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… 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… Read more

#AutismAwareness Looks Different When You’re a Teen

This is Day Six of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 6, 2017 Dear 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… 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… 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… 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… 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… Read more

What is this Autism Living?

This is Day One of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 1, 2017. This month I’ll be writing a series of letters. Dear Friends, Have a seat and get comfortable. Or, what’s more likely – slow down what you’re doing as you scroll this post on your phone. Lend me your attention for a few moments. It’s that time of year again, and while I’d like to just go about our family’s regular living (which is autism living 365 days… Read more

UPDATE How will Autistic Travelers be Affected by the Banning of iPads, etc, on Flights from Several Muslim-Majority Countries?

UPDATE: The day I was writing and publishing this piece, Abed Ayoub, legal and policy director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in Washington, D.C., contacted me to ask if autistic individuals use iPads to help communicate and mitigate their challenges, and if so, what are the ways in which they use iPads. He was working with a client whose child had autism, and they were getting set to travel when word came of President Trump’s new electronics ban on… Read more

Neutrality & Acceptance – European Court of Justice’s Upholding of Workplace Bans on Headscarves

It’s interesting, to me at least, that early this week I sat on a panel on “Fueling Hate: The News Media, Bias and Islam” at the University of Missouri’s College of Journalism and declared that there are stories that many Muslims (journalists and otherwise) feel they are done, done, done with – one of which includes articles on hijab, headscarves, burkas and other types of modest Muslim dressing. And yet here we are, because the legislation and policing of “religious clothing”… Read more

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