Siskin Children's Institute is opening up one of its resources to the public for free. 

The Lending Library offers thousands of items to parents with kids living with disabilities. 

Through assistive technology devices, children are able to communicate. Others help with daily activities. 

"They can touch the picture and that picture will talk for them," Siskin Children's Institute Early Learning Director Julie Mickel said, "At home, you can hook it up it a blender and they can help cook, you can hook it up to a lamp. So in a bedroom, the mom can say, turn your lamp on, and then the child can turn, just by pushing this, the lamp will come on."

Mickel said devices like these can be life-changing. 

Now, through the help of UNUM, anyone with a child living with disabilities can check out these devices for free. 

They're part of 6,000 books, DVDs, periodicals and videos at the Lending Library. The space is designed to help parents learn more about early childhood development and disabilities.

"We're getting families with very young children that are getting diagnosed very, toddler years, very young. They are just scrambling to know exactly they can start doing with their child right away," Family and Community Support Coordinator Karen Coleman said. 

Coleman has been building the information arsenal for the last 15 years. 

She's able to help steer parents toward the information they're looking for, which can sometimes get confusing. 

"We also have parents recommend things that have helped them. So when they've checked something out they can say this was a great book on this and I can recommend it to other parents," she added.

The Lending Library is located at 1101 Carter Street and is open Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM. 

For more information about the Lending Library or services, contact Karen Coleman via 423.648.1754 or 

You can learn more about Siskin Children's Institute by clicking here.