More important that the tour of Siskin, was the opportunity I had to read to the children. I read to a group of 4 and 5 year olds. They were the most eager and excited group of children I have ever spent time with! They knew more than I did about space and planets. It took me back to the time when Pluto was a planet! Every child there had something to teach me and I loved sharing my time with them. One little boy and his friends caught my eye most of all, and I was reminded of just how accepting children can be. This experience was both fun and inspiring. Visiting Siskin showed me how much has been accomplished for the education of children with disabilities, and how much more we can do. As Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2012, I am grateful to have opportunities like this and I look forward to many more!
After visiting Siskin Children’s Institute I was honored with the request to serve as the guest speaker at their graduation ceremony. After giving a brief speech on the successful work of both the parents and teachers of the students, I was entertained by watching each classroom perform a short song. They were adorable! Once again I truly enjoyed my experience with Siskin and I am certain there will be more in the future.
Being Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2012 has opened amazing doors to discuss disability awareness with the public. Recently I had the opportunity to talk about such issues on the local television show Three Plus You on the Chattanooga NBC affiliate WRCB. I was interviewed by Julie Edwards, and was able to discuss not only my own experience growing up with a disability, but to spread the message that people with disability are functioning members of society with the same desires as the average American. The interview was fun and provided an outlet on a wide scale to open the discussion of disability awareness and access up to a larger area.
Siskin Children’s Institute is an inspiring educational and research organization that incorporates the education of children of all abilities. They endeavor to provide the most inclusive environment possible, allowing children to interact and learn in diverse settings. I had the chance to visit Siskin at their facility in downtown Chattanooga. It was an inspiring experience to find an organization that truly embodies equality of education for young children of diverse backgrounds, needs, and abilities. While there, I was given a tour of the facility and was amazed to see the amount of work they do. My personal favorite was the resource library they have for parents and others interested in raising and interacting with children with disabilities to learn more about the various disabilities that exist and how they affect children.