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


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 Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World


I’ve been attending a halaqa (Islamic study circle) for nearly two years now – a small intimate group of ladies with whom I’ve grown very close to. Our halaqa is simple – we are studying, surah by surah the 30th juz (chapter) of the Quran, and we are studying, hadith by hadith, the Forty Hadith of Imam Al-Nawawi.The structure and methodology of our halaqa was determined long ago. Since we don’t have any teacher or scholar leading us, we all take turns presenting a surah and a hadith. And, sin … [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...]

Send Thanks

Lil D making an "acorn" for Thanksgiving with his therapist.

Shukar bhejo, which literally means to “send thanks,” or less literally, send thanks to God – is an Urdu phrase that has been uttered to me by my parents and in-laws and by me to myself, my husband and kids – for as long as I can remember.So this idea of giving thanks has never been harnessed to a single month or a day for me, which goes the same for so many around the world. Still, the Thanksgiving holiday is one I especially love, because although giving thanks is something I hope we can do … [Read more...]