Piecing Together the Puzzle of the Future – As a Family

Dear Family,I came home from a long medical appointment the other day and walked into the house. D and his Baba were sitting on the stairs – D behind his Baba, arms and legs wrapped around him. He was digging his chin into his Baba’s head, slapping him on the shoulders with his hands (rather hard) and literally covering him with the kind of affection you usually don’t see between a near-17-year-old and his Dad.As we are wont to do in these days, I whipped out my phone and took a series of … [Read more...]

As Moms, Do We Care for Ourselves?

This is Day 23 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 23, 2017Dear Moms, Particularly Muslim Moms of Color,Last night I took the boys and went to the home of a friend, who has two sons on opposite ends of the autism spectrum. D has been in classes with both over the years. Another mom who has two sons (out of four) on the spectrum also joined us. We had come together, along with my friend’s family, for a confirmation celebration.Probably the best part of being at her home was that ev … [Read more...]

Make His a Life of Ease

This is Day 22 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 22, 2017Dear God,It seems almost silly to write to you when you know my inner most secrets before even I realize them. But this all seems like a cosmic joke sometimes, one in which I’m the only one who doesn’t get the punchline and that it’s all going to be just fine if I learn to smile along more.You’ve been patient with me, more patient then I probably deserve. And you’ve taken it upon Yourself, in Your divine wisdom to give me … [Read more...]

On Government Ineptness, Autism and Passport Sagas

This is Day 21 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 21, 2017Dear Government Agencies – Federal, State and Local,With as much frustration as I’m about to unload, let me start with a positive – as a parent of a teenager with autism, there is no where I’d rather live then in the United States. My son’s autism isn’t the only reason I’m glad to live in this country (I was born here), but it certainly is a crucial factor.Although I and so many of my fellow Muslim Americans are experienci … [Read more...]

Let’s Talk about Autism and Puberty

This is Day 20 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 20, 2017Dear Parents, Muslim and OtherwiseI thought I’d direct this letter to Muslim parents of kids with autism. But really, it applies to all parents of autistic kids. I’m particularly concerned with Muslim parents of children with autism and other disabilities because as a network of communities, we are historically reticent from discussing matters of health and sexuality in a public setting, let alone openly and honestly with our … [Read more...]

Dear Educators – In Autism Land, Arrests and Suspensions are Not the Answer

This is Day 19 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 19, 2017Dear Public School Special Education Administrators and Educators,I admire a lot of you. I really do. To educate students with special needs and disabilities takes intelligence, patience, innovation, passion, compassion and superb listening skills in droves. You are working closely with parents and an entire administrative team to come up with Individualized Education Plans that tailors curriculums for each student you t … [Read more...]

Lessons in Autism Land – Less of the Doing, More of the Listening

This is Day 18 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 18, 2017.Dear D,Teach me your ways, oh son of mine. Teach me how you wake up every morning when I call your name, push the heavy blankets off you and face your day.There is never a Salaamualaikum, Mamma, or even a sleepy, mumbled ‘sup as you stumble down the hall into the bathroom. Just silence as you get up and get going with your day and your morning routine. Your sister slams her door shut to ready herself for school in pri … [Read more...]