in the press
Siskin Center for Developmental Pediatrics Implements New Technology to Help More Families
Chattanooga, Tenn., March 14, 2019
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – New technology at Siskin Children’s Institute will enhance how children with special needs are served in our community. The new real time teleconferencing system, being rolled out this month in the Siskin Center for Developmental Pediatrics, will improve how children and families access care and will utilize distant site partners and providers. Developmental Pediatrics is recognized as one of the fields with the greatest shortages of pediatric subspecialists, and as such, recruiting Developmental Pediatricians can be especially difficult. However, the need for these specialists continues to grow as more and more families are referred to the Institute for developmental assessments and testing. “This new technology will be a huge asset for the Institute as we continue to grow,” says Stephanie Cooper-Wilkes, Director of Healthcare Administration at Siskin. “We’re excited to roll this out and begin seeing families for follow up visits and other non-diagnostic needs using teleconferencing format.” Families will continue to see an on-site provider for all initial visits and diagnostic-related appointments.
A Spring City family knows that first-hand as they were the first to take advantage of this technology in early March as they came in for a follow up appointment with Siskin’s Dr. Van Decar. During the visit, Dr. Van Decar was able to interact with the child and his family just as he had done in their previous visit, he was able to simultaneously review patient records and notes taken from the last visit, share growth charts, and other relevant information with the family in real time via the conferencing system.
“This new technology puts Siskin Children’s Institute in an excellent position to serve more children and recruit additional physicians from our region who may not be able to be in the office every day, but can use the telemedicine/telecommunications software to treat families from an off-site location,” says Derek Bullard, President and CEO of the Institute. “We are excited to be able to help more families and hope to increase access to care for families in our rural areas in the coming months.”
Learn more about the Siskin Center for Developmental Pediatrics.
sushi nabe raises $1000 for children with special needs
Chattanooga, Tenn., March 8, 2019
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Sushi Nabe, a locally-owned and operated authentic Japanese restaurant, generously donated $1,000 raised from their annual sushi making workshop to support the children with special needs served by Siskin Children’s Institute. The class, held on Super Bowl Sunday each year, teaches attendees the art of making sushi and while supporting a local cause.
“We can’t thank our friends at Sushi Nabe enough for their continued support of the children with special needs we serve” says Derek Bullard, President and CEO of Siskin Children’s Institute. “With their help, we can continue to serve more children and families in our community.”
To learn more about Sushi Nabe, visit sushinaberestaurant.com
siskin children's institute celebrates 43rd annual styleworks event
Edna Varner and Alisa Russell to co-chair
Chattanooga, Tenn., February 26, 2019
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Siskin Children’s Institute is pleased to announce Edna Varner and Alisa Russell as the co-chairs for the 2019 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 2,200 children with special needs and their families annually. StyleWorks will take place on Thursday, April 18, beginning at 11:30am at the Chattanooga Convention Center with the Dillard’s Pop-up Shop opening at 10:30am.
Local models as well as current and former children of the Institute 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.
“Styleworks is a fun event that truly embodies what I feel Siskin is about…empowering children with special needs”, says event co-chair Alisa Russell. “What an honor it is to watch those children walk the runway every year with the crowd cheering and their uniqueness being praised. It is with great joy that I have been involved with Siskin for several years, with my own family benefitting from the services provided. What a privilege it is to have a place like Siskin in Chattanooga.”Guests can expect to meet children from SCI programs, hear their stories and their incredible accomplishments, all while enjoying an exciting runway fashion show like no other.
StyleWorks attendees will also have the opportunity to shop at the Dillard’s pop-up shop just before the luncheon and following the fashion show. In addition to providing StyleWorks guests with great deals, Dillard’s will be donating a portion of each purchase that day to support children with special needs served by the Institute. Plus, all guests will be entered to win one of several door prizes from Dillard’s and one lucky guest will win a $1500 gift card from our long-time StyleWorks partner, Rone Regency Jewelers.
Thank you to our StyleWorks sponsors: Dillard’s, CBL & Associates, Charles and Betty Lebovitz, Jo Ann Yates, SecurAmerica, Southeastern Salvage, First Tennessee Foundation, Claire Binder, Pris and Robert Siskin, Becky and Daniel Siskin, Jonathan and Wendy Siskin, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Sunny 92.3, WRCB Channel 3, and Fairway Outdoor Advertising.
For more information about StyleWorks 2019 or to purchase your ticket, visit siskin.org/styleworks.
Family voices of tennessee launches southeast tn hub at siskin children's institute
Chattanooga, Tenn., February 4, 2019
Siskin Children’s Institute is excited to partner with Family Voices of Tennessee and the Tennessee Disability Coalition to establish the Helen Siskin Pregulman Family Voices of Tennessee, Southeast Tennessee Partnership. This collaboration creates a local hub for families in the Chattanooga region in search of resources, support, and guidance as they care for children with special healthcare needs, chronic illnesses and disabilities. The new partnerships provides local access to emotional and educational support, connections to other families, parent mentors, tools for navigating healthcare systems and insurance, and more.
“Partnering with Siskin Children’s Institute to expand our reach is a wonderful opportunity to provide more access to the information, tools, and resources available,” says Kara Adams, Director of Family Voices of Tennessee. “We are thrilled to be able to reach more families in Tennessee.”
The local office will be led by long-time advocate for families with special needs, Lisa Spurlock. Lisa has worked with countless families in the region during her career as a physical therapy assistant, both in a home and childcare settings, including the Siskin Early Learning Center. Her drive to help others is evident in the passion she has for working with children with special needs, helping them to meet goals and milestones and supporting their families. Lisa will now also serve as the local Family Voices of TN Southeast Partnership Coordinator for the Chattanooga region.
Siskin Children’s Institute will be holding two upcoming information sessions for families and service providers to learn more about the Family Voices of Tennessee program, recruit parents to serve as mentors, and hear about plans for 2019.
Information sessions will be held on February 28 for both parents and organizations serving those with special needs. These are free, but registration is requested. Those interested in participating can visit siskin.org/familyvoices to learn more.
First watch hixon raises $8,000 for siskin children's institute in grand opening event
Chattanooga, Tenn., December 05, 2018
Siskin Children’s Institute (SCI) is excited to share the success of our community partner, First Watch The Daytime Café (Hixson), and its grand opening charity event held December 8 and 9. The New First Watch in Hixson hosted friends and family of the Institute during its soft opening event this past weekend. Guests were treated to a delicious meal courtesy of First Watch, and in lieu of paying for their meal, guests were able to make donations in support of children with special needs served at SCI.
“We are honored to be able to partner with such an impactful and reputable organization,” said James Baker, General Manager of First Watch Hixson. “It would not have been as successful without our team and the Siskin team working in unison to put this event together for the children of our community.”
The event was a tremendous success, totaling $8,000 in the two days, half of the total came by donations made from guests and the other as a match contribution from Knoxville Based Capstone Concepts, LLC, which is the Franchisee of First Watch in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Johnson City.
“We are so thankful for this wonderful partnership with First Watch Hixson and for their generosity,” says President and CEO, Derek Bullard. “It’s because of great community partnerships like this, that SCI is able to provide high-quality programs and services for children with special needs and their families.”
To learn more about First Watch, visit firstwatch.com.
Baylor School Tennis Teams Raise More than $16,000 for Children with Special Needs
Chattanooga, Tenn., December 05, 2018
For six years now the Baylor School Boys and Girls Tennis Teamshave planned and hosted Serving It Up for Siskin, a mixed doubles tennis tournament benefiting Siskin Children’s Institute. This year’s event, held on November 10, was organized by Izzy Boyd, Anna Hawkins, Miles Kadrie, Landie McBrayer, and Hunter Smith. The event was extremely successful raising a record breaking $16,100 for children with special needs. “It’s incredible the dedication these students have and their abilities to plan and organize such a successful event while also fulfilling their school requirements” says Derek Bullard, President and CEO of Siskin Children’s Institute.“We are grateful for their commitment to the children and families we serve.”
Serving it Up for Siskin began as a senior project in 2013 by Baylor alumnae McCall Morgan and Harper Caswell. The original event succeeded tremendously and created a partnership with the Baylor tennis program. “Having a tennis tournament allows us to do and share something we are all passionate about while raising money and awareness for the Siskin Children’s Institute. I hope that we will help make a difference in the life of children with special needs and their families,” says Landie McBrayer.
Now an annual event, Serving It Up for Siskin has raised approximately $68,990 since its inception.
james van decar, md, faap joins siskin children's institute
Chattanooga, Tenn., December 04, 2018
Siskin Children’s Institute is excited to announce that Dr. James Van Decar will join the team in the Siskin Center for Developmental Pediatrics beginning January 2019.
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.
Community Support Needed to help children with special needs:
Siskin children's institute launches 1 in 6 campaign
Chattanooga, Tenn., October 29, 2018
Siskin Children’s Institute is excited to announce the launch of their annual donation drive with a goal of having one in six Chattanooga area residents donate $20 to support children with special needs, impacting the future for thousands of children in our community.
One in six children is diagnosed with a developmental delay or disability in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control. Thanks to our founders, Mose and Garrison Siskin, families in the Chattanooga region have access to the highest quality programs and services to ensure children with special needs meet their full potential. “As parents of a child with special needs, one of the things we desire most is a sense of normal life. Siskin helps us to feel like Michael can go to school with typically developing children and interact with all the children in everything they do. He learns and grows just like the other child, but with some extra help from some special folks. And most of all, he’s having fun and loving school. We can’t thank them enough,” says Patty Casey, Michael’s mom.
You can help children with special needs in our community by becoming the 1 in 6 Chattanooga area residents who give $20 or more to ensure children have the resources and services they need. If one in six Chattanooga area residents gave just $20, incredible things could happen for children with special needs. With your help, we can impact more kids than ever before.
“From the first moment we walked in the door at Siskin, we could tell everyone, from the receptionist to the therapist and up to the CEO, want the best for Joel.
Joel sometimes needs creative solutions to keep making progress. His therapist is always willing to go the extra mile to find what will work best and help Joel reach his full potential” says Wendy Westbrook, Joel’s mom. “Our family is thankful to have Siskin Children’s Institute. When Joel meets a goal, it is not time to quit, it is just time to set a new goal. Every visit to Siskin brings Joel closer to being fully independent. Extraordinary, life changing, incredible, and indispensable are all ways that we describe Siskin. We are so glad to have these resources available locally.“
Your contributions could:
• Provide integrated creative arts enrichment programs to help children with special needs express themselves, enhance social skills, and better communicate with their peers.
• Grow our needs-based scholarship program for low income families who don’t meet requirements for other financial supports to ensure they have access to SCI programs and services.
• Help SCI expand the partnership with Family Voices of TN to provide local families the support, parent training, resources, and peer network to navigate the complex systems involved in caring for children with special needs.
• Expand therapeutic services to provide more children with needed speech, physical, and occupational therapies as well applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy.
Help Siskin Children’s Institute reach their goal by December 31, 2018.
To make a donation and read the stories of some of the children you will impact,
Baylor tennis team hosts 6th annual serving it up for siskin tennis tournament
Chattanooga, Tenn., October 3, 2018
Baylor School’s Girls and Boys Tennis Teams will hold their 6th annual “Serving It Up For Siskin Children’s Institute” mixed doubles tennis tournament on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Baylor School Tennis Courts. This year’s event, led by students Izzy Boyd, Miles Kadrie, Landie McBrayer, and Hunter Smith, will raise funds for the programs and services of Siskin Children’s Institute, a comprehensive organization serving children with special needs, and their families in the region.
Many families from the Chattanooga and surrounding communities have be impacted by knowing an individual with disabilities. Miles Kadrie, captain of the Baylor boys' tennis team, shares, “My Great Uncle Bud had disabilities throughout his life and having access to a program as revered and impactful as that of Siskin would have very well improved his quality of life so much, and I can only hope that any money or awareness we might raise will benefit others in similar positions.”
Serving it Up for Siskin began as a senior project in 2013 by Baylor alumnae McCall Morgan and Harper Caswell. The original event succeeded tremendously and created a partnership with the Baylor tennis program. Now an annual event, the tournament has raised approximately $52,890 since its inception. Each year the Baylor Tennis Team passes the torch, building a legacy of philanthropy and community service with a goal to surpass the previous year with the participation level and total amount raised.
This tournament is open to all ages and skill levels free of charge to participate. However, donations from participants are appreciated and welcomed.
Registration Deadline for Serving It Up for Siskin is Friday, October 26.
Mary HOLLOWELL EARNS LAMP CERTIFICATION
First Speech - Language Pathologist in tennessee to earn credential
Chattanooga, Tenn., October 3, 2018
Congratulations to Siskin Center for Developmental Pediatrics Speech – Language Pathologist, Mary Hollowell, on earning her LAMP Certification. The LAMP (Language Acquisition through Motor Planning) Certification is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated competency in their ability to skillfully utilize principles of language and motor learning in order to teach patients who use augmentative and alternative forms of communication (AAC). LAMP certified professionals offer invaluable assistance to help parents and children gain proficiency in their interactions. Trained by The Center for AAC and Autism, Hollowell is now able to facilitate communication utilizing LAMP methodology.
LAMP was originally developed to give nonverbal individuals with autism a means of communication, however, it can also be adapted to benefit individual with a variety of other needs. Language Acquisition through Motor Planning emphasizes a therapeutic approach centered on neurological and motor learning principles. Essentially, LAMP methodology looks to equip individuals who are nonverbal or who have limited verbal abilities with a method of expressing themselves in any setting. Ongoing research has shown improvements in spontaneous communication, mean length of utterance, and receptive vocabulary when LAMP strategies are implemented. In addition, patients have demonstrated signs of progress in natural vocalization, various communicative functions, and unique combinations of words.
Currently, Hollowell is the only Speech – Language Pathologist in Tennessee to have earned the credential. In doing so, Hollowell has furthered Siskin’s mission of serving children with special needs and their families.
Siskin’s Center for Developmental Pediatrics is now taking new therapy patients. Ask your pediatrician for a referral while there is still availability.
For more information about Siskin Children’s Institute, visit siskin.org.
Free Fall Workshops for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Chattanooga, Tenn., September 26, 2018
Could you benefit from new strategies to better manage your child’s behavior, communication, and personal safety skill? Enhancing your child’s behavior for the better begins with simple, daily tactics. If you are interested in learning more about when and how to implement behavior strategies, relate to your child, find support from fellow parents facing similar challenges, or learn more about the unique needs of your child, then you should attend the free upcoming parent, Treatment& Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) Community Workshops. The workshops are hosted by Siskin Children’s Institute in partnership with the Chattanooga Autism Center and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.
The three distinct workshops will help you develop additional skills in the areas of challenging behavior, safety, and communication. You will receive the most benefit from these workshops if you have a child five years and younger or a child who is newly diagnosed. However, any family interested in learning more about these topics are welcome.
Workshops will be held on October 6, November 3, and December 1 from 10am-1pm at Siskin Children’s Institute. Each session will last approximately three hours. Topics of discussion included the following: addressing challenging behavior, teaching safety skills, and developing basic communication skills. The workshops provide strategies that you can use anywhere from your home and your child’s school to public places around the community. The strategies discussed are based on the well tested principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
Although the workshops are free, please RSVP as soon as possible at siskin.org/triad. In fact, registration for “Addressing Challenging Behavior” on October 6 is open now. Limited childcare is available on a first come, first served basis.
For more information about Siskin Children’s Institute, visit siskin.org
siskin early learning center earns a 3-star rating
Chattanooga, Tenn., August 29, 2018
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 program is a voluntary assessment that recognizes child care agencies who exceed minimum licensing standards. The Institute is proud to have earned this high rating for more than ten years.
“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 Tennessee early learning standards, and we believe our high rating reflects that. We’re so proud of our teaching staff who work hard everyday providing incredible, loving, high-quality care, “says Julie Mickel,Director of the Early Learning Center at Siskin Children’s Institute.
The assessment involved observing five classrooms chosen randomly. Assessors were focused on the routines and practices within each classroom 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 taken into consideration were professional development hours and content, classroom ratios, and parent involvement.
“As a new teacher, going through the assessment process challenged me to provide a more stimulating, engaging, and natural environment in order to foster learning and growth with the children in my classroom,” says Cristina Cochran, Teacher in the Siskin Early Learning Center. “We work to create an environment that encourages parents to engage with their children and teacher each day in the classroom setting.”
The Siskin Early Learning Center provides a high-quality preschool education for young children with and without disabilities, including children with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorders, chromosomal abnormalities and other disabilities. All children learn and play side-by-side in an environment that celebrates the accomplishments of every child.
“After so many years at Siskin, the 3-Star Rating is simply validation for what my husband and I see every day - that this is the best possible environment for our children to grow up in surrounded by very special teachers, administrators, and friends,” says Katherine Hoffman,mom of two children enrolled in the Siskin Early Learning Center.
For more information about Siskin Children’s Institute, visit siskin.org.
To learn more about the TN Star Quality Program, visit tnstarquality.org.
2nd annual king of the corn hole event set for september 15
proceeds to benefit siskin children's institute and ronald mcdonald house charities of greater chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tenn., August 6, 2018
Siskin Children’s Institute and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga are excited to partner to bring Chattanooga the 2nd Annual King of the Corn Hole Tournament. The event will be held at Car Express just off Shallowford Road by Hwy 153. Participants can register to compete to be named Kings of the Corn Hole Chattanooga in this single elimination tournament by visiting KingOfTheCornHOle.org. Come out and cheer on your favorite team and enjoy the kids zone, food, and fun.
What: King of the Corn Hole Tournament
When: September 15, 2018; 8:00am – 2:00pm
Where: Car Express (Shallowford Road & Hwy 153)
Register your team for the King of the Corn Hole Tournament at KingoftheCornHole.org.
Siskin children's institue annouces derek bullard as president and ceo
Chattanooga, Tenn., July 31 2018
The Board of Directors of the Mose and Garrison Siskin Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of Derek Bullard from Charlotte, North Carolina, as President and Chief Executive Officer for Siskin Children’s Institute, effective August 13, 2018.
For over a decade of his career, Bullard was the chief executive officer of Access Family Services, a multi-state behavioral healthcare provider. He directed the start-up and grew the organization to a company with 11 offices throughout North and South Carolina. Through his efforts, Access Family Services achieved the highest national accreditation with The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities for six years.
He is currently the chief executive officer of Already Homecare, a company that provides non-medical home care services for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in seven counties throughout South Carolina.
“Derek Bullard has a passion for serving children and families with mental illness and developmental disabilities,” stated Paul Loftin, chairman of the board of directors. Bullard has been dedicated, for over 20 years, to the cause of helping children with disabilities as a result of several roles—CEO, therapeutic foster parent, and as a community advocate. He believes in forming strategic relationships to improve the lives of children and families.
Mr. Bullard and his wife LaVondria are the proud parents of three children and one grandson. Mr. Bullard stated, “I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of Siskin Children’s Institute and its legacy of serving children and families with special needs. Chattanooga is such a welcoming city, and we are excited to join this thriving community. “
Mr. Bullard holds a bachelor’s degree in human services from Thomas Edison State University in New Jersey.
Suntrust foundation gives $10,000 to siskin children's institute for STar program
Chattanooga, Tenn., July 18, 2018
SunTrust Foundation awarded a grant of $10,000 to Siskin Children’s Institute to support its Siskin Testing and Assessment Relief (STAR) program. STAR assists families without insurance or those underinsured with expenses associated with the testing and assessments process of children with special needs. The results from the testing can determine a child’s diagnosis and the treatment or interventions that may be needed to help them reach their full potential.
“The institute is grateful to the SunTrust Foundation for helping relieve the financial stress that families with children who have special needs experience with the challenges of insurance reimbursements and medical coverage,” said Deborah Elwell Arfken, interim president and CEO of Siskin Children’s Institute.
“Giving children with special needs and their families the knowledge and confidence they need to be successful in life is something the SunTrust Foundation and SunTrust Bank care deeply about,” said Jim Vaughn, SunTrust Bank East Tennessee market president. “That’s why the SunTrust Foundation is pleased to support Siskin Children’s Institute