DEEN Support Services » Portraits of Muslim Adults and Their Families Living in Ontario

By Rabia Khedr, MA (Critical Disabilities Studies, York University)


The diverse cultures, traditions and beliefs of Muslim families, together with their socio-economic status, academic backgrounds and the extent of their family member(s)’ intellectual disability, have a significant impact on planning for future care. Portraits developed in an exploratory research paper are shared below to demonstrate the diverse range of considerations that come into play.  The study examined the family context of adults with intellectual disabilities within the Muslim communities in Ontario through the following key questions: How do faith and culture shape the perspectives of Muslim families about their family member with an intellectual disability and planning for his/her future care? How do families feel about existing developmental services meeting their values and expectations? What community, family and government response is required to accommodate the residential and respite needs of Muslims with intellectual disabilities? There is very little research documenting the needs of Muslim families in the developmental services system. In fact, their stories are virtually untold. This article simply aims to tell their stories to help the reader understand their values and expectations.


The six portraits below are intended to simply share the narrative as told by the parents. These narratives are expected to support the reader in developing an understanding of the needs of Muslim families.

These portraits are expected to help the reader appreciate the diversity of Muslim families and their dreams and fears. The stories generally highlight limited community involvement, lack of formal planning, fear of mainstream residential services, importance of faith and expectations of continuous familial involvement.


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