Welcome to Day 11 of #321DaysofAcceptance brought to you by #generationG, Today we are so excited to introduce you to Abbey from GiGi’s Playhouse Madison! Please help us spread the message of acceptance and Generation G by sharing this post with your social media friends and family!
Today we welcome Abbey & her mom Danielle to the blog! Enjoy.
Abbey’s Up Not Down
Did anyone else have the experience I had of being met with many negatives about Down syndrome when your child was diagnosed?
I learned Abbey had Down syndrome when she was three hours old. I made a decision at that time that I would not let other people’s preconceived notions and negativity cause me to set limits for her. She and I have chosen not to let Down syndrome define us but to let it inspire us – and hopefully inspire others to redefine what is possible too!
Abbey is a middle schooler and as such she, like her peers, LOVES social media! Through it she was discovered by Justice, the national clothing brand and retail store for tweens. They liked what they saw in reviewing her profile that documents her life as a person with Down syndrome who is also trying to be a regular kid – but who is also working toward her future! Justice felt Abbey embodies the core values of Justice’s Girls With Heart Brand Ambassador program. Those values are to live active, live connected, live creatively, live positively, live smart, and to live together. Abbey’s spunk, joy for life, motivation to try her best to be fit, connection to her community and desire to help others come alive through her Instagram profile! Abbey says the best parts of being a Girl With Heart are “doing special things” like making videos for the Justice You Tube channel and doing promotions in the store!
Abbey says, “I like to try new things and have fun. I like meeting new people so this makes me feel amazing! Its very exciting.”
Abbey became a part of the GiGi’s Playhouse world when one opened in Madison last year! We are working with a great team at GiGi’s Playhouse Madison to ensure the success of this new location. We encourage people to try the programs. Our mission is to show than an inclusive life in the community doing things a person without disabilities can do is very necessary, as is having a base of support of a Down syndrome community geared toward helping young people and adults build their courage and strengthen their voice.
Abbey says, “I like helping others. I feel happy around people. I like that I can get help from GiGi’s Playhouse. I like the parties and the small groups. I also get to help peers, younger people, and others. Some people need help. Some people can give help. Its good that GiGi’s Playhouse is there to help people. I love being there!”
We are trying to lead by example to show other parents of kids with Down syndrome and the youth themselves that this disability should not be a limiting one, but one that can inspire you to do great things, be creative in how it’s done, and get out there to find those people that want to do be on your team!
As a parent, I am extremely thankful to Justice for finding Abbey and deciding to offer her a Brand Ambassador role. That means they did not withdraw from offering her the opportunity when they saw she has Down syndrome. She is getting to show an audience that being 13 and being 13 with Down syndrome do not have to be two vastly different worlds.
Abbey has inspired me to try new things. Her experiences have led me to think I may be doing something right and to be a resource to other families. I have come out of my comfort zone to form a group for youth with Down syndrome, to harness my excitement for programs at GiGi’s Playhouse to get others involved in visiting, volunteering, or being a patron of the Playhouse. And she has inspired me to pursue a degree in occupational therapy so I can help others achieve meaningful lives through engagement with those they want to be with, doing what they want to do, where they want to do it!
Let Down syndrome and your child inspire you to do great things. By doing so you’re inspiring the community and redefining what is possible. Dream the dreams. Make it happen.
Let’s keep the conversation going! I invite you to connect with us online.
Danielle Kaiser – IG: @daniellekaiser17
Abbey – IG @abbeysupnotdown
Site Coordinator, Jaime, at GiGi’s Playhouse Madison tells us that Abbey loves to stay active and is training for the Madison Half Marathon & 5K Ambassador! Amazing! Abbey we are so glad that you and your mom are a part of the GiGi’s family! Way to give your #bestofall!