Walking Away from Autism

You can’t. Walk away from autism, that is, no more than you can walk away from any of your children. For that matter, if you have a child with any sort of disability or sickness (autism, downs syndrome, leukemia, cancer, what have you), the first thing that becomes painfully clear is that your child cannot walk away from what troubles him; therefore, you cannot walk away. Ever. No matter how much you want to at times. And we all do – even the most warrior of warrior mothers at some point loses he … [Read more...]

Giving Thanks for Good Autism Teachers

When I entered Lil D’s classroom to pick him up the other day, Sanjay* immediately turned around in his study carrel and called out to me: “Mrs. Ali, Mrs. Ali! If Lil D hits himself, will you be mad?”“No, Sanjay, I won’t be mad.”“Mrs. Ali, Mrs. Ali, if Lil D hits one of his friends, will you be mad?”“No Sanjay, I won’t be mad. But I’ll tell him that it’s not nice to hit.”“Mrs. Ali, Mrs. Ali, if Lil D hits one of the teachers, will you be mad?”“No, Sanjay, I won’t be mad. I’ll … [Read more...]

Hey Autism, Verily with Difficulty There is Ease

Spring break on the beach: Are we a couple of free-wheeling college students on Daytona Beach? Nah. We’re a family of five (seven with my in-laws included) who decided to come to a beach in South Carolina because it seemed the only place that everyone, especially our eldest son, would have some fun.The question asked of me by so many leading up to this trip was: What do you think will happen? Meaning, our family’s life -- in a way -- has been held hostage the past several months by the ext … [Read more...]

When Prayer and Rituals Change Us, Not Our Circumstances

Spring break has started here, and the kids are home. I sent my younger two off to Jummah namaz (Friday prayers) with my inlaws. Lil D and I are hanging at home, doing our own Friday prayer ritual today. With his recent bouts of escapism and wandering, I don't feel comfortable taking him to the mosque today, so we are doing our own thing at home, and much of that "own thing" has come from the advice I received after writing about the Jekyll and Hyde of autism, advice that I later detailed in my … [Read more...]

Rituals of Religion to Break Autism’s Mr. Hyde Meltdowns

In my post last week about the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of autism, I wrote how Mr Hyde has been my son's persona for several weeks, if not months now, and of how I continue to struggle in my faith, in my ability to put full trust in Allah that somehow He will help my son and me. Although I know I should pursue a course of faith and worldly, practical actions (therapies, medical treatments, education, schooling), the scales have been tipped of late towards the latter.I know this, really, I … [Read more...]

Autism’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll graced me with his presence yesterday.It had been a really, really long time.Mr. Hyde took a backseat and allowed Dr. Jekyll to regain control for the better part of the day. I realized that I spent much of the day holding my breath, waiting for Hyde to rear his ugly head and regain control of my son. So after we got home from school, I let my breath go and made plans for the afternoon, thinking, what could it hurt? Let’s try something. Let’s try something we used to be able to … [Read more...]

A Special Eid for Autistic and Special Needs Children

Anyone who tries to connect that divide between raising an autistic child and adhering to faith traditions knows what a difficult task that is. And I’m not talking about crisis of faith, about those “What is God’s plan? or “Why my child?” or “Will my prayers ever be answered?” type of problems. I’m talking about including special needs children in faith practices and in houses of worship.Whether the child is high-functioning, moderate, or severely autistic, whether he can talk or not, if he h … [Read more...]


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