GiGi’s Playhouse hosts programs for puberty education Jan. 26

Online Staff Report

MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. — GiGi’s Playhouse, 8801 N. Second St., Suite 2, Machesney Park, Ill., has announced that Terri Couwenhoven will be presenting a series of programs called “Puberty and Beyond” to educate pre-adolescents, teens and adults with cognitive disabilities and their parents about the subject of puberty.

Couwenhoven is a certified sex educator who specializes in designing and implementing sexuality programs and materials for people with intellectual disabilities. She has also written several books about the subject, including Teaching Children with Down Syndrome about their Bodies, Boundaries and Sexuality: A Guide for Parents and Professionals.

The series will take place all day Saturday, Jan. 26, and will feature different workshops for specific age groups. A parents-only workshop will be held in the morning, followed by two separate workshops for boys and girls ages 10-15. A final workshop will be held for teens and adults (ages 16 and older) to understand appropriate boundaries with people in their lives.

These workshops are designed to help both parents and children deal with the changes that will occur during puberty. Puberty can be a difficult time for many preteens, but through proper education and discussion, many of these issues can be addressed. Couwenhoven’s talks intend to create an environment that is comfortable, safe and fun for all involved.

To reserve a spot at one of the workshops, call GiGi’s Playhouse at (815) 654-7529 or e-mail There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is required. Space is limited, so reservations will be accepted as first come, first serve.

GiGi’s Playhouses are Down syndrome educational and awareness centers that provide resources, specialized teaching and support to individuals with Down syndrome and their families. GiGi’s Playhouse Rockford programs are free to families and therapeutic in nature. They are designed to work on specific skill development in several areas including speech and language, social development, and fine and gross motor skills. The literacy program alone teaches dozens of kids with Down syndrome in the region to read.

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Posted Jan. 23, 2013

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