Dear D – Help Me to Help You

This is Day Eight of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 8, 2017.Dear D,I can see you’re pulling your arms into your shirt, sometimes stuffing a pillow up the front. This evening we had biryani for dinner – your favorite – and you were in tears when we called you to dinner. We went for a walk before dinner and the entire time I could hear your shallow breathing, those signs of distress.There has to be a way for you and me to figure each other out. I’ve spent a lifetime studying at yo … [Read more...]

Dear Rock Star Autism Siblings – Five Pieces of Advice

This is Day Seven of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 7, 2017. This letter is written by 13-year-old "A," D's sister.Dear Rock Star Siblings,Hi! You might know me by the name of A – that’s what my mother likes to call me in her articles. I’m 13 years old, and I’m in eighth grade. I have two brothers, one who is nine and one who is nearly 17. My little brother is a hilarious goofball who never fails to make me laugh. He’s one of the biggest clowns I’ve ever met, and he has the most chi … [Read more...]

#AutismAwareness Looks Different When You’re a Teen

This is Day Six of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 6, 2017Dear Folks,The world sure looks at you different when you are a teenager, young adult or adult with autism. Whether you are autistic in a vein similar to D or autistic in a myriad of other manifestations – it’s just a different reaction.I posted this today on Facebook: D and I stopped at our fave halal meat/ethnic grocery store on our way home - there were a bunch of desi [South Asian] folks in there I didn't recognize. I … [Read more...]

Dear Allies and Friends – Own it When You Play the ‘Autism’ Card

This is Day Five of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 5, 2017.Dear Allies, Advocates and Friends (Autism and Otherwise),It’s called playing the autism card, or the disability card – and often it’s not the autistic or disabled person who does it.In Season one, episode 12 of the hit ABC sitcom “Speechless” (one of my most favorite new shows this year for its fresh, real and hilarious disability storylines covered from all aspects and angles), Ray wants to use his brother J.J. (who ha … [Read more...]

Dear Former Self – Here Are Some Autism and Life Things You Need to KNow

This is Day Four of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 4, 2017.Dear Former Self,Boy, are you in for a ride.I could write a whole book to you, and maybe this will be just part one of several letters to you. But, let’s start with a few things:You are a lot stronger then you think you are. Everything begins and ends listening to your son and listening to your gut. God never left you.When D was diagnosed, there was no manual for you. There was no “Welcome to the Club” lette … [Read more...]

Living the Disability/Autism Life: Are We Really Being Seen?

This is Day Three of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 3, 2017. Dear Friends,Today D and I stopped off at an ethnic grocery store that we frequent on our way home. When this store opened several years ago, I was excited because it was close to our home and stocked halal meat. As I got to know the owners, about a year later they told me (after seeing D with me) about their adult son, for whom the store is named.Their son has several different disabilities, one of which I think is au … [Read more...]

An Autism Prayer: Am I Doing the Right Thing? Show Me the Way

This is Day Two of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 2, 2017 - World Autism Day.Dear D,When you were three, they gave you an Official Diagnosis of Autism, said a bunch of things to your Baba and I, put some literature in our hands and sent us on our way. You were our darling son, beautiful and so far away from us. Yet to call us Mamma or Baba with any purpose, barely paying attention to the newborn baby of a little sister who cried beside you.I had no clue. None. Nada. Zip. Autism … [Read more...]