A Trump Presidency – Conversations with our Children

Last night (in my opinion) ended badly.This morning started badly. I had to do what millions of parents who were not in favor of a Trump presidency were doing: Break the news to my kids. It did not go over well.We get small pockets of time with our children to explain tough things, times when they are open to hearing us and absorbing our words. You look for those times and dive in when you see it. Quickly enough, the window closes.I dove into the window with my daughter this morning, … [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...]

His Happily Ever After

So how is he doing?I pause at the question, put forth to me by D’s case worker. She and I meet four times a year to chat about D’s wellbeing, our challenges, what he needs, what he is struggling with, and what kind of supports he (and all of us) could use.Yeah, he’s fine, I say. Then I pause. He’s fine is my stock response – my saying everything is ok, when in fact “ok” becomes such a loaded word with things left said and unsaid.Wait, let me backtrack. Actually there’s a lot going on … [Read more...]

A Muslim #PrayerforEveryone – Prayer Backed with Action to Achieve Global Goals

There is this: "It is He who produces gardens with trellises and without, and dates and tilth with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates similar and different. Eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. And waste not by excess: for Allah loves not the wasters. (Quran, 6:141)" I have a friend in California who is extremely worried about the ongoing drought, what affect it will have on the environment for years to … [Read more...]

Ali Family Autism Truths #9 – The Best Muslim, the Innocence of Humanity

April 9, 2015, Autism Awareness Month, Autism Truths #9I’ve noticed a trend during the past few years of families performing Umrah during their kids’ spring breaks. I think it’s great – a wonderful way for families to come together for a moving, spiritual pilgrimage and introduce their children to some of what is most special, most beauteous, most humbling and true about Islam.Year after year, right before spring break rolls around, I get at least five or six messages/emails, or read on s … [Read more...]

Ali Family Autism Truths #5 – How Inclusive was Your Easter or Passover Service?

April 5, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Ali Family Autism Truths #5 In private conversations with friends today, friends celebrating Easter or having celebrated Passover, we shared some of our frustrations in trying to participate in religious ceremonies and attend services at Houses of Worship with our autistic children. While many churches, synagogues (and even some mosques) and other Houses of Worship have made great strides in tailoring services for all in their congregation, or at the very … [Read more...]

The Heavy and the Light

The car line at my son’s autism school can be an emotional roller coaster. I see kids who I’ve known years, and it touches me to see them grow into gangly limbs and teenage faces with downy hair and budding self-confidence. Some clutch favorite teddy bears or finger pieces of string – stims or habits that I’ve seen persist from childhood into the teenage years, long past when others deem them appropriate behaviors or interests.But this is autism. Appropriate is a subjective word, and what may … [Read more...]