses on speeding up the research around and understanding of autism by building a community of 50,000 individuals with autism and their families across the nation willing to provide researchers with medical and genetic information.

Participation in the SPARK research study is open to individuals of all ages with a professional diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) living in the United States. ASD includes Asperger syndrome, autism/autistic disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Participants are welcome to invite biological parents and full biological siblings (with and without ASD) to participate as well. 

Chattanooga Radio Control Club Announces 6th Annual Siskin Air Show

Chattanooga, Tenn., August 29, 2017

The Chattanooga Radio Control Club will hold it’s 6th annual Siskin Air Show on Saturday, September 16, from 10am to 2pm at Summit Field in Ooltewah. 

The annual event welcomes families for a day of fun and excitement as club members put on an incredible air show including radio controlled planes, high performance jets, helicopters, quadcopters, and more. Guests will be amazed as giant-scale aerobatics perform gravity defying stunts, warbirds take to the skies, and turbine powered jets roar past at speeds up to 170 mph. Kids and adults can also then take their turn flying a radio controlled plane alongside a club member in the buddy box.

“We are excited to partner with Siskin Children’s Institute for our 6th annual air show supporting children with special needs and their families. It’s always fun introducing a new generation of kids to the hobby of flying radio controlled planes,” says club member and event organizer, Tony Bosco. 

Bring the whole family! Admission is $10 per carload. Snacks and drinks will be available on-site. Summit Field is located at 4223 Old Woodland Drive. Please plan to bring cash for this event, as we are unable to accept credit cards.

Learn more about the Chattanooga Radio Control Club at 

Siskin Early Learning Center Earns 3-Star Rating

Chattanooga, Tenn., August 14, 2017

Siskin Children’s Institute is pleased to share that our inclusive early learning center has once again earned a 3-star rating, the highest rating possible, from the Tennessee Star Quality Program. This assessment involved observation of five classrooms as well as routines and practices within each including classroom environment, personal care routines, interactions between children and their peers as well as the interaction with the adults, activities/materials, program structure, and language/reasoning skills throughout the day. Other areas that are taken into consideration are professional development hours and content, classroom ratios, and parent involvement.

“We are thrilled to receive the Tennessee Star Quality Program’s 3-star rating. Our center utilizes evidence-based practices to increase a child’s engagement, independence and social relationships within an inclusive, intentional play setting incorporating developmentally appropriate standards and we believe our high rating reflects that. We’re so proud of our teaching staff who work hard every day providing incredible, loving, high-quality care, “says Julie Mickel, Director of the Early Learning Center at Siskin Children’s Institute.

The Tennessee Star Quality Program is a voluntary program that recognizes child care agencies who exceed minimum licensing standards. To learn more, visit

The Siskin Early Learning Center provides a high quality preschool education to young children with and without disabilities, including children with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, chromosomal abnormality and other disabilities. All children learn and play side-by-side in an environment that celebrates the accomplishments of every child.

The Siskin Children’s Institute Center for Developmental Pediatrics Expands Behavioral Health Services

Chattanooga, Tenn., July 24, 2017

Siskin Children’s Institute (SCI) is proud to announce the expansion of behavioral health services available through the Center for Developmental Pediatrics. Beginning in August, children with special needs and their families will now have greater access to individual and family counseling designed specifically for their needs. In addition, the social skills groups and parenting workshops currently offered at the center will be expanded and available to more families in the Chattanooga region.  All of these services will be made available on an affordable sliding fee scale. 

“We are grateful for outstanding community support from our foundation partners, particularly the George R. Johnson Family Foundation as well as the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and the Weldon F. Osborne Foundation, for helping us meet this community need,” says Institute CEO, John Farrimond. “We are excited to be able to provide the Chattanooga area with this much needed service and continue to improve the quality of life for children with special needs and their families.”

The program, led by Dr. Brandon Rodgers, LMFT, will utilize master’s and doctoral level interns from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) accredited universities such as Lee University, Texas Tech, and others to both meet demand for services and provide local placements for graduate students. 

“With the opening of the Developmental Family Therapy Center and partnerships with local and national family therapy programs, SCI will be able to positively influence the lives of our local families and children with special needs while also developing and training the therapists of tomorrow,” says Rodgers. 

Families that have childrenwith special needs ages 10 and under that utilize SCI services, as well asthose who have not, are welcome to schedule an appointment.  Appointments can be made by self-referral or familiescan be referred from an SCI provider, a primary care physician, or theirchild’s local school system.

Appointments are now beingscheduled for August. Referral forms are available online at

SunTrust Foundation Gives $10,000 to Support Children with Special Needs

Chattanooga, Tenn., June 16, 2017

For many Chattanooga families with children who may have a developmental delay, it can be difficult to obtain the testing and assessments needed for diagnosis due to lack of insurance coverage or being under insured. These evaluations are the gateway to getting help for many children with special needs. Unfortunately insurance companies will often times not cover these initial expenses leaving families with few options. In 2015, Siskin Children’s Institute created the Siskin Testing and Assessment Relief (STAR) program to help families with the expenses associated with these critical services. Thanks to the generosity of the SunTrust Foundation,