(June 10, 2013) – Thousands of Ontarians with intellectual disabilities need supportive residential care, a round table forum hosted at Queen’s Park by the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, was told today.
“About 12,000 people with intellectual disabilities are waiting for safe and supportive residential options in Ontario and we want to do something to change that,” Rabia Khedr, Executive Director of Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities (CAM-D), told the select gathering.
Khedr presented the findings of a paper, ‘Portraits of Muslim Adults with Intellectual Disabilities and Their Families in Ontario,’ which she produced as part of her recently completed Master of Arts in Critical Disability Studies.
The research findings were presented to over 45 academics, advocates, family members, individuals with disabilities, Imams and service providers. Participants came from as far as Kitchener and Ottawa.
CAM-D is a non-profit association of Muslims with disabilities whose vision is to create a global village that includes full access for persons with disabilities.
“We welcome CAM-D’s leadership on the issue and look forward to new opportunities to strengthen the services we provide to diverse faith communities,” said Jim Triantafilou, Executive Director of Brampton-Caledon Community Living.
CAM-D’s questionnaire results indicate that Muslim families are concerned about how their family members will be cared for after they are gone.
“We want a respite and residential service rooted in Islamic values so that we minimize our worries about our daughter’s care and we are ready to make that investment,” said Pervez Nasim, President of Ansar Cooperative Housing Corporation, and parent of a child with disabilities.
“The synergy in the room today is exciting and I am looking forward to working with CAM-D to build momentum with new ideas,” said Professor Ron Pruessen, parent and Board Member of Opportunities Mississauga for 21 Plus.
According to CAM-D, the goal of the round table was to inspire collaboration and to pursue creative and innovative opportunities to address this critical need.
“We are on board to mobilize funds from our generous community to meet our obligation as Muslims to ensure that individuals with intellectual disabilities have appropriate housing,” said Abdalla Idris Ali, Secretary General of ISNA Canada.
CAM-D is hoping to use the input from today’s forum to develop a collaborative road map to implement an appropriate residential model and create tools to support service providers in the delivery of culturally and spiritually responsive residential services.
“I had a great two-hour discussion with the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities, which resulted in many creative ideas for problems faced by this particular community,” commented the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
“We value His Honour’s hospitality and support to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in Ontario and around the world,” said CAM-D’s Vice-President, Soraya Mohamed, who is a care-giver of a aging aunt with an intellectual disability.