Jennifer and Levi
I met Jennifer and Levi at the California Integrated Hyperbaric Center, A Place of Grace, in May 2009, Levi was only 10 months old and Gianna was 4 ½ years old. I felt a connection with this family immediately because it was the first time I’d seen a child with severe epilepsy similar to my daughter Gianna’s seizures.
Natalie Dragotto and Jennifer Straiton developed their company Learning Giraffe, to help pay for the many therapies needed their children Gianna and Levi. Both children have catastrophic seizure disorders and special needs.
Having dealt with years of Gianna’s severe epilepsy, I’m sure all my information was overwhelming to this new mom dealing with such a catastrophic diagnosis. She had just gotten out of a 30 day hospital stay where she had been told to sign a DNR, Do Not Resuscitate order, (which she refused) because her son had almost died from pneumonia and severe seizures. But through all the chaos, I was impressed with how proactive Jennifer was at researching the top doctors, top therapies and everything possible to heal Levi. I remember how hard it was for us to even leave the house when Gianna was 10 months old, let alone do alternative therapies. Watching Jennifer battle for her child I knew this was a mom that I would want to be friends with, because like myself, this was a mom that was not about to give up.
Eventually we both had to quit our jobs to take care of our little ones. To pay to take her son to specialists, Jennifer had just finished another (of many to come) fundraiser. But would one specialist appointment be enough? She knew the answer was no. Doctors and therapies costs $100,000's a year. Jen quickly realized she was going to have to be continuously fundraising to continue many of Levi's treatments.
It was at that point, we came up with an idea of an app business instead of fundraising. Why not start a business we could do around our children's busy medical world schedules, that would be creative and inspiring, and that we could get paid for? Silly Spin ABC began to evolve.
Without Jennifer, my idea of doing an app would still be just an idea. Through her entertainment connections, she brought in a team of phenomenally talented people, who helped us put this whole project together.
Jennifer is a great friend and mom who has encouraged me to be creative and to stay strong through working on something fun and inspiring that does not involve medical issues! I am forever grateful of her friendship.
me, and I will never give up on Gianna!" To this day, her determination is unwavering.
She inspires and gives everyone around her strength.
I met them in May 2009 when we were both doing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy with our children. Natalie was just beginning to dream up the idea for Silly Spin ABC. She was inspired because she had recently discovered that her daughter (with all her delays and issues) could actually interact with apps on her iPhone. It was a life changing moment and Natalie realized how much potential her daughter had. Everyone was amazed at how playing apps helped Gianna's eye/hand coordination and how she would wait appropriately for the app to prompt her. Her daughter was showing the world how smart she was!
At the time, there were not a lot of great apps designed for the special needs player, Natalie decided to create an app that was awesome for the typical child, but also designed for a child with a disability so that Gianna could play right alongside them. She wanted her daughter to love it, so she promised Gianna she would add in all her favorite things ... a wheel, silly actions and funny sound effects.
Natalie worked day and night, between doctor's office and therapy appointments learning Photoshop, Illustrator and development to create this innovative app full of wonderful surprises for all children. Well, many years later, Silly Spin ABC is for sale on iTunes and Android! It is quite an accomplishment. She had a dream and made it happen.
Natalie is a wonderful mother, a fantastic friend and a constant inspiration to remind us all that if your set your mind to do something you can do anything.
*This website does not offer medical advice.
*This is not medical advice.
Our name Learning Giraffe was inspired by our two children ...
the L stands for Levi and the G for Gianna.
Giraffes represents growth, reaching to new heights and adapting to survive.
Natalie and Gianna
Natalie Dragotto is the most positive person I know, especially when it comes to her daughter Gianna. Her beautiful little girl was diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder called CDG1k (Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation) shortly after birth, which causes global delays as well as severe epilepsy. This disorder comes with a very serious prognosis, but when I first met Natalie she said, "My mom would never have given up on
Their company, Learning Giraffe creates entertaining and educational apps for all kids, no matter the child's ability.
Natalie's daughter Gianna, who had never interacted with apps on a mobile device before, had miraculously started to play with them. As Gianna progressed with different apps, Natalie realized everyone had underestimated her daughter's ability. Natalie knew what she had to do … build an app for her daughter, with all her daughters favorite things … a spinning wheel, silly actions and funny sound effects. That was the day Silly Spin ABC began.
These two moms met whenever they could between their children's therapies, hospital stays and doctor visits. They researched with parents, teachers, doctors and various physical, occupational, vision and speech therapists to make sure their first app was filled with just the right amount of everything ... all for you and your child.
Silly Spin ABC was made to spark imagination, learning and laughter and we hope that you will share it with everyone you know.
We know you'll love playing it as much as we loved making it for you!
Remember, every Silly Spin ABC sale helps in the quest to heal Gianna and Levi and raise awareness for epilepsy.
Buy Silly Spin