The Child Development Center at Rumailah Hospital (RH), part of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), is playing a significant role in the care and development of children with Down Syndrome through its early intervention rehabilitation programme.

A number of specialists at the Center advise families on the importance of early intervention and rehabilitation in helping children with the condition to thrive. It is this early intervention that has allowed five-year-old Haya Rashid Al Noaimi to enjoy her childhood and start school.

Khloud Al Ajmy, Haya’s mother, said:

I came to know that my daughter had Down syndrome immediately after her birth. I took leave from my job and started the rehabilitation journey with Haya to try and help her lead a normal life with her peers. When she was four, Haya was referred to the Child Development Center to increase the level of her rehabilitation and development. I started follow-up visits to the Center three times a week. She received an integrated therapy programme (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and special education), provided by experts who offered her specialist care. At the same time, I was also researching and reading books to help us learn more together.’

After a series of challenges associated with getting Haya admitted to a school, she is currently enrolled in preparatory classes at one of the Higher Education’s Independent Schools, enjoying the admiration and love of her classmates and teachers. It is important that officials focus on the well-being of children with Down syndrome to help them overcome their disability by securing highly qualified and well-trained staff who are both professional and caring.

Marwan Abo Dawwas, a Special Education Specialist with the early intervention programme at the Child Development Center says Haya’s progress highlights the importance of early intervention:

She feels and is aware of her surroundings just like other children. She joins her peers in playing and behaves normally with her family members. With early intervention and continuous rehabilitation, her condition saw a speedy improvement. Haya’s family should also be applauded for their cooperation and support with all the recommended rehabilitation activities. This has helped Haya enormously. Today, Haya is preparing to start school. She is enjoying her meals, dressing herself, playing with her siblings and painting. The specialist care she has received has allowed her to start school.’

By sharing her family’s story, Al Ajmy hopes to inspire other parents: ‘I don’t feel sad to know that my child has Down Syndrome and I thank God that Haya is not suffering any other health conditions. She is a happy girl, enjoying her life and I would like to thank HMC and the team at the Child Development Center for their care of Haya.’