Trying Not to Be That Person

autism meme

I don’t want to be that person. I really don’t. But I find myself being that person despite my best intentions.I don’t want to be that person who attends a big party having left her eldest son at home (a boy who, because of his intense autism, cannot handle the lateness of the evening, the menu, amount of people and general loud and crowded party atmosphere) and has trouble making small talk because all she thinks is, Really? We’re going to comment on the décor of the room or how good (or bad … [Read more...]

A Ramadan Prayer for Special Needs Families

Ramadan advent calendar

Am I preparing for Ramadan? Yes and no. With my in-laws out of town right now (it's the first Ramadan we're spending apart in several years), I am not worrying so much about pre-cooking and freezing things for dinner and iftaar (in efforts to free up my time from the kitchen during Ramadan). My nine-year-old plans to fast more this month with me ("Mamma, you've got to let me fast more than four times like I did last year," she says to me. Ok little girl, I think. Just you wait until you try and … [Read more...]

An Autism Report Card

report card

After years upon years of scrutinizing progress reports and hashing out (and assessing) IEPs (individualized education plan – what special education students have written for them in lieu of following a set school curriculum), I got Lil D’s year-end report card today with percentages listed for his final grades.These percentages translate to letter grades. My son has never received letter grades in his life, as his IEPs have addressed the most basic of academic skills with a heavy emphasis on … [Read more...]

The 15th of Shabaan – Childhood Memories Versus Parenting Decisions

qurans-in-a-mosque

I have very vivid memories of the things we did on the 15th of Sha’ban growing up – we threw down hard on Shabaan, with extra ibadat (worship), nafil (extra) prayers and of course fatiha (reciting prayers over some food as an offering of blessings, not to be confused with the Al-Fatiha - the first surah in the Quran). I never questioned where what we did fell in the realm of Islamic practices. My parents did these things on this date and as their kids, we followed along.Shabaan is the eighth … [Read more...]

This is Not the Way – Reflecting on the Death of Alex Spourdalakis

alex

They show up in my news feed a lot – stories of children and adults with autism who wandered off, bolted, went missing and were found dead in a pond less than a mile from home, or something similar. Or news articles about a special needs child who was abused on his bus or in school by some teacher’s aide, or bullied by a classmate, or killed by a member of his own family when caring for him and helping him manage/overcome the most difficult aspects of his special needs became “too much. … [Read more...]

Fatherly (Baba-erly) Appreciation

The husband and I celebrated our 14th anniversary last week. We continue to (Alhamdulillah) defy the odds of marriages that break up under the stress of dealing with special needs, and is because of compromises we’ve made, respect and support we give each other, how we own various duties and roles in our lives and because we have tremendous family support.Our family works, in large part, because of him and what he’s given up/taken on/gained/lost/learned/unlearned/adapted/loved/changed and eve … [Read more...]

It’s Not Just About You

Amal sheparding Lil D on the beach

The only thing predictable about autism and Lil D in our house is that it and he are unpredictable. You can say that about life in general. It’s not a unique characteristic owned by autism or my child in particular. And yet, it is unique to us in its manifestation.We met with Lil D’s speech and occupational therapists last week at school at my request to discuss some things we want to change/try with his assistive communication device (his iPad), as well as figuring out a plan to help deal wi … [Read more...]


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