Portraits » Sarah and Nur

Sarah and her older brother were both born in the United States. The family moved to the greater Toronto area when she was a toddler. The family lives in a house on a quiet suburban street in a newer subdivision west of Toronto.  Sarah’s father, Nur, grew up in Pakistan and obtained a BCom degree there. Her mother also of Pakistani origin grew up in Kuwait where she completed high school and trained as a dental assistant after arriving to Canada. Nur attained a diploma in hospitality in Canada and manages a restaurant and Sarah’s mother also works in her career field. Sarah finished high school and obtained a diploma in Community Integration through Cooperative Education from a local community college over 2 years ago. At age 24, she is at home while everyone is off at work.

Nur describes Sarah as perfect. He recalls that she was diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability at age 4. She reads, writes and processes information at a grade 3 or 4 level. Otherwise, she is functioning at age 10 or 11. When given clear instructions, she assists with household chores including laundry, dishes and other cleaning tasks. She spends time watching T.V. and on the internet. Her community involvement is limited to attending a class twice a week to learn how to read the Quran. She has no friends.

Sarah is frustrated that she cannot get a job or volunteer. She wants a routine like everyone else in order to get out of the house regularly.

Sarah is physically healthy. Her disability is not visible and therefore there are no negative remarks made about it in the family.

Relatives outside of Pakistan all live in the United States and are very supportive. Nur and his wife want their daughter to half a full life like any child without a disability. They want to see her married, working and involved in the community. Nur does recognize that Sarah is totally dependent on her parents and worries about her future. Although Sarah can be left home alone without any problems, Nur is concerned that she does not know how to manage time or money and does require daily support. The parents have discussed her care with their family in the United States and their son, but they have nothing in writing. Nur states that the government claims many things on paper, but he has not gotten any real help for Sarah to achieve her goals. He also expresses trust issues with workers. Halal food, religious celebrations and traditional family values are important to Nur and he does not want Sarah partying with boys. He feels that a mainstream environment does not have an understanding of their values and traditions.

He has not thought about her care being in any other environment beyond his son and family.

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