It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to participate as a volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse Raleigh. I have provided speech, language, and literacy services for individuals with Down syndrome for over 45 years and nothing has been more rewarding or beneficial to me than GiGi’s experience. To say the least, it is a wonderful place. My being able to supervise graduate students at GiGi’s is giving those future speech-language pathologists the opportunity to work with individuals with Down syndrome. This opportunity cannot be found anywhere else in North Carolina. I have grown professionally and personally while assisting all ages of GiGi’s participants with their roles as communicators. It has been a thrill to watch them gain confidence in their social skills. I have watched shy individuals become confident, nonreaders become readers with excellent comprehension, and some individuals who struggled to be understood, speak with clarity, and complete sentences. Perhaps most of all, I have found a home where my knowledge and personal worth increases each and every day I volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse.
Dr. Tom Layton is a licensed speech therapist who has shared his talents and knowledge with our playhouse since we opened. During his program, parents are able to ask questions and learn about different resources that will benefit their child. We have offered an adult communication group, teen communication group and 1-on-1 speech therapies under his supervision. Dr. Tom has traveled overseas to share his knowledge and published a book, Little Jazz Man. We are thankful for all the ways he invest in our participants lives and our playhouse.