Helping Your Child with Special Needs Succeed in a Religious School

Editor's Note: Raising my son D (who is autistic) and contemplating what a religious education -- whether in a day school or a Sunday school -- has to offer children like him is something I've thought a lot about. While I never considered enrolling D in our local Sunday School or religious day school (because his needs were to great for them to accommodate), I know others in my community who have struggled to get their special needs children enrolled in a religious educational … [Read more...]

Why We Share – The Power of Our Disability/Different-Ability Narratives

This past weekend I had the honor of moderating what I thought was the most important panel at the 52nd Annual Islamic Society of North American convention. Our panel was title "Finding Our Voice: Sharing our Disability Experiences to Seek Empowerment and Affect Change," and featured Inshirah Aleem, an author and woman living with bipolar disorder, Safiyyah Amina Muhammad, a mom to five and fierce autism advocate/community leader, Sara Minkara, founder of Empowerment Through Integration, an … [Read more...]

ISNA Disability Narratives – Being a Voice for Advocacy and Change

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, Photo User Gossip Moms

This post is part of a short series of disability narratives shared by the speakers and moderator (me!), who will be part of a panel discussion on “Finding Our Voice: Sharing our Disability Experiences to Seek Empowerment and Affect Change” this Saturday at the Islamic Society of North America convention. We’re hoping to show how sharing our stories is a way to build community and change perceptions.By Safiyyah Amina MuhammadI feel that my story is a compelling share because, out of the f … [Read more...]

All Haste to the Wedding

Flickr Creative Commons, Photo from Mac Reddin

The bags are packed, the plans have been made and the caregiver has been hired.We are breaking our own rules, for better or for worse.We are taking D to a Big Fat Indian-Muslim Family Wedding.If I could get out of it on his behalf, I would. As we draw closer and closer to departure (tomorrow for me and the younger kiddos, and Friday for his dad, grandparents and D to join us), I keep thinking – why are we doing this? Why are we subjecting D to this?Six summers ago, after a … [Read more...]

Thanks Jon Stewart, from an Autism Mom

Flickr Creative Commons - Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on the "Night of Too Many Stars"

Now the good news is this: Bullsh*tters have gotten pretty lazy. And their work is easily detected. And looking for it is kind of a pleasant way to pass the time. Like an "I Spy" of bullshit. So I say to you tonight, friends, the best defense against bullsh*t is vigilance.If you smell something, say something. -- Jon Stewart, on his last episode of The Daily ShowThat's kind of it right there, Jon Stewart's evolution of "fake newsman" to "newsman-pointer-out-of-the-bullsh*t." No one was … [Read more...]


D and I in his classroom on his 15th birthday.

In passing by the bathroom where D was showering, my niece remarks, he sure sings a lot in the shower. Yes, he does. D sings, he hums, he makes sounds and gets up in your face with a loud, fast cacophony of babbles when he is trying so hard to convey something to you. His face comes close to yours as if to say – don’t you get what I’m trying to say? Understand me.We, his closest loved ones, know the lilt, strength, cadence, tone, melody and volume of his sounds so well. The satisfactory noise … [Read more...]

Islam, Therapy Dogs and Autism – In Search of a Constant Companion

Autism therapy dogs

It started, as I usually does, with the yearning for something better for D – something that would provide him comfort, security and companionship, something or someone who would be allowed in to his physical space when the rest of us were pushed out.With my nieces spending the weekend with us at the house, D had spent most of the day in and out of the family picture -- sometimes venturing to be in the same room with and interact with his cousins, and sometimes retreating to the safe space o … [Read more...]