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...]

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...]

I Has High Expectations

I woke this morning and soon after read a blog post written by a friend, whom I have never met in person, but I consider her a friend. In a conversation she had with her autistic, nonverbal (but definitely not non communicative daughter) daughter via spelling on a letter board, her daughter said to her,“I HAS HIGH EXPECTATIONS.”The conversation came following a difficult situation they had come through, and her daughter was expressing her frustration with herself because, well,“I HAS … [Read more...]

Ali Family Autism Truths #8 – To be Known, Understood

April 8, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Ali Family Autism Truths #8 As I write this, you lie next to me, the sleepiness finally hitting you with gentle waves, silencing the sounds you make and bringing stillness to your ever-moving limbs. You watch me type, seeing the words flow on this screen, and I wonder if you're reading what I'm writing. Maybe you can read. Maybe. There is so much I still don't know about you, about all you may be able to do. If you are reading this, I wonder -- are you ok … [Read more...]

Words Matter in Autism Land and Beyond

One might call me a pushover – my husband often does, saying that I’d rather keep quiet and not ruffle any feathers, except when it comes to Lil D. And even with him, in forging relationships with his teachers, therapists, aides, caregivers, bus drivers and bus aides, babysitters and everyone else throughout the years, my approach has been to win them and teach them with kindness, firmness and openness.To try and be open-minded as to what they feel and know in their relationships with Lil D, … [Read more...]

Milestones in Autism Land

It’s the milestones that have tripped me up over the years, causing me to focus on what wasn’t happening in the time it should happen, instead of the little, incremental steps forward (and backward, and then forward again) that were unfolding in front of my eyes. Milestones are a tricky thing.Pediatricians tell you when a child should roll over, sit up, crawl, walk, start to babble, say Mama and Dada, imitate your sounds and point to something. When they should start to say little sentences a … [Read more...]

Recovering His Voice

I prayed two rakat shukrani – that’s a short, extra prayer Muslims do when they are thankful for something. And thankful I am.Henrico County police called last night. They recovered Lil D’s iPad.Let’s pause for a celebration before we get into the story! Channel that feeling of Rocky Balboa, jumping over the stairs outside his home, throwing air punches, and beginning to jog down his neighborhood streets. He’s gathering energy, he’s pumped, and as he jogs, people on the street call to him … [Read more...]