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World Down Syndrome Day: Hadbaa’s Journey

Hadbaa at a young age stands in front of Special Olympics Singapore signs with her family.
Hadbaa stands with her family at a Special Olympics Singapore event.

What is Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome is the term for a set of cognitive and physical symptoms that can result from having an extra copy or part of a copy of chromosome 21.

Down syndrome is the most frequent chromosomal cause of mild to moderate intellectual disability, and it occurs in all ethnic and economic groups.

March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day, and there’s perhaps no better way to commemorate it than with the story of a remarkable Special Olympics Singapore athlete, Hadbaa.

Her mother was just six months into her pregnancy when she found out her daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome. After she was born, Hadbaa was hard of hearing due to narrow ear canals that has also affected her speech development. Still today, she is only able to say a few words and phrases but that has not discouraged her from trying.

Undeterred in her mission to create the best possible life for her child, Hadbaa’s mother enrolled her in the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program, an early childhood play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities. There, Hadbaa builds her physical and social skills while also developing her confidence.

And it’s not just Hadbaa who benefits from the Young Athletes Program. Her mother, too, has built her own support system network with other parents where they share advice and resources with one other. Together, both Hadbaa and her mother know they are not alone on their journey.

Hadbaa, now 7 years old, is the youngest child of three and attends school at MINDS (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore). Her mother would love to see her participate on the Special Olympics Sinagpore table tennis team when she is older with hopes of representing the country one day.

Read more about Hadbaa in the article titled “In Her Own Time”.

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