Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Emily Buchman

Second Advisor

Dr. Carolyn Podolski


Gigi’s Playhouse (Gigi’s) is an achievement center for individuals with Down Syndrome (DS), from birth to adulthood, and their families. Gigi’s provides resources, advocacy support, programming, and tutoring free of cost to families. Gigi’s Playhouse plays a significant role in supporting individuals and their families and encouraging connections between families and within the community.

It is well agreed upon across research that Down Syndrome manifests as complications of the neurological, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular systems, typically presenting as muscle hypotonia, intellectual disabilities, congenital heart defects, and short stature (Antonarakis et al., 2020; Mazurek & Wyka, 2015; Pikora et al., 2014; Stefanowicz-Bielska et al., 2022). Individuals with DS are also at a greater risk of developing other health conditions such as autoimmune diseases, sleep apnea, anxiety disorders, and recurrent infections (Antonarakis et al., 2020; Bosch, 2003; Covelli et al., 2018; Mazurek & Wyka, 2015; Pikora et al., 2014; Stefanowicz-Bielska et al., 2022). Gigi’s Playhouse understands the needs of individuals with Down Syndrome and has developed programs to increase independence and participation to support overall quality of life across the lifespan. After completing a needs assessment at Gigi’s Playhouse, it was discovered there was a gap in important health and wellness topics for young adult members, impacting their independence, participation and therefore, quality of life. This project aimed to address that need and further support the mission of Gigi’s Playhouse by bridging the gap to provide an evidence-based health and wellness program for the young adults at Gigi’s Playhouse.

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