Ramadan was different when D was 11 and autistic. Ramadan was different when D was 14 and autistic. Ramadan will be different with D now 17 and autistic. The autism diagnosis and pervasive influence in our life doesn’t change. D, however, now a young man entering a different stage of life, has changed. As has his younger siblings, who are now 10 and 14. As have I – a woman in her fourth decade of life, preternaturally beyond the scope… Read more

There comes a time, probably many times, when you ask yourself – what do you want. What do you really want. And, if you’re lucky to figure that out, even for a small amount of time before things change and shift on you again, then maybe you have a chance at pruning the branches of your life so that your tree, and the branches that really matter, have the best chance at thriving. I want to be happy and at… Read more

Editor’s Note – This is a guest post by Sabeeha Rehman You are sitting in your living room when suddenly the front door bursts open and a young man barges into your home—a stranger. How would you react? Scream? Confront him? Pull out a gun? Call the cops? My son had just pulled up in his minivan in front of a house of a family they were visiting. In the car was his wife and his three children. As the… Read more

“Dr. Ali, Patrick is ready in exam room 2.” I glanced at my computer screen to look at my schedule: 11:30 a.m. Patrick Smith* follow-up visit; 11:45 a.m. John Doe* new patient evaluation. I was half way through my typical day with ten more patients to see, charting to finish on all my patients for the day, and patient phone calls and messages to answer. Patrick is a 23-year-old young man who has been my patient for the past five… Read more

First came the news of serial package bombings happening across the Austin, Texas, which had terrified the city and its surrounding suburbs for nearly three weeks in March of 2018, leaving two people dead. Then the bombing suspect, a young, white Christian male identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, killed himself with one of his own bombing devices in his SUV after he was cornered by a swat team. In his death, he literally became a suicide bomber. And yet, as… Read more

On the agenda for today are doctor’s appointments for my daughter and I, another bi-annual assessment of my son’s autism medical and support needs with my eldest son’s nursing care coordinator (because he is the deserved recipient of a Medicaid waiver), regular office work, lots of Lego playing for my youngest son, and a kid’s dinner we are hosting tonight for our kids and my nieces. Daughter A is in the kitchen, utterly relaxed, making “Instagram-worthy avocado toast and cloud… Read more

What does it mean to be “unapologetically Muslim?” Does it mean to be a loud and proud Muslim in every aspect of one’s life? Does it mean to be publicly Muslim – touting one’s Muslim-ness in every aspect of their life? Isn’t faith something to be practiced privately, between one and one’s God? And, what does it mean to teach one’s children to be unapologetically Muslim? As parents, are we pushing what our belief systems are on our children without… Read more

With less then six months to his 18th birthday, the timetable I had laid out for myself had me picking up the phone and making the call to the lawyer. Hi Patrick. It’s Mrs. Ali. Remember when we had met in November to discuss obtaining guardianship and conservatorship for D? You told me to call in March. Well, it’s March. Our lawyer asked me to gather some paperwork, which I already had, and drop it by his office during the… Read more

We call it the “bro hug.” Here’s how it works. He comes up to you, facing you, links his right arm with your right arm, elbows bent, hands reaching up to grab shoulders, squeezing hard, hard, hard –harder than a blood pressure cuff. If there is extra love and friendship to convey, his head bends towards yours, and the bro hug lingers on in tightness, intensity and meaning. Sometimes it comes in moments of happiness, sometimes amid some private laughter… Read more

Most any Muslim child who has been taught even a small bit of Islamic history has heard of Bilal ibn Rabah, a Black man who was born into slavery who became one of the most trusted and loyal sahabah (companions) of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). He was the first muezzin, chosen by the Prophet to give the call to prayer. A new movie, “Bilal: A New Breed of Hero,” tells a fictionalized version of Bilal’s story, which has Muslim audiences… Read more

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