Written by Nathan’s Mom and Start-Up Team Member, Rebecca B. 

Next month we will be celebrating my son’s first birthday. Nathan is an extraordinary little boy who loves to laugh, smile and meet new people. His recent accomplishments include eating a variety of solid foods, turning pages of his books, and rocking out on his drum.  

Nathan was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth; it was a lot to process. As a parent my instincts are to do everything within my means to provide the best possible future for my children. I didn’t want to wait and see if he would be ready for kindergarten; I knew that early intervention would be critical to his mental and physical development.  

We enrolled in the local Birth-to-Three program and started physical therapy once a month, but I wanted to be doing more for Nathan. I connected with a local group of parents who have children with Down syndrome who meet once a month for coffee, which has been a great resource for me, but I still wanted to be doing more for Nathan. 

One weekend we were planning a family trip to Madison. I was researching family-friendly activities for the kids and happened upon a link to the GiGi’s Playhouse Madison website. There it was, the “more” I’d been looking for — supplemental therapeutic based programs designed for individuals with Down syndrome, available at no cost, in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Maybe what my son needed was for us to move to a bigger city that could provide more resources, such as a GiGi’s Playhouse. 

Two days later there was a Facebook post announcing that Wausau had been approved as a new location for a GiGi’s Playhouse! I knew right away that I wanted to be involved — I had to help bring this resource to Wausau for my son, for all my new friends in the Down syndrome community, and for future parents who would welcome a baby with Down syndrome to their families.  

Since I’ve been a part of the GiGi’s Playhouse start-up committee, I’ve been impressed with the efficiency of the organization and the powerful positive message that inspires everyone who is involved. I look forward to Nathan being a participant of GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau, and I am so grateful to our Community for supporting this awesome opportunity for Central Wisconsin.  

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