Eleven

You came into my room the other day, voice strained and your face barely masking your frustration, holding up a chewed-up Lego piece for my inspection.He chewed it again, you said. I put a rubber band tight around the knobs of the glass cabinet where I keep my Lego things, and still he got in and ruined what I built. And he chewed this piece. He ruins everything. My first instinct is to say, really? Really? It’s just a Lego piece. And he does not ruin everything. Nor does he do any of it on p … [Read more...]

Autism Doesn’t End Like That

A rare moment of holding hands as we leave his school.

So much -- and so little -- can happen in 30 days.The woods that spread out from our house are coming to life, with branches going from winter-bare to being covered in lush green. Spring is finally ushering its way in. I sat on our deck on April 2 – World Autism Day – devastated after a heartbreaking day of shocking news about you, and I watched you play. You swung back and forth on the hammock and jumped with abandon on our trampoline. The silence of our neighborhood was punctured by the hap … [Read more...]

30 Ali Family Autism Truths for Autism Awareness Month – the Second Ten

Daanish_Maymont

When we fast in the holy month of Ramadan, our family has a saying -- the first 10 are easy. You fast with full spiritual joy and intensity, ready to really experience Ramadan. The second ten fasts are the hard ones.  You start to grow weary in body, mind and soul. Keeping up spiritual and faith practices grow hard during the second ten days. And then in the last ten days you feel a renewed exuberance. You are ready to recommit to your Ramadan goals, to push through to the end.The second set … [Read more...]

Send Thanks

Lil D making an "acorn" for Thanksgiving with his therapist.

Shukar bhejo, which literally means to “send thanks,” or less literally, send thanks to God – is an Urdu phrase that has been uttered to me by my parents and in-laws and by me to myself, my husband and kids – for as long as I can remember.So this idea of giving thanks has never been harnessed to a single month or a day for me, which goes the same for so many around the world. Still, the Thanksgiving holiday is one I especially love, because although giving thanks is something I hope we can do … [Read more...]

‘Ittefaq’ – Meant to Be

blue contact

I hugged my mom goodbye. Instead of our usual tight and brief hug, I went in for a long one, nestling my head into the crook of her neck, as I’ve done during the times I never wanted to let her go – when she was leaving to go back home after I had given birth to Hamza. Or when I had brought an infant Amal and a newly-autism-diagnosed Lil D to her home for post-partum recovery. Or after I had come home from the hospital after a devastating miscarriage, and she was waiting for me.The hug when w … [Read more...]

Why Did You Leave Me?

Lil D hoody smiling

I picture it happening like this: He walks in the door, weary after traveling thousands of miles and sitting for hours on a plane, then driving nearly three hours more – across time zones and battling jet lag – and drops his bags and calls out to his son. The edges of the picture fade into a blur and the room goes silent as the focus turns with a sharp clarity onto Lil D, spinning his beads and pacing the length of the family room. It’s time for the big moment, the story-book reunion between fat … [Read more...]

It’s Not Just About You

Amal sheparding Lil D on the beach

The only thing predictable about autism and Lil D in our house is that it and he are unpredictable. You can say that about life in general. It’s not a unique characteristic owned by autism or my child in particular. And yet, it is unique to us in its manifestation.We met with Lil D’s speech and occupational therapists last week at school at my request to discuss some things we want to change/try with his assistive communication device (his iPad), as well as figuring out a plan to help deal wi … [Read more...]


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