When Peter, my brother-in-law, was born with Down syndrome in 1965, there was no GiGi’s Playhouse. He learned colors, numbers, and alphabet – but never learned to read. As Peter was growing up it was believed that those with Down syndrome could not learn much more.
When Peter moved to New York City at the age of 47, we met GiGi’s Playhouse NYC. Peter was welcomed with open arms by the wonderful families, staff, and board. He entered a world of non-judgment. For the past several years, Peter has been painting and dancing at the Playhouse, and he attends the Literacy Pod.
This weekend Peter read his first word – on his own.
When traveling up the Taconic we always pass a diner with the word DINER on the roof, and Peter says ‘Restaurant’, hoping we will stop for his favorite burger and fries. This past Saturday as we drove by, I asked Peter, “What was that?”, and he said, “Diner. D-I-N-E-R”.
He beamed as we congratulated him.
GiGi’s Playhouse NYC, part of a 30+ playhouse network, believes in achievement for those with Down syndrome. At the age of 51, Peter is learning to read. Because of the Playhouse, he has become more articulate with his thought and communication. He loves those and their families who attend the Playhouse. We are so grateful for GiGi’s Playhouse, where potential and learning are limitless.
GiGi’s Playhouse NYC