Surprise Achievements at GiGi’s!

We are always ready to celebrate achievement at GiGi’s Playhouse and Nataley gave us a great reason to cheer loud and proud!

Let’s set the stage for those of you who have not met our little powerhouse of a friend Nataley. Nataley is a five-year-old, determined little girl, with a little sideways look that warns you she’s about to cause a little mischief or surprise you, and a smile that will warm anyone’s heart. During a recent LMNOP (Language Music N’ Our Peeps) program she let us all in on the secret: she was able to sign the entire alphabet!


“Today my bucket was filled!!!!!! One of my little girls from GiGi’s Playhouse signed her alphabet for THE VERY FIRST TIME EVER!!!! She’s been faithfully coming to LMNOP since she was a tiny tot and today was a breakthrough!!! I am so proud of you, Nataley!!”                  ~ Mrs. Lori, LMNOP Program Host



Nataley signed her ABC’s! The great news was everywhere! Virtual applause was following; likes and loves were being clicked, comments were typed in one after another, the excitement was rippling through social media because when we have a win, our tribe always shows up!

At GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Centers we partner with parents, volunteers, and our community and assume ability!  Nataley’s mom, Maryam is a powerful advocate where all her children are concerned and has never given Nataley the “easy way out” because she has a Down syndrome diagnosis. She and her husband Bill instill an attitude of CAN DO in all of their kids, leading to achievement.

Nataley has been attending  LMNOP, since she was just a tiny baby. The consistency and repetition, along with the fun provided at LMNOP have been a link to Nataley gaining confidence to show us all she is capable of.

If you think Nataley, came to LMNOP, sat down, and patiently waited to be taught, you’d be wrong. Nataley is a real girl, sometimes, she came in ready to go and sometimes she resisted. If you asked Mrs. Lori, the program leader of LMNOP, if it bothered her when Nataley wasn’t following along, her answer would be, “Absolutely not!” Mrs. Lori is a mother and special education teacher, she is not surprised or bothered by much when it comes to young kids, especially those who take a different path to learning. She and the volunteers at GiGi’s know it can be intimidating bringing your child to a program, wondering if they’ll cooperate, but the GiGi’s community only waits with open arms. This is a safe place to learn and build the skills your kids need to be successful in their classrooms and beyond. We’d much rather have you join us than be sitting at home wondering if GiGi’s could be just the thing for you.


Little girl with Down syndrome blowing bubbles


Maryam shares “she is constantly surprising me and others: we have had several therapists and special educators tell us she is very intelligent. She understands 3 languages, Swedish, sign language, and English. she LOVES everyone and hugs anyone who will let her. She is keenly aware of other’s feelings and gives gentle touches to calm and make others feel better. She loves her dogs and going outside in ANY kind of weather to RUN. Her favorite activities are to hang on the rings in our house upside down, do spiderman moves on the rings, swing on the rope swing, run on the treadmill, ride her bike down the ramp in the house and go in the water in the summer!”  Sounds like a super fun kid, right?

“GiGi’s is a place where I never feel alone, my kids are safe and free from judgment and I have a community that has my back” – Maryam


We invite you, you, and yes YOU to learn more about GiGi’s Playhouse and how you can join our community. Families, volunteers, supporters, etc. There is a place for everyone at GiGi’s. Contact us today with any questions. 


Down syndrome acceptance


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