The Truth of Perceptions and Outcomes

My mother-in-law and I sat around the kitchen table this morning – me with my laptop open doing some office work, her flipping through a catalogue. Our conversation meandered all over the place until I asked her:When did you and Abba (my father-in-law) really make that decision to settle here in the U.S. with us and make this your primary home base instead of your home in India?As we tripped down memory lane together, she wove a story for me about how, though from the time we got married … [Read more...]

It’s Not “Just Autism”

Ali Family Autism Truths #20 - April 20, 2016I pretty much don’t have to even write today’s Ali Family Autism Truths #20 (dude! Made it two-thirds of the way through!) – because my friend Nakia pretty much said it all today: I forgot yesterday's autism fact because Zak went to bed on time in his own bed, so I was a little spooked. But here you go: most aspects of ‪#‎autism that neurotypical people focus on are the social aspects -- the differing communication and play styles, or the way that … [Read more...]

Like Muslims, the Autism Community is Not a Monolith

Ali Family Autism Truths #19 - April 19, 2016The morning started with a visit to yet another specialist today for D. The medical mysteries and questions keep a coming. Last year (2015) ended with a week-long hospital stay for D and some medical issues for which definitive answers still elude us. And this year is a continuation of the medical conundrums.There’s a contingency of the autism community for whom the mantra is: Autism is Medical. As in, if you dig deep and try and understand t … [Read more...]

On Block Formations and Autism Negativity

Ali Family Autism Truths #18 - April 18, 2016More than twelve years ago, a series of evaluations and research had led us to a life changing moment: We sat in an office at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, waiting for the head of the Behavior Developmental Pediatrics department to talk to us. She had done a series of evaluations on D and had consulted with his pediatrician and us.Soon, she ushered my husband, D and myself into her office. My mother-in-law sat with baby A, then barely … [Read more...]

D’s Declaration of Faith

Ali Family Autism Truths #17 - April 17, 2016I harbor secret fantasies of chartering a private plane and taking D for Umrah – the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah done during non-Hajj times.My friend, Joohi Tahir, executive director of MUHSEN (Muslims Understanding and Helping Special Education Needs), wrote a post for me about two years ago about how she and her family performed the Umrah with their autistic daughter Mehreen. The story is simply beautiful:Every step of this journey b … [Read more...]

I Has High Expectations

I woke this morning and soon after read a blog post written by a friend, whom I have never met in person, but I consider her a friend. In a conversation she had with her autistic, nonverbal (but definitely not non communicative daughter) daughter via spelling on a letter board, her daughter said to her,“I HAS HIGH EXPECTATIONS.”The conversation came following a difficult situation they had come through, and her daughter was expressing her frustration with herself because, well,“I HAS … [Read more...]

In Autism Land, Who Tells D’s Story?

Ali Family Autism Truths #15 - April 15, 2016One of the dangers in chronicling D’s and our family’s autism journey is taking a story that is supposed to be about him and turning it into a story about us. Or me. I know that has happened one too many times over the years. Some of it is inevitable, given that instead of D writing or sharing his stories due to the profoundness of his autism, I’ve taken on that job.And really, this is the question I’ve been pondering for a long time. Do I have … [Read more...]


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