Arizona Boy With Down Syndrome Hugs, Inspires Bipartisanship Among Senators

Arizona Boy With Down Syndrome Hugs, Inspires Bipartisanship Among Senators

By Corinne Murdock |

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee received a welcome surprise from 10-year-old Adam Fraleigh, when the little boy with Down syndrome thanked them for hearing his family’s testimony by hugging each senator present.

Adam’s father, John Fraleigh, brought Adam to address a bill that would include Down syndrome among the developmental disabilities recognized by the Department of Economic Security (DES) for its programs, services, and facilities. The pair matched in their attire: gray vests, light purple dress shirts, and purple ties.

Fraleigh gave a brief medical explanation of what makes Down syndrome a developmental disability. He cited the many medical procedures Adam has undergone in his 10 short years, and the likely many more ahead for the rest of his life.

“Requiring paperwork to consistently prove the effects of Down syndrome is wrong. Please pass this bill to demonstrate the understanding that Down syndrome is a disability, a cognitive disability,” said Fraleigh. “My son will require additional resources forever. With that, I’m open for questions, he’s open for hugs.”

Adam rushed over after his father’s testimony to hug each committee member, pulling them close and patting everyone vigorously on the back. He brought a welcome break from a long, packed legislative season, inspiring smiles and laughter from all in the room.

State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) thanked Fraleigh for bringing Adam, noting that he brightened their day.

“Thank you; he brightens my day every day,” responded Fraleigh.

The bill passed the House unanimously last month.

Currently, the list of developmental disabilities under DES doesn’t include Down syndrome, but does include autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability diagnosis, epilepsy, or diagnosed as at-risk for developing these disabilities.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.