Seventeen

Back when I was a young mother and you were a tiny lobster of a baby in my arms, I did what any young mother does – I envisioned snapshots of your future. There were a few monumental milestone numbers I thought about – age five (kindergarten), 10 (when you’d hit double digits) and 17 (Would you have your license? Would we be one of those parents who would present you a car on this birthday? What colleges would you… Read more

Ever Vigilant, Ever Questioning, Ever Guessing

He had a great day! – says the teacher who has brought D to my car after school. She starts to shut the door. Hold on, I say. Did he go anywhere today? Yes, we went to the mall – the teacher says. What did you do there, I ask? Mainly walked around and worked on a few tasks, the teacher says as they shut the door. Um, ok. It’s not like I can expect D to tell me the… Read more

What a Triennial Evaluation Says and Doesn’t Say in Autism Land

D is up for his triennial review. I believe that [his school] sent his consent for testing form home with him yesterday. I will also be going to complete my observation report. Would you be able to meet in the morning on [date redacted] at [location redacted]?  If so, what time is best for you? – email from D’s school case manager last week. It kind of stopped me in my tracks. Earlier in the school year, as I made my check list… Read more

Its Not Just Autism Living. It’s Living.

Last night I sat in a darkened room with my eldest son, D, as he alternately cried a dil-se-dhook rona (heart-worn crying) and screamed in anger and frustration. The best I could do was be present to his pain, until he worked himself through it and fell exhaustedly asleep. This morning, going on barely 3-4 hours of sleep, I showered, dressed up and drove with my parents to attend the eighth-grade awards ceremony/graduation for my daughter. She had been excited… Read more

6 Ways to Create an Autism-Friendly Ramadan and Eid

This is a guest post from my friend Nakia Jackson, mom to Zak, who is autistic and awesome. By Nakia Jackson The stories about autism-friendly Santas and Christmas-related events has sparked some envy. Ramadan and Eid usually find Zak and I at home. The crowds make for extreme sensory overload in an environment where if he bolts, it’s hard to catch him. But, there are many things our mosques, community centers and Muslim communities can do to help make Ramadan… Read more

Enough With the Melania-Headscarf Headlines

Why is this a new story? A headline? Something we want people to care about? I’m talking about today’s article I’m seeing in various news outlets about how First Lady Melania Trump will not have to wear a headscarf when she accompanies President Trump on his official visit to Saudi Arabia. Or, let me quote to get it right: “Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir was quoted as telling media Thursday that America’s First Lady won’t be required to dress… Read more

Our Ramadan Preps are with Autism in Mind

The Ramadan preps are in full force around me — from the texts, WhatsApp messages and social media posts being passed back and forth sharing certain du’as (prayers), schedules for daily Quran reading, to ways to engage children, crafting and reading projects to help kids connect with the fasting month to advice how to fast safely and break fasts with healthful foods and so much more. Memes on avoiding fried foods upon breaking one’s fast. Advice posts on how to… Read more

3 Muslim Reactions Sum Up Feelings Ahead of Trump’s Speech on Islam in Saudi Arabia

“President Trump to give a speech on Islam in Saudi Arabia.” That one headline made Muslim Twitter and Facebook come alive with humor, horror, concerns, questions and general befuddlement. Learning hours later that White Adviser Stephen Miller (who harbors noted anti-Muslim viewpoints), who wrote Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban, was penning his speech didn’t go over well either. According to Mediaite, The speech will be delivered to leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries that will gather in Saudi Arabia during Trump’s… Read more

Risk Taking and Autism Truths

This is Day 30 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 30, 2017. Last post of the series. Dear Readers: A story: The kids’ activities for the day were clear to me when I woke up: H had Islamic Sunday school, D had Open Gym, A had homework and I had plans to do laundry and run a bunch of errands. I had a caregiver coming to help me manage everything, with the kids’ Baba working this weekend. Everything was… Read more

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

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