Hey Autism, Verily with Difficulty There is Ease

Daanish beach

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

Dilshad and Daanish falls shot

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...]

TLC’s All-American Muslim is Surprisingly Really Watchable


It’s tough, and never a good idea for a single person, or a few families, or even a specific community to be considered the representation of an entire faith group. Growing up as one of the only Muslims families in a small university town in North Dakota, inevitably my brothers and I became the poster children for “This is what Muslims are like!” I think, for the most part, it was a good thing because we walked that delicate line of practicing our faith (Ramadans spent hanging out in the coun … [Read more...]

Dealing with Departure


These past few weeks have been all about gearing up for the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, which for me as the managing editor of the Muslim content at Patheos – was a frenzy of getting coverage together and reaching out to American Muslims for their thoughts with our “Three Questions” project. But life on the home front marches on inexorably, and I’ve been dealing with back to school and the departure of my in-laws, who just left for India after spending 14 months with us.Yes, they … [Read more...]