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  • Staff photo by Lance Booth


    Amy and Brendan Bakken, 1, of Nashua, pose for a portrait on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Amy recently started the Nashua Playgroup in an effort to help her children meet other children. The idea came after her son was dagnosed with development delays. The playgroup is designer where multiple familes can have play dates with their children.
  • Staff photo by Lance Booth


    Amy and Brendan Bakken, 1, of Nashua, pose for a portrait on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Amy recently started the Nashua Playgroup in an effort to help her children meet other children. The idea came after her son was dagnosed with development delays. The playgroup is designer where multiple familes can have play dates with their children.
  • Staff photo by Lance Booth


    From the left, Amy, Brendan, 1 and Dennis Bakken, of Nashua, pose for a portrait on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Amy recently started the Nashua Playgroup in an effort to help her children meet other children. The idea came after her son was dagnosed with development delays. The playgroup is designer where multiple familes can have play dates with their children.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mom looks to Meetup.com to create a Nashua playgroup

NASHUA – Amy Bekken wanted her son to be involved with other children his age. While this may not seem like a problem to many parents, it can be for those who have children with special needs, like Bekken’s 21-month-old son, Brendan.

“He is nearly 2 years old and was diagnosed with some health issues that have led to some developmental delays,” Bekken said. “His physicians suggested getting him involved in a playgroup that included other kids with special needs as well as ‘typically developing’ children.”

Bekken said she was originally involved with other “mom groups” on a website called Meetup, where mothers can set up play dates for their children, but said, “my son seemed to not have much company with kids on his level.”

“After searching and searching for a playgroup, I finally found one that, just so happens, will close down for the summer, so I thought we would start our own,” Bekken said.

She created a Greater Nashua Playgroup page on the Meetup website for mothers to join.

“Initially, I started the group with a focus more on special needs children and their families, but the group seemed to be at a standstill with just our family and one other as members,” Bekken said. “This kind of defeated the purpose, so I opened the group up to all kinds of children, but especially encouraging families with children that might have some special needs to take an interest too.”

The group has a private setting online for the safety of its members. New members who are looking to join the group will need to make their own profile complete with an uploaded photo. Local area residents looking to sign up for the playgroup will need to meet at a public place before they will be allowed to attend private play date locations, Bekken said.

She said the activities for mothers and their children range from park playdates, picnics, indoor playgrounds, in-home playdates, story times, and events that may be held within the community.

“Our members seem to be most enthusiastic about outdoor activities such as a park, or trail, as they tend to be easiest,” Bekken said. “We try to post plenty of free or low-cost things to do and vary the locations to all around the area.”

New members are welcome to post their own ideas for the group on the online calender as well, Bekken said.

Of her son, Bekken said, “He is in therapies by himself and being around other children through the playgroup has proven to be very therapeutic to him and the other children as well.

Bekken’s 4-year-old daughter, Ryann, has also enjoyed being a part of playgroups.

“I have made several close friendships this way with other mothers as well as for my oldest child,” Bekken said.

Bekken said the group has been starting to take off lately and is getting new members every day, but she is hoping for more.

“Overall, I hope that the group will provide many families in Greater Nashua a means to support and encourage each other,” Bekken said.

Kaitlin Joseph can be reached at 594-6573 or kjoseph@nashua telegraph.com.