WAUSAU — GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau has launched GiGi’s at Home virtual programming in an effort to help people with Down syndrome during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GiGi’s at Home will offer more than 100 live and on demand educational and therapeutic-based programs at no cost for people of all ages with Down syndrome, as well as resources on COVID-19 and Down syndrome.

The need for this programming has become more urgent as some area therapy service operators that provide physical, speech and occupational therapy announced closures, according to GiGi’s Playhouse. GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau also urges others with special needs, such as autism, to use the GiGi’s at Home resources. While programs are designed specifically with Down syndrome in mind, anyone can benefit from the programming.

GiGi’s At Home LIVE gives users access to 17+ programs each week at a specific time that allows users to interact with volunteer program leaders and fellow participants. GiGi’s At Home on demand contains 90+ program recordings, lesson plans and activities. The programs support the development of fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social skills, language skills, mobility and physical fitness of participants through purposeful play in a fun setting. All of these resources can be accessed through the GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau website.

GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau also has launched GiGi’s Comedy Challenge since its April fundraiser BrewHaHa was postponed because of the pandemic.

This challenge shares videos featuring local GiGi’s families and supporters who have created humorous videos shared on Facebook and aimed at making people smile and laugh during a time of isolation. In exchange for the laughter and smiles, community members are asked to make a donation in support of GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau. Donations support the organization’s ability to open its playhouse doors later this year and provide families in north central Wisconsin access to support for their loved one with Down syndrome. Donations can be made at GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau.

GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau encourages anyone in need of resources or support during this health crisis to contact them for more information. Learn more at www.gigisplayhouse.org/wausau.