Playhouse Participant Becomes Published Author
Once upon a time, a little boy was born. A diagnosis given. Future abilities assumed. Some people wondered if he would ever be able to speak, let alone read or write. But write he does, and Maison does it so well that he is now a published author! Individuals with Down syndrome are more than capable of achieving any of their dreams but must work much harder and more consistently than most others. The path can be made easier thanks to parents and professionals who come around these individuals to help them achieve their “Best of All”. But while parents, organizations and advocates are invaluable to their future success, we’re just giving them the tools, it’s these inspirational individuals who build their own accomplishments and triumphs.
GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix is so proud of one of our very own participants, who with the help of his family, has accomplished a feat most people (with Down syndrome or not) only ever dream of… publishing his own book! Maison participates in music and literacy programs at the Playhouse and is just like most young people, he likes school, basketball and recently, girls. He had a lot of feelings about dating and what it takes to be a good partner, but his family had trouble finding resources to help him navigate this new terrain. And this is how his new book I Want a Girlfriend came into being.
Since Maison has worked so hard finding his own voice, we could think of no better way to share his story than through a very touching interview with he and his mom. You can find links to follow his story, purchase the book and support the Playhouse at the end of the interview.
Q: Have you always wanted to be an author?
Maison: Yes, I love books!
Mom: No, this book wasn’t intended to sell. It all started when one night Maison asked me if girls like boys with Down syndrome. It broke my heart, but started the conversations between him, his grandma, and me. For months we talked about what it means to have a girlfriend and what girls like in boys. Grandma noted the conversations to help Maison navigate through these feelings. They surprised me and turned it into a sweet and simple book to give me for my birthday. I posted it online and everyone wanted a copy. We kind of laughed it off until one mom called crying because it touched her heart so much. We then looked into self-publishing it, and here we are.
Q: Was it hard to write a book?
Maison: Yes, it was hard spelling the words.
Mom: Once they realized it was turning into a book he might sell, they tried redoing aspects of it, but it just didn’t seem right. They went back to the original simple handwritten version they made for me, and that organic simplicity is actually what everyone likes about it.
Q: How has participating at GiGi’s helped you grow your skills to be able to do this?
Maison: It helps me to read better.
Mom: He loves being involved in Gigi’s and we feel so blessed to be part of this community.
Q: Do you have advice for other people who want to write a book?
Mom: Find a need and fill it. When we researched to see if anyone else had something out there for him to read and help him sort through these feelings we didn’t find anything, so that is why we continued the dialogue with him. Now everyone has Maison’s book to help so they don’t feel alone with these feelings.
Q: Can you tell me about the interviews you did to get the great answers in the book?
Maison: I asked girls, grandma and mom.
Mom: It was mostly asking me, grandma, and a friend what we like in a boy and how we like to be treated. It’s so important in todays hectic world to get back to the basics and teach kids to respect each other.
Q: When you are ready for a girlfriend, what do you hope she’ll be like?
Maison: Kind, cares for stuff, likes to eat, pretty
Mom: He is a typical teen boy with movie stars and princesses on his wall, but I’m very proud that ‘being kind’ and ‘cares for stuff’ was first on the list.
Q: How long have you been playing basketball?
Maison: I was a little boy
Mom: He has had a basketball in his hand everywhere he went since he was 2. But playing on a league since he was 8. Basketball is his passion, we will always support it the best we can. He actually trains with a former NBA player to keep his skills up
Q: What’s your favorite things about playing basketball?
Maison: Having a team, making baskets
Mom: Being on a “typical” league has really pushed him outside his comfort zone and also has helped him get in shape. This year is the first year where the kids his age are passing him in skill level and too aggressive for him. But his shot….it’s just fantastic!
Q: Besides writing books, what else do you like to do with your grandma?
Maison: Read, Eat Eat Eat, play, go on vacations
Mom: They have their dates of mini golf, plays, going out to eat, talking, reading, and she also tutors him in math.
Q: Do you think you will write more books in the future?
Maison: Yes, about girls
Mom: We have been approached by others wanting the “I Want a Boyfriend” version….it might be in the works.
Q: What else do you want people to know about you?
Maison: I’m a kind boy, I want a girlfriend!
Mom: Maison is such an amazing and caring kid, I’m so blessed to have been chosen to be his mom. He has some exciting projects in the works with his younger siblings that you will want to be part of, please check out his FB page and follow him to see what’s next. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100086386512289
Blog by Laura Kimble