GiGi’s Playhouse is the only nationwide network of Down syndrome achievement centers for children and adults with Down syndrome, offering free educational and therapeutic programs that unleash confidence and promote continuous improvement. Through these programs, campaigns and community engagements, GiGi’s aims to change the world’s outdated perception of individuals with Down syndrome in a movement toward global acceptance for people of all abilities.
Down syndrome is one of the most common genetic conditions in the world. With more than 400,000 people in the U.S. living with Down syndrome and approximately 6,000 more born each year, improving the lives of people with Down syndrome as well as those it influences is critical. Individuals with Down syndrome “have” Down syndrome every day of their lives. They don’t get any breaks or days off. Low muscle tone challenges simple tasks like breathing, swallowing, walking, running and even smiling, creating risks including obesity, weakened immune systems and more. Cognitive and developmental differences challenge speech and writing every single day, creating risks including illiteracy, personal safety and exclusion from educational and employment opportunities. Their apparent differences can challenge fundamental acceptance and emotional wellness every day.
Founded by GiGi’s Mom, Nancy Gianni, in 2003, GiGi’s began as a mother’s vision to change perception. Since then, it has evolved into a global movement of acceptance and achievement. After receiving GiGi’s diagnosis, Nancy wondered why there wasn’t a place for her family–Down syndrome is one of the most common chromosomal disabilities, yet it is one of the least funded. And so began a journey to create a dedicated place where families could gather, celebrate, learn and support one another with positive energy, sincere belief and resources to grow. To learn more, visit www.gigisplayhouse.org, or follow GiGi’s Playhouse on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
GiGi’s Playhouse now has more than 30 community Playhouses across the country including the first global Playhouse location in Mexico. Last year, over 25,000 individuals with Down syndrome benefited from their programs and support, and, in 2015 alone, GiGi’s received more than 140 global inquiries from families looking to bring a Playhouse to their communities. Countless families have turned to GiGi’s for support in a time of uncertainty and fear. One Playhouse parent recently recounted, “GiGi’s Playhouse turned me into the Mom I needed to be.”