By: A. Brooke Blanks and J. David Smith
Religious beliefs permeate many aspects of culture. Often, however, educators are reluctant to discuss religious beliefs when working with children with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families. Ignoring the salience of religious teachings about the nature and meaning of disabilities as they relate to both individuals and society, however, limits the opportunity to fully understand the experience of living with disability. Discussion of religious beliefs, traditions, and practices should be incorporated into teacher education, and should be part of the zeitgeist of working with children and families. This article examines images of and teachings about disabilities in three major world religions widely practiced in the United States; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.