The Jenin Autism Project – Getting Started with the Families

Kitti South and Melissa Diamond along with others involved in the Jenin Autism Project

My friend Kitti South along with Melissa Diamond are in Jenin, in the West Bank of the Palestinian territory for the next few months working on "The Jenin Autism Project," part of "A Global Voice for Autism." They are there to help parents learn about autism and Applied Behavior Analysis and help connect them to other autism resources as well as building their own supportive network. They are blogging their experiences here to share their efforts in figuring out how to best help children with … [Read more...]

What is the Gift in All This?

Photo by DeAnna Nicole Photography

Sometimes the memories resurface with such veracity so as to take my breath away with the pain and utter helplessness I have tried to bury. Maybe we are not meant to forget our worst times. Maybe they are to be reminders so that we appreciate everything better that comes before and after, even when that better doesn’t seem good enough.I am sitting on our sofa in our family room settling in to watch some TV. The kids have gone to bed under protest. The house is quiet and I’ve turned the fir … [Read more...]

The Jenin Autism Project – Helping Autism Families in Palestine

global voice for autism

Over the years, we've been blessed to have a number of great therapists come into our home and work with Lil D. And we've been especially lucky the past 3-4 years to have a group of therapists, who are either related or friends with each other, come to our home -- when one gets ready to leave, he/she recommends another from their circle of friends/family to work with Lil D. They pour their hard work and love into Lil D, they babysit for us, sometimes they spend weekends with Lil D or travel with … [Read more...]

Finding His Calm

Daanish stuffed

What is the function of the behavior?I can’t tell you how many times special education teachers, therapists and behavior therapy experts have asked me that regarding why Lil D does the things he does and the way he does them. Friends and family will ask a different version of this question – What’s going on with him? Why does he do [fill in the blank]?I’m sitting with him in the basement watching him go through his current stages of retreat, which may or may not be accompanied by a full-o … [Read more...]

Winter Break in Autism Land

winter-break

Sixteen days.Siiiiiiiiiiixteeeeeeeeeen daaaaaaaaays.That’s how long until the kids go back to school.Yeah, that sounds so wrong, doesn’t it? The start of winter break, the kids are happy to be home. I am released from the strict kid morning and afternoon-evening routines. We are not going anywhere, but we have family coming into town to spend the first half of the break with us, and that promises to be full of fun.But with Lil D home for a mere three hours, the kitchen drawers are … [Read more...]

The Red Plastic Table

Daanish_3_on red table

The small plastic red table and two red chairs was the first purchase we made after Lil D was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (otherwise known as autism spectrum disorder) in 2003. Back then it was all a swirl of terminology, research and advice thrown at me while I stumbled around in a fog, head drowning in the torrent of what was to come.I had been swimming in deep and dark waters alone with Lil D and the knowledge of his autism for a year before that. And now everyone was thrown into the water … [Read more...]

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Lil D and his sister walking together.

Last night, after dinner, with my in-laws out visiting my sister-in-law and my husband upstairs putting our youngest to bed, I drew the curtains on the world and called Lil D to join me on the family room sofa. Amal was already there, nose buried in a Nancy Drew mystery. And Lil D came bounding up the stairs. Seeing me on the sofa, no phone in hand, no laptop open nearby – his face lit up.I could almost hear the thoughts in his head: Ahhhh Mamma. We’re going to chill now. No dis … [Read more...]


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