What We Do for Each Other

This is Day 12 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 12, 2017.Dear D,Whenever time comes for us to take a family vacation or trip somewhere, I always somewhat dread it (even if it’s a trip to the beach, which is our gold standard, tried-and-true go-to family vacation/retreat spot), though I feel guilty about that, like I should be more thankful and positive.Do you?What do you think when you see me doing the prep cooking, packing your meds, putting bags in the kitchen area for yo … [Read more...]

Dear World, Here’s What I Want You to Know from Someone Who’s Actually Autistic

This is Day 11 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 11, 2017. Today’s guest post comes from the autistic son of a friend of mine, who is nonverbal but definitely not non-communicative. Charlie is an 11-year-old autistic boy who loves reading, swimming, going to the beach, skiing and jumping on the trampoline. He is homeschooled and loves learning. He communicates using a letter board and keyboard. Read more about and from Charlie here.Dear World,I have autism, which means I have a stu … [Read more...]

In Autism Land, Where Does Our Family Happiness Lie?

This is Day 10 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 10, 2017.Dear Family:What does family togetherness mean to you? What does “having fun” as a family mean? Is it all of us together embarking on some new adventure, or some tried-and-true old favorite thing to do? Is it some of us doing things that are enjoyable while others stay home where they have a better shot of feeling more relaxed, less anxious and thereby happier?I’ve struggled with family outings for so long. We all have. T … [Read more...]

Over Dozens of Sundays, You Taught me Love

This is Day Nine of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 9, 2017. This letter is written by Isaiah Fleming-Klink, who was D's partner and peer buddy in the John Maloney Project (Open Gym) for four years. JMP is a local partnership between high school students and autistic students of all ages, where the kids get together every fall and spring on Sundays across a six-week schedule and engage in physical activity and friendship building. The JMP has been a constant in D's life for 12 ye … [Read more...]

Dear D – Help Me to Help You

This is Day Eight of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 8, 2017.Dear D,I can see you’re pulling your arms into your shirt, sometimes stuffing a pillow up the front. This evening we had biryani for dinner – your favorite – and you were in tears when we called you to dinner. We went for a walk before dinner and the entire time I could hear your shallow breathing, those signs of distress.There has to be a way for you and me to figure each other out. I’ve spent a lifetime studying at yo … [Read more...]

Dear Rock Star Autism Siblings – Five Pieces of Advice

This is Day Seven of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 7, 2017. This letter is written by 13-year-old "A," D's sister.Dear Rock Star Siblings,Hi! You might know me by the name of A – that’s what my mother likes to call me in her articles. I’m 13 years old, and I’m in eighth grade. I have two brothers, one who is nine and one who is nearly 17. My little brother is a hilarious goofball who never fails to make me laugh. He’s one of the biggest clowns I’ve ever met, and he has the most chi … [Read more...]

#AutismAwareness Looks Different When You’re a Teen

This is Day Six of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 6, 2017Dear Folks,The world sure looks at you different when you are a teenager, young adult or adult with autism. Whether you are autistic in a vein similar to D or autistic in a myriad of other manifestations – it’s just a different reaction.I posted this today on Facebook: D and I stopped at our fave halal meat/ethnic grocery store on our way home - there were a bunch of desi [South Asian] folks in there I didn't recognize. I … [Read more...]