The Very Able Disabled Child
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I had always planned to attend law school. However, I also planned to be a stay-at-home mom. I volunteered for nine years in my childrens schools. Sometimes this required bringing a younger sibling to school in a stroller. I loved working with my children as well as other children in school and the community.
One day while walking the halls, an Administrative Assistant calls me into her office. She said, “Hey you do know one of the Administrators is looking for you, right?” I then left the office only for two others to tell me the same. I stopped what I was doing to go see the Administrator who said, “Tahani, we are looking for a Substitute as well as a Teachers Aide. You have been here for years and everyone loves you and your work. I was wondering if you would like to fill the position?” I told her that I would need to speak with my husband and children and that I didn’t think I would be able to because of the hours. I would have to be there an hour earlier than when I put my last child on the bus and wouldn’t be able to leave until an hour after I needed to get my two little ones off the bus. Brothers and Sisters, this woman then looked at me and explained that I didn’t need to apply because she was doing the hiring and would hire me on the spot, I could come in at nine instead of eight and could leave thirty minutes before everyone to accommodate the needs of my family. Can you say MA SHAA ALLAH!
I then went back to school and was able to keep working with the help of my husband and older children. It was suggested that I move to the high school because there was a need to fill a position there. From day one I was working with special needs students. I learned every aspect of Special Education and even some medical needs for the children.
I tell you this story because once I learned most of what I now know, I found out that my little one had Cerebral Palsy (A disorder usually caused by brain damage occurring at or before birth and marked by muscular impairment. Often accompanied by poor coordination, it sometimes involves speech and learning difficulties.) I truly believe that Allah (SWT) put me in the position so that I would better know how to help my own child and prepare me for the road ahead. Allahs (SWT) plan is the only plan for me!!!
In my first trimester I wasn’t aware that I was pregnant and did a lot of lifting while bathing and transporting my grandmother during her struggle against cancer. Both of these factors could have contributed to my sons’ condition. While the possibility of neither being the cause. The point is as Muslims we are careful and particular about our health and should be more so as pregnant Muslimahs. In Islam the body is a gift from God and needs to be looked after and not abused. Thus keeping the body healthy is a part of our way of living.
Children without disabilities learn new things in different ways and at a different speed than each other. Teaching children with special needs is not much different. Always encourage your child to learn just the way you would if he didn’t have a disability.
During the high centuries of Islamic civilization a significant number of blind, deaf or physically disabled people played the roles of philologists, transmitters of the law, teachers, poets, and social commentators, outstanding among whom were: Abu’l Ala al-Ma’arri, Abu Uthman Amr bin Bahr (Al-Jahiz), Bashshar ibn Burd, Ibn-Sirin, Qatada ibn Di’ama al-Sadusi, Muwaffaq al-Din Muzaffar, and Thalab. Atta Ibn Abi Rabah was lame and partially paralyzed. He was known as the greatest Mufti in Mecca. My son is six and has learned to read and add just as my other children. He has the ability to remember stories from the Quran just as most children remember fairytales. While he doesn’t write legibly, (inshaAllah) his writing will improve because he continues to try. I have given him a keyboard to practice spelling and for the use of answering questions at a faster pace (this allows for him to keep up with the flow of his class.) Here in the U.S. the keyboard is an option of devices given to students that have trouble with hand use.
Always look for ways to help the individual needs of your child. Speak with other parents, educators or even other children and adults with a disability. It’s just as easy as asking where the local Masjid is, where good schools and communities are or where we can find a good sale.
It is also a great thing that Almighty Allah, when depriving a person of a certain ability, sometimes compensates him for it, by bestowing upon him/her a gift, in which he exceeds others. This could be why we see that those people who are deprived of sight, have very sensitive ears allowing them to hear even the slightest of sounds. They are given excellence in other abilities.
You should never be ashamed of your childs disability. Treat your child just as you would any other (compensating for the needs of the child). Islam opposes prejudice against and exclusion of any group of people. The Qur’an addresses all of humanity in this way:
“O mankind, We created you from a single [pair] of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other [not that you may despise each other]. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is [he who is] the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted [with all things]” Qur’an Surah (49:13).
Remember to always remain patient with your child and never lose faith.
O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salat [the prayer] “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirun [the patient]” Qur’an Surah (2:155)
Or think you that you will inter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that they even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When [will come] the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near! (2:214)
I constantly tease my teenagers asking, “Are you sure it’s your little brother with the disability and not you?” They tease back saying, “Sometimes mom we’re not so sure it isn’t you.” I found that the “normal” child often needs more assistance than the very able disabled child.
Prayer and smiling always works for me, try it!
Feel free in contacting me or one of the following resources:
http://www.cerebralpalsy.org www.ucp.org www.archway.org.uk
“Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raje oon .Allahummajalni farajawn wa makhrajan war zuqni khaira min haiso ahtasibo wa min haiso la ahtasib, be haqqe Mohammadin wa ale mohammad”
..Let my affairs be free from care & make them profitable & give me means of livelihood from my share & from where I have no expectation…