In the fourth episode of Growing Pains Season 3, we chat with Dipak Natali, Regional President and Managing Director of Special Olympics Asia Pacific, and mum-of-three, Noraini Amin. Noraini is mum to Hadbaa, who has intellectual disabilities. We want to learn more about parenting children with intellectual disabilities, parents’ challenges, and the importance of early intervention.
About our guests – Dipak Natali and Noraini Amin
Dipak Natali is the Regional President and Managing Director of Special Olympics Asia Pacific, an organisation with a clear goal to promote respect, inclusion and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities through sports. Noraini Amin is a mum of three and has benefited from the work of the Special Olympics Asia Pacific with her daughter, Hadbaa, who has Down syndrome.
Key points we covered in this episode to take a listen to…
01:50 – What’s the Special Olympics Asia Pacific all about? Dipak shares how the organisation provides opportunities for play and fun, specifically for individuals with intellectual disabilities (an IQ less than 70). Dipak also discusses the stigma and misconceptions when it comes to children with intellectual disabilities and how the Special Olympics is looking to make a difference.
05:20 – Why is early intervention so important? Dipak explains that the age from birth to seven years old is critical for a child’s development. He goes on to share how our misconceptions and stigma when it comes to intellectual disabilities can limit development and potential, and that’s why creating opportunities for all is so important.
12:20 – What can we do to make a difference? Dipak says that a mindset shift is critical. The first thing to do is be accommodating and accepting, especially as parents. He encourages parents to look for opportunities for their kids to play with all children, regardless of disabilities. He also mentions the Play Inclusive annual festival in Singapore as a great opportunity to do just this.
21:30 – Ange speaks to Noraini, mum to nine-year-old, Hadbaa, who has Down syndrome. Noraini talks about her experience finding out her daughter had Down syndrome when she was six months pregnant, and how her family reacted to the news when they found out at birth.
26:00 – Noraini shares the reaction of other parents to Hadbaa. One story, in particular, was about another parent’s reaction to Hadbaa in a lift when the parent asked their children to look away. Ange shares her disbelief and asks Noraini what parents should do to help educate their kids about intellectual disabilities.
Want to know more? Check out these resources…
If you’re feeling inspired to make a difference and educate your own kids on intellectual disabilities, take a look at our list of books which aim to promote diversity – from stories about disabilities, as well as race, LGBTQ+ and more. Also, check out the advice from this mum, whose daughter has Angelman syndrome, on how to deal with differences.
We’ve also spoken to Alia, mum to Olive, who has Down syndrome, about her journey with the diagnosis in Singapore. And we chatted with the Down Syndrome Association here in Singapore to see what more we can do as parents.
And be sure to check out our list of inclusive preschools while you’re at it!
Watch this space for Episode 5, dropping next week!