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As the country experiences a time of crisis from the novel coronavirus, kids are not exempt from feelings of confusion or insecurity. It is important for kids to feel safe and secure while we strive to keep their bodies healthy during this pandemic. Here are some tips for parents and caregivers as they work to ensure that their kids stay healthy in both mind and body.

1. Communicate. For younger kids and kids with ASD, it may be a good idea to implement visual tools to explain why they have to stay at home. We like this free printable social story for explaining the virus. Reassure kids that these changes in their routine won’t last forever.

2. Teach good hygiene. The CDC recommends these practices for staying healthy during the Covid-19 crisis. Teaching good hand-washing skills is imperative. For kids, we really like social stories like this one to print and hang near the sink. Also, try singing some fun songs for 20 seconds to ensure that right amount of time is spent washing.

Kids should stay home right now, but if they have to be in public for medical treatment of grocery shopping kids over two may wear a mask. There are many DIY options for making protective face wear, but please remember that babies and toddlers under 2 years-old should not wear masks.

3. Establish a routine. Most kids have experienced a disruption in their routine lately. While all children thrive with routine, kids with ASD may be more negatively impacted by the changes. While strict schedules are not usually necessary, it is a good idea to find a routine that works and stick with it. You can read more about our suggestions for quarantine routine here

4. Take advantage of telemedicine. Siskin Children’s Institute, along with many other offices across the nation have transitioned to telemedicine. It is important to continue any therapies or treatments your child typically receives. Reach out to your child’s healthcare provider for more information on telemedicine.

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

Posted by Siskin Admin  | Category: Coronavirus, Kids, Wellness

During the past few weeks, we have been thrown into unprecedented times with the arrival of Covid-19 in the United States. Most of us will be spending much of the spring season in quarantine, working from home, and homeschooling kids. In addition to the sudden change in routine, many of us are also experiencing stress from the economy and worrying about our loved ones’ health. 

According to the CDC, everyone responds differently to stress and different events can trigger stress in individuals. Some common triggers for stress and anxiety can include:

   • Worrying about our health and our family’s health
   • Worrying over finances
   • Having kids at home
   • Changes in sleep and eating 
   • Feelings of isolation
   • Increased substance abuse

It is important to practice self-care during stressful times.
Try some of these ideas that may curb stress and promote overall well-being.

1. Take breaks from the news. Now, it is important to stay informed, especially in times of uncertainty. However, when we are constantly seeing and hearing negative messages and sad stories, it can take a toll on us mentally and emotionally. Try limiting time spent watching the news to just a few minutes per day to stay informed without feeling overwhelmed.

2. Take breaks from social media. During a quarantine, it is easy to feel isolated and turn to social media for a sense of community. However, social media is also flooded with sad stories and even inaccurate information about Covid-19. Limiting social media to just a few minutes a day, or even taking breaks from it for entire days, may help manage stress and anxiety. 

3. Take care of your body. It sounds cliché, but we really should eat right and exercise. Eat foods that are filling, as well as nourishing. Activities like yoga or Zumba can promote the production of endorphins (the stress-reducing hormone!) to benefit physical and mental health. 

4. Revisit an old hobby. Many of us have activities that we enjoyed before our lives were so busy. Quarantine may be a good time to take up a hobby that we have not had time to enjoy in a while. Pull out the paint brushes, tennis rackets, knitting needles – whatever brings you joy – and set aside some time to decompress with that hobby. 

5. Connect with others. This may seem contradictory to our advice on limiting social media, but we are referring to the old-fashioned ways of connecting – by phone, or even mail! Try picking up the phone and checking on loved ones individually. Ask an elderly friend or relative to tell you stories about when they were younger, make cards for the sick, or write letters to soldiers overseas. 

6. Go outside! Take advantage of nice weather to go on a walk or hike (of course, while adhering to social distancing guidelines). Vitamin D and fresh air are good for the body and spirit!

It is important that anyone with a preexisting mental health condition continue with their normal treatment, including taking medications, while also watching out for any new or worsening symptoms. Visit SAMHSA for more information.

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

We’re sure your family is reeling from the events of the past few weeks due to closures and social distancing. All the uncertainty can be very overwhelming. However, it is evident that parents have jumped into caring for and teaching their children at home marvelously.

While it is easy to be overwhelmed with what “should be taught,” take a moment to remember how young children learn best, before we allow ourselves to be pulled into finishing one more assignment. There are a few things children can teach us to help us move forward with our new normal. Below are a few tips to help you enhance learning opportunities at home and in any environment.

First, children feel that play is always a good idea, and they are correct! For children, learning happens everywhere. They learn by doing, using their senses, exploring their environments of people, things, and places. Play itself is vital to healthy brain development. It’s a natural stress reliever and empowers choice-making. Play helps children learn to regulate their feelings, delay gratification, and negotiate with others.

Second, children usually go with the “I have an idea!” rather than the “what-ifs.” Going along with an idea is the essence of a child’s intellectual development. They may not always say it aloud, but you can see ideas churning in testing buildings, looking at nature, fixing or taking apart things, or making music with pots and pans.

Third, we grown-ups have great faces! Your children have spent countless hours studying your expressions and responses and they love to have your attention. Take some time throughout your day to give them undivided attention. After all, young children learn best when they have warm, engaged and responsive relationships with their adults. You have a vital role to play in helping your child learn through these early years. You are your child’s first teacher, and your child will keep learning from you as they grow. Your family’s rhythm will emerge. Give it time and make some memories. 

CONTENT PROVIDED BY: Janet Parks, Siskin Early Learning Center

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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.