Conversations with D

Ali Family Autism Truths #29 – April 29, 2016Setting: In our Kitchen one evening. I have made brownies, and they are cooling on the counter. Everyone has eaten dinner, and D is drawn back to the kitchen by the smell of something heavenly. He comes up to me, standing at the counter, and pushes his face close to make eye contact – a rarity. It means something important if he leans in to look you straight in the eye. Otherwise, eye-to-eye contact is difficult for him. Overwhelming, I sus … [Read more...]

A Hidden Message in Autism Code

Ali Family Autism Truths #23 - April 23, 2016No lengthy post tonight. Just this photo. After a pretty good day, things headed downhill fast post-dinner for D. I went up to sit with him, knowing there probably wasn't much I could do. Heck, I figured he'd just get more upset by having a body close by. But, I figured I could lurk in the corner of his bedroom. As I've written numerous times before, sometimes all I can do is just be with him, however close he'll let me be.It's as much for me … [Read more...]

Which Truths Can be Shared, and Which can Only be Lived?

Which truths are we charged with sharing, and which truths must remain more quiet for the sake of the greater picture or, more importantly, one’s privacy?I was chatting with a friend today – someone I’ve “met” through my autism writing, who also writes extensively on autism, on life with her autistic son, on neurodiversity and other disability topics. I was telling her how difficult it is to lay one’s life bare and share intimate truths, day after day for 30 days.More so, what is difficul … [Read more...]

The Truth of Perceptions and Outcomes

My mother-in-law and I sat around the kitchen table this morning – me with my laptop open doing some office work, her flipping through a catalogue. Our conversation meandered all over the place until I asked her:When did you and Abba (my father-in-law) really make that decision to settle here in the U.S. with us and make this your primary home base instead of your home in India?As we tripped down memory lane together, she wove a story for me about how, though from the time we got married … [Read more...]

Like Muslims, the Autism Community is Not a Monolith

Ali Family Autism Truths #19 - April 19, 2016The morning started with a visit to yet another specialist today for D. The medical mysteries and questions keep a coming. Last year (2015) ended with a week-long hospital stay for D and some medical issues for which definitive answers still elude us. And this year is a continuation of the medical conundrums.There’s a contingency of the autism community for whom the mantra is: Autism is Medical. As in, if you dig deep and try and understand t … [Read more...]

D’s Declaration of Faith

Ali Family Autism Truths #17 - April 17, 2016I harbor secret fantasies of chartering a private plane and taking D for Umrah – the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah done during non-Hajj times.My friend, Joohi Tahir, executive director of MUHSEN (Muslims Understanding and Helping Special Education Needs), wrote a post for me about two years ago about how she and her family performed the Umrah with their autistic daughter Mehreen. The story is simply beautiful:Every step of this journey b … [Read more...]

In Autism Land, Who Tells D’s Story?

Ali Family Autism Truths #15 - April 15, 2016One of the dangers in chronicling D’s and our family’s autism journey is taking a story that is supposed to be about him and turning it into a story about us. Or me. I know that has happened one too many times over the years. Some of it is inevitable, given that instead of D writing or sharing his stories due to the profoundness of his autism, I’ve taken on that job.And really, this is the question I’ve been pondering for a long time. Do I have … [Read more...]