The Bittersweet

This is Day 29 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 29, 2017 Dear Friends, The morning yes was spent at H’s elementary school for field day, volunteering at the frisbee-throwing station. Cute kindergartners, first graders and then second graders came through my station, taking turns throwing the frisbee into a goal. I cheered them on, laughed with them. On the opposite end of the field the tug-of-war battles were happening, as class by class lined up to compete against... Read more

The Language of Brothers in Autism Land

This is Day 28 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 28, 2017. Our son, nine-year-old H wrote this letter to his 16-year-old brother, D bhai. Dear D Bhai, When I first realized you were different, I didn’t know what Mamma meant when she told me some things about you. I didn’t get it. I realized that you couldn’t talk in our language, but you had one of your own. You do many things that other human beings don’t do,... Read more

Marriage, Autism Truths and the Ties that Bind

This is Day 27 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 27, 2017 Dear Husband and Collective Spouses, This morning I was talking to my niece – the one who is newly married to a young gentleman who is doing his medical residency. She was telling me about how the challenges of being newly married when one spouse is doing residency and has literally no time to do anything else, (Sounds familiar?) And, I was reminded of a conversation we... Read more

Finding Room for it All in Autism Land

This is Day 26 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 26, 2017 Dear World: At the beginning of April, on Day One, I wrote this: Here’s a question – how do you find that balance or place for the narratives that celebrate the neurodiversity differences of autism and feature the voices and stories of those who are actually autistic and teach the world about acceptance, accommodation and inclusion, AND also openly talk about the challenges, the medical comorbidities, the... Read more

Dear Siblings – What is Your Role in our Family Autism Future?

This is Day 25 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 25, 2017 Dear A and H and other autism siblings, Last night I was at a training seminar to learn about how to apply for SSI (supplemental security income, a form of social security) benefits for your brother once he nears the age of 18. There are a lot of things we need to do for him in the coming year as he approaches the age of majority –... Read more

Piecing Together the Puzzle of the Future – As a Family

This is Day 24 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 24, 2017 Dear Family, I came home from a long medical appointment the other day and walked into the house. D and his Baba were sitting on the stairs – D behind his Baba, arms and legs wrapped around him. He was digging his chin into his Baba’s head, slapping him on the shoulders with his hands (rather hard) and literally covering him with the kind of affection you... Read more

As Moms, Do We Care for Ourselves?

This is Day 23 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 23, 2017 Dear Moms, Particularly Muslim Moms of Color, Last night I took the boys and went to the home of a friend, who has two sons on opposite ends of the autism spectrum. D has been in classes with both over the years. Another mom who has two sons (out of four) on the spectrum also joined us. We had come together, along with my friend’s family, for... Read more

Make His a Life of Ease

This is Day 22 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 22, 2017 Dear God, It seems almost silly to write to you when you know my inner most secrets before even I realize them. But this all seems like a cosmic joke sometimes, one in which I’m the only one who doesn’t get the punchline and that it’s all going to be just fine if I learn to smile along more. You’ve been patient with me, more patient then... Read more

On Government Ineptness, Autism and Passport Sagas

This is Day 21 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 21, 2017 Dear Government Agencies – Federal, State and Local, With as much frustration as I’m about to unload, let me start with a positive – as a parent of a teenager with autism, there is no where I’d rather live then in the United States. My son’s autism isn’t the only reason I’m glad to live in this country (I was born here), but it certainly is a... Read more

Let’s Talk about Autism and Puberty

This is Day 20 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 20, 2017 Dear Parents, Muslim and Otherwise I thought I’d direct this letter to Muslim parents of kids with autism. But really, it applies to all parents of autistic kids. I’m particularly concerned with Muslim parents of children with autism and other disabilities because as a network of communities, we are historically reticent from discussing matters of health and sexuality in a public setting, let alone openly and honestly... Read more
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