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

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

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

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

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

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

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: 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

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

How do people personally experience religion and faith? Why do they believe what they believe, and is there any way for us to find a connection with people who have vastly different belief systems from our own? Author, scholar and Muslim American Reza Aslan immerses himself into different faiths and faith rituals around the world to explore these and other questions in “Believer,” a new CNN series debuting March 5 at 10 p.m. In this spiritual adventure series, Aslan dives… Read more

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