If you’ve watched any basketball at all, you’ve likely heard of an “alley-oop.” Simply put, an alley-oop happens when one player throws the ball to a teammate near the basket. The teammate jumps, catches the ball in the air, then immediately places the ball in the basket before landing. This play, when done correctly, is a great representation of skill and teamwork.
Alisa (a-lee-sa) Jane was born to us on October 29, 2015, rocking our world in more ways than one. We knew we loved her before she was born, but the moment she was placed in our arms, all the seemingly insurmountable fear that comes with a Down syndrome diagnosis simply melted away. Our deep, abiding love was unaffected by her diagnosis, and we were committed to doing whatever possible to help her thrive in this world. We read books, worked with experts, talked with fellow parents of children with DS, and learned creative ways to work with Alisa at home. We also purchased toys that were intentional in helping her to thrive in every area of development.
When Alisa, or Ali Jane (as we like to call her), was 1.5 years old, Kara learned about the incredible speech, gross motor, and even fine motor benefits of mirror play for developing infants and toddlers. Showing Trey a picture of a mini-ballet setup in a toddler room, Kara asked him to build something like this for Alisa. Wanting something more than a simple mirror on the wall, Trey built the first portable model of what is now the Ali-Up Mirror.
We were amazed at how quickly Alisa took to her mirror. She made different facial expressions, experimented with new sounds, and practiced pulling up and standing. We spent time together making noises and saying words in front of her mirror, allowing Alisa the opportunity to imitate and learn.
Just like the assisting player in the alley-oop throws the basketball to showcase his teammate’s talent, the Ali-Up Mirror is our way of helping our little Ali Jane to reach the highest heights of her potential. We want the world to see what an incredible person she is, and we will do all we possibly can to assist her in thriving. It is our hope that this therapeutic tool will help as many children as possible, including yours!