Amina Grace Speech and Language Program: The Clinicians’ Perspective IV

From left to right: Tiffany, Jena, Aric, Alexa, Saima, Kim

The GiGi’s Playhouse Amina Grace Speech and Language program provides children, youth, and adults with greatly expanded opportunities to evolve and refine their clarity of speech, word order, enunciation, and message meaning. These skills are paramount to fostering greater self-confidence, comprehension, problem-solving, school readiness, social skills, independence, and overall quality of life.

The benefits of this program are immeasurable, not only for individuals with Down syndrome and their families, but for the emerging speech-language pathologists as well. Another fabulous team of graduate student clinicians from Wayne State University have just completed their final week of the summer session.

Here is what they had to say about their experience:

“My experience working with the participants was incredibly rewarding, and I am proud of the progress they made towards their goals. The participants left a huge impact on me, and their influence will stay with me throughout my career. They’ve contributed to my growth and compassion as a student clinician in countless ways. My experience at GiGi’s has been nothing but positive, and I am forever grateful for the time I got to spend there. I will miss the participants, their families, the staff, and overall community dearly.”

– Jena Wielgosz

Jena and Sullivan

“Volunteering at GiGi’s has been such a wonderful and memorable experience. While I was happy to be given the opportunity to make a difference in these clients’ lives, they have also made a huge impact on mine, and we have grown together throughout the semester! I enjoyed working with and getting to know the clients, as well as their families. The Playhouse was such a supportive atmosphere for anyone who walked in the doors, and I hope all future clinicians come to enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you, GiGi’s, for all that you do!”

– Saima Zaman

Saima and Grant

“I really enjoyed working at GiGi’s this summer. The families and participants were so enjoyable to work with. Watching the participants make progress and reach their goals was so rewarding. I will miss all the fun I had with everyone. I am so thankful for this opportunity.”

– Tiffany Sommers

Tiffany and Naya

“Before volunteering with the Amina Grace Speech and Language Program through GiGi’s Playhouse, I had no clue a place like GiGi’s existed, let alone that it had multiple locations across North America and Mexico! The GiGi’s team was so welcoming and emanated compassion. For those who don’t know, GiGi’s provides free, inclusive, and accessible support and education to individuals with Down syndrome. The programs run through GiGi’s Playhouse are volunteer-led; this means they match up individuals who would like support with people who are willing to provide that support. I’ve experienced the gratitude families feel toward the GiGi’s team firsthand. I’m so grateful to have been part of such a wonderful organization with even more wonderful participants. I will never forget my time at GiGi’s and the individuals I worked with. My clients constantly made me laugh out loud, and their smiles were contagious. I’ve never felt as loved as when I received hugs and high fives from my clients and saw them running toward me before our sessions. Looking back, I cherish the memories I’ve made with my clients and team members, and GiGi’s Playhouse will always hold a special place in my heart. I hope to come back and visit soon. P.S: check out the story of how GiGi’s Playhouse and the Amina Grace Speech and Language Program were created; the stories will warm your heart.”

– Alexa Vennettilli

Alexa and Cameron

We are sending so much gratitude to the Wayne State University Speech Department, specifically Jena, Saima, Tiffany, and Alexa, as well as their fabulous clinical supervisor, Kimberly Lyon, M.A., CCC-SLP. We appreciate the time, energy, creativity, thoughtfulness and encouragement you brought to our Playhouse this summer. It was truly amazing to witness your sessions and see the results. We wish you all the best in your careers and beyond!

We also want to thank the wonderful Detroit Auto Dealers Association Charitable Foundation of SE Michigan for the grant they awarded us to fund this life-changing program!

To learn more about the Amina Grace Speech and Language program, visit this link.

Registration for the fall session is currently OPEN until Sunday, August 23rd. Slots are limited and fill up fast!

Apply HERE.

If you have any questions, please email Kathleen Tynes.

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