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Dr. Chestaro specializes in the diagnostic evaluation, medical management, and family support for children with developmental and behavioral conditions – including Autism Spectrum Disorder, intellectual disability, complex ADHD, learning disorders, speech and language disorders, developmental delays, and behavioral disorders. Dr. Chestaro completed her residency, fellowship in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, and fellowship in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) in Chicago. She is a member of the Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Chestaro has a wealth of knowledge and a passion for working with children of all backgrounds. She is committed to providing the best family-centered care for children in the area.

Q: What is the difference between a developmental behavioral pediatric provider and my child’s current primary care provider? 

A: Primary care providers have the acquired knowledge and experience to manage the health of your child, including physical, behavior, and mental health issues. They're trained to diagnose and treat childhood illnesses, from minor health problems to serious diseases. They can help you know what to expect in terms of growth and development and can help prepare you for the changes that will naturally occur in a child’s life. There are instances, though, where a more nuanced type of care may be necessary for your son or daughter. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s social, emotional, behavioral, or developmental growth, a developmental behavioral pediatric specialist should likely be consulted. These providers have additional subspecialty training focusing on developmental behavioral pediatrics.

Q: I have concerns about my child’s development and/or behavior what do I do first? 

A: First, talk to your Primary Care Provider about your concerns and get their input. Your provider has the special skills to take care of your child's health and can refer you to a specialist in developmental behavioral pediatrics if they think your child needs expert care. Developmental behavioral pediatric providers possess training and experience to consider, in their assessments and treatments, the medical and psychosocial aspects of children's developmental and behavioral concerns.

Q: I talked to my child’s doctor and they sent a referral, what happens next? 

A: Once your referral is received an individualized family intake specialist will contact you, help you navigate our intake process, and answer any questions you may have. The intake specialists assigned to your referral will also help with any needed paperwork and help connect you with additional resources.

Q: How soon can my child be evaluated? 

A: Early intervention is key to a child’s successful developmental outcome and we are engaging with our families as soon as the initial provider referral is received. The Institute has worked hard to reduce wait times for new patient appointments and in many cases a patient can see a developmental pediatric provider in just a few weeks due to our new intake process. Depending on the types of resources needed, we will connect you with a Family Voices coordinator who can help you navigate your current concerns and help you find the appropriate resources, even before your evaluation. 

Q: I thought Siskin Children’s Institute was a school for children with special needs? 

A: Siskin Children's Institute was founded as a school for children with special needs by Mose and Garrison Siskin over 70 years ago. Since 2009, the Institute has been offering medical services in addition to occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, applied behavior analysis therapy, family resource services through our Family Voices program, and now many of our services are available via telehealth.

Q: What makes Siskin Children’s Institute different from other agencies? 

A: Siskin Children’s Institute takes an interdisciplinary approach to early identification and intervention for developmental and behavioral concerns. The team consists of specialists under one roof in the areas of developmental pediatrics, speech pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavior psychology, applied behavior analysis, nursing, and administrative support staff. These professionals work collaboratively with the family to support the unique needs of each child, applying evidence-based practices, and connecting with community resources. We have a new individualized family navigation intake process that guides you through the Siskin experience and beyond! Siskin Children's Institute has been serving children with special needs for more than 70 years and we are honored to walk and celebrate your child’s beautiful journey! 

COVID-19 Update
Siskin Children's Institute is currently providing medical and therapy services by appointment only and via telehealth services. We have implemented mitigation strategies, staff training, and safe patient flow traffic measures to protect our patients, families, and staff. This is a multi-phased approach to diminish risks associated with COVID-19. For timely updates on our transition plan please visit this LINK or follow us on social media.

To learn more about the services provided at Siskin Children’s Institute in our Chattanooga or Nashville offices, visit this LINK, or call 423.490.7710

Cindy chestaro, M.D., FAAP
Siskin Children's Institute

Posted by Siskin Admin  | Category: children, health

The first half of 2020 has been a difficult year. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor add to a long list of black Americans who lost their life based on their skin color. In between bouts of anger and sadness, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the last week pondering “how have these deaths affected our staff and those we serve at SCI?” 

Displaying empathy, being inclusive, listening, and understanding are all key attributes of our culture at Siskin Children’s Institute. It’s part of the rich legacy of our founders Mose and Garrison Siskin. As a mission driven organization that serves children and families from diverse backgrounds, we must acknowledge that systematic racism exists. Racism affects our employees, our communities, and the children and families we serve. Racism manifests itself in innumerable ways. Persons of color including our co-workers, friends, neighbors, brothers, and sisters need to hear unequivocally that we support them and stand by them in condemning racism. We also condemn antisemitism and discrimination in all forms. You matter, you are valued by me and by Siskin Children’s Institute.  

In the coming weeks I will work closely with our staff and those we serve by reaffirming our commitment to diversity and addressing any cultural blind spots we may have. We will have hard conversations; we will listen and learn from each other. Our commitment is to constructively address disparities, foster an inclusive culture, and take a firm stand against racism.

Please join me as we work to be part of the solution.

Yours Truly,

Derek Bullard

To hear how the pediatrics community is responding to this crisis visit AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Derek Bullard, President & CEO Siskin Children's Institute

Posted by Siskin Admin

In response to Covid-19, Siskin Children’s Institute has begun implementing telehealth to carry out medical and therapy appointments for the kids we serve. We love being able to offer these services, but we understand that conducting appointments via phone, tablet, or laptop each week can quickly eat up a family’s mobile or internet data. 

The good news is that most carriers have made significant changes to their plans throughout the next few weeks, offering additional data and more hotspots while also working with individuals and families struggling to pay on time. 
Here is a list of some of the additional services offered right now in our area:

Waiving late fees
Suspending disconnects for those affected by Covid-19, but you need to call and let them know
Opening up Wi-Fi hotspots to anyone
Cricket and AT&T Prepaid Plans
Increasing data limits for new and existing customers for 2 months
Learn more.

60 days unlimited high-speed data for those with Legacy Plans, effective 3/13/20 
Smartphone plans for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile plans with hotspot data get an additional 20 GB, effective 3/20/20
Free international calling 
Learn more.

Unlimited data for 60 days for customers with metered data plans, effective 3/18/20
Waiving per-minute toll charges for international calls to countries that are defined as Level 3 by the CDC (effective 3/17/2020)
Learn more.

Unlimited calls 3/18/20 – 4/30/20
300 additional minutes for prepaid customers
Waiving activation and upgrade fees for new lines or new devices
Waiving late fees and suspension to individuals and small businesses affected by Covid-19, but you must call to let them know
Learn more.

Comcast Xfinity
Pausing internet data plans for 60 days, offering unlimited data at no charge
No disconnects or late fees for those affected by Covid-19 but it is important to call and let them know
Use this map to locate a hotspot in your area
Learn more.

EPB Fiber Optics
Quick Connect EPB free Wi-Fi is available for students, necessary business, and telehealth.
No disconnects or late fees, but it is important to call 423.648.1372 to let them know if you can't pay your bill
Learn more.

CONENT PROVIDED BY: Rachel Green, Home and Community-Based Early Intervention

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Siskin Children's Institute


The Early Learning Center (ELC) will reopen its doors for business on Monday, June 15, 2020.
Temporary business hours for the ELC will be from 8:00a to 5:00p.

In order to reopen the ELC, we have enhanced our safety and health measures to help mitigate the potential risk of COVID-19. These enhanced safety measures were developed based on the guidance provided by the CDC as well as other guidelines issued at the state and local levels. All parents and families will receive packets with detailed information regarding our COVID-19 safety measures to protect their children and our staff.

Developmental Pediatrics and Therapy Services in both our Chattanooga and Nashville locations are now allowing limited in-person services by appointment only. Walk-ins are currently not available and access to our clinics is only allowed if you have passed our comprehensive screening process, detailed in patient appointment communications. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment please call. 

Telehealth Services Available! We continue to provide medical and therapy services, including applied behavior analysis and home and community-based early intervention therapy, via tele-health during this time. Contact your provider for a referral today or visit our telehealth page for more information.

Institute leadership, with the guidance of our medical and therapy teams has implemented a for precautionary/sanitation protocols, staff training, and patient traffic flow measures to protect our patients, families, and staff. This is a multi-phased approach to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19. Phase one of this plan has already been executed and all patients, families, and staff have been notified or trained. We will announce enhancements to our reintegration plan over the next weeks and months based on the guidance provided by local and state health departments and the CDC. 

For more information on how Siskin Children's Institute is addressing this health concern and links to important information locally, regionally, and nationally, including information about how to talk to your children about Coronavirus, and additional resources in the Chattanooga and Nashville areas, click HERE.

Prescription Refills or Questions? Click HERE for the Athena Patient Portal or Call the Nurse Line 423.490.7734. Please visit the Athena Patient Portal on our website and read our recently Updated Prescription Policy before calling the number above.

For tips on activities for kids, food resources, and more, follow us on social or visit our Blog page.

If you would like to make a donation to support Siskin Children's Institute during this unprecedented time please click HERE.