Best of All — Journee

best of all (noun) \best of all\

is continual, measurable, celebrated and it never ends. It is a daily challenge to do a little better than you did the day before and it’s always celebrated. Possible manifestations: standing just one second longer, reading just one more word, learning just one new number, taking just one more step, never a competition, never completed.

individual with down syndrome using AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) device, child using walker

Today, we’re shining a spotlight on someone whose light shines brighter and brighter each time she’s in our Playhouse: Journee! Our friend Journee has been attending programs at GiGi’s Playhouse Cincinnati since our Playhouse opened in 2022. She is a regular at LMNOP, Leaps & Bounds, Destination Discovery, and was a participant in our pilot session of Amina Grace 1:1 Speech and Language Program.

Journee’s journey at GiGi’s Playhouse has been filled with many moments worth celebrating, but she has recently been embracing newfound independence with her walker and AAC device, exploring the world around her with enthusiasm and determination. We’ve witnessed her personality shine through as she communicates her preferences (lots of requests for Baby Shark 🎶 and always a pitstop at the sensory room!) and it has been a true testament to her growing confidence and communication skills.

In the final Amina Grace Speech and Language meeting, Journee showed major progress on an important skill: turn-taking! Increased interaction with others was a target goal for Journee that she and Grace, our speech intern, have been working toward throughout Spring Session. During this last 1:1, Journee would take her turn with a toy, then grab Grace’s hand to move it onto the toy for her to take a turn. This is the first time we’ve seen this level of interaction and cooperative play from Journee, and it was so exciting to celebrate this moment with her and her Grandma Pam that truly exemplified the spirit of “Best of All.” What a memorable way to end our pilot session of Speech and Language!

child with down syndrome during speech language therapy

At GiGi’s Playhouse Cincinnati, partnerships are at the heart of what we do. Our collaboration with the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Communication Science and Disorders allows us to tap into resources that enrich our programs and amplify the impact we can make in the lives of individuals like Journee. A big thank you to our amazing SLP Kim Pohorence and our speech intern Grace Hall for their dedication to making moments like this a reality.

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