As told by Paislee’s mom, Ashley
Paislee, our 18-month daughter, started attending GiGi’s Playhouse in 2017 when she was just three months old. At the time of Paislee’s birth in May, they weren’t sure what made her extra special, so she was flown to Springfield where she had genetic testing done. Much to our surprise she was diagnosed with Trisomy 21 at 7 days old.
While attending a balloon festival in Lincoln, we saw a flier for GiGi’s Pop-Up Playhouse and Mobile Programming. Pop up’s offer programming to families and communities in less densely populated areas. This allowed our family to access free, purposeful programs outside of a brick & mortar Playhouse. GiGi’s Playhouse Central Illinois was then formed, and there are pop-ups every month in different cities nearby.
From these events, we have met families from the area whose children also have Down syndrome. Having a network of individuals in the same situation as you is beneficial because you can share experiences and learn a lot. (And Paislee LOVES the volunteers so she always gets excited.)
Paislee is an extremely social little girl! She loves seeing all of her “friends” and participating in the fun activities the team puts on. Paislee especially loves LMNOP. The fun atmosphere of songs paired with learning activities keep her engaged. Since children with Down syndrome tend to be visual learners, the movement and auditory input GiGi’s offers while learning is extremely beneficial to our sweet kids.
We look forward to these programs every month and are so lucky to have the Central Illinois team!