April 6, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Ali Family Autism Truths #6 Our milestones and firsts have never been other family’s milestones or firsts. When it comes to D, we follow his timeline on progress and no other. We face our firsts, sometimes with sadness and fear, sometimes with great joy — always truthfully. I wrote this today on Facebook: More milestones in Autism land for the Ali Family. Every time things feel complacent and just our “norm,” I’m reminded… Read more

April 5, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Ali Family Autism Truths #5 In private conversations with friends today, friends celebrating Easter or having celebrated Passover, we shared some of our frustrations in trying to participate in religious ceremonies and attend services at Houses of Worship with our autistic children. While many churches, synagogues (and even some mosques) and other Houses of Worship have made great strides in tailoring services for all in their congregation, or at the very least creating… Read more

April 4, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Ali Family Autism Truths #4 There are days when it feels like two completely different world exist under my roof. There is D, spending the majority of this first day of his spring break spinning his beads in our bedroom, or in the basement bedroom where his grandparents sleep. The connection is distant today between him and the rest of us, as we enter in that final furious stage of shopping/packing/cooking/readying for a… Read more

April 3, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Day Three of Ali Family Autism Truths “A” came with me today when I went to pick up D from school. She and her little brother, H, had half-days, as Spring Break has now begun. With H off to Jummah prayers with his grandparents, A kept me company on my afternoon drive. The other kids rarely come with me when I get D. They’re both coming home on busses at that time themselves…. Read more

April 2, 2015, Autism Awareness Month (World Autism Day) – Day Two of Ali Family Autism Truths On the drive to school, D’s not feeling it. Arms drawn into shirt, the cries are starting and soon enough, he is banging his head intermittently on the back of my seat. He’s not really hurting himself because the seats are soft, but it’s distressing. He’s obviously off — something is amiss. He isn’t feeling well; he is upset about something, The cogs… Read more

April 1, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month – Day One of Ali Family Autism Truths D is sitting downstairs right now picking through his dinner, while one of his therapists, who is playing the care giver role, sits with him. I’ve kicked the rest of the family out for dinner, and I’m sitting upstairs keeping an ear out for any issues that may come up. Call this a dry run. Call this part of my hypervigilance in making sure he… Read more

When we first were officially told that D’s diagnosis was autism, we were devastated. This may be insulting to some on the spectrum, but I’m keeping it real. There has been so much heartache mixed in with joy these past 11 years since that day that it all seems inexplicably intertwined. You can’t have one without the other. As much as I’ve tried to lessen and alleviate D of the excruciating hard parts of autism, it’s still there, perhaps to… Read more

The words seem too paltry, too weak, to insufficient to fully express the depths of what I am seeing him do. I want to share it with you. But every time I let the words flow, it feels unsatisfactory — like whatever I write will not do justice to the truly astounding things I see my son doing. Because when I turn my attention outward, I see everything amplified – big, noisy, loud, glaring. And I don’t want to lose… Read more

“We no longer have to choose between our education and our faith!” — tweet I woke up today to see that #EidInNYC was trending in Twitter? Why? Because New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the addition of the two Muslim Eid holidays to the public school schedule. Says this CBS local article: Schools will now close for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, making New York City the largest school district in the nation to recognize the two holidays on… Read more

There are the articles, posts, op-eds and stories that the important ones. The BIG ones. The ones to affect change, get you thinking, expose a problem, right a wrong, grow awareness for a cause or situation, promote activism or convey a story that needs to be heard. Then there are the ones that are seemingly nothing – the sharing of a thought, an experience, a feeling. Take what you want from it. Maybe sharing it is just an exercise for… Read more

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