Friday, May 2, 2014

Goals: Equal Education for Children With Disabilities

When I came across this photo on Instagram recently I felt so happy for these children. It amazes me to see Muslim children and how the interact and practice Islam because as a revert I never got to experience that. Honestly I do look at them in envy sometimes, not just because childhood was so much more fun and simpler than being an adult but because they seem to find so much joy during Ramadan and Eid that I never got to experience.

Children with disabilities are often left out of trips and activities, and in some countries/areas they are left out of schools altogether because their education is deemed unimportant. The truth is that they are an important part of are societies and it is our duty to care for them and treat them with the equality and respect that we would expect for ourselves. We know we are supposed to want for others what we want for ourselves, that especially goes for persons who have disabilities. It will be us who will have to answer for how they were cared for and how they have been treated. 

The children with disabilities in the photo below got to go on a school trip to the Kabah, that is definitely the best school trip ever for any child. Inshallah they will find strength in Islam to help them get through any harsh ways they may be treated in their lives. But it is up to us, as Muslims and as a caring society, to ensure that they are properly cared for and to raise awareness of all the disabilities that may acquire in their lives so that these people and children are not seen only for their disabilities. During research for one of my classes I cam across an article that said something to the effect of  "Anyone can become disabled at any moment on any day", and that's the truth. Any of us could suffer an injury or illness that would leave us disabled at any point of our lives. When you look at men, women, or children with disabilities put yourself in their place and know that it could be you affected by disabilities just the same as they are. 

This photo also reminded me of one of the concepts I have been learning about in my childhood education classes, People First Language. People First Language is when you change the language you use to describe people or children that have disabilities. Many of us do not realize the language we use to describe persons who are disabled, we often say "autistic child", "blind person", or something similar. The problem with this is that we are describing what they have or their physical disability instead of describing them as a person first and then putting their disability second as it should be. It is important for us as a collective society to see these disabilities as only a secondary characteristic and to describe the person that has them as a man, woman, or child first. This brings them an equality because you are viewing them and describing them as a person first, the same as you would describe yourself.

I am in no way an expert on People First Language yet, if you are interested in reading more about it here is a site that I have used often while researching the topic for my classes. There is also a .pdf file on the site that can be printed out to help raise awareness among others on how to better address children and persons with disabilities in appropriate ways.

I used this photo with permission from Disabled Muslims Network, you can find them on instagram @disabledmuslimsnetwork and facebook as well as A big thank you to them for giving me permission to use their photo.

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