Autism Road Trippin’

Lil D lying down in the back seat, arms drawn in, hood up, spinning his beads, at the end of a very long road trip.

The whole summer was leading to this moment, this trip, this foray back into autism road trippin'. Were we up for the challenge? Would we be fools for trying? Was it too much to ask of Lil D? Was it too much to ask of our other children, of each other?When is it worth it to pursue a family vacation, to push each other's limits, to stretch against the bubbles of our comfort zones in the name of family togetherness, in the name of life lessons, in the name of growth? And when do we say, no, … [Read more...]

Eleven

You came into my room the other day, voice strained and your face barely masking your frustration, holding up a chewed-up Lego piece for my inspection.He chewed it again, you said. I put a rubber band tight around the knobs of the glass cabinet where I keep my Lego things, and still he got in and ruined what I built. And he chewed this piece. He ruins everything. My first instinct is to say, really? Really? It’s just a Lego piece. And he does not ruin everything. Nor does he do any of it on p … [Read more...]

30 Ali Family Autism Truths for Autism Awareness Month – the Second Ten

Daanish_Maymont

When we fast in the holy month of Ramadan, our family has a saying -- the first 10 are easy. You fast with full spiritual joy and intensity, ready to really experience Ramadan. The second ten fasts are the hard ones.  You start to grow weary in body, mind and soul. Keeping up spiritual and faith practices grow hard during the second ten days. And then in the last ten days you feel a renewed exuberance. You are ready to recommit to your Ramadan goals, to push through to the end.The second set … [Read more...]

The Jenin Autism Project – Rock Star Siblings

Siblings make matching cards.

Melissa Diamond and the rest of the team are still in Jenin, in the West Bank of the Palestinian territory for the next few months working on “The Jenin Autism Project,” part of “A Global Voice for Autism.” They are there to help parents learn about autism and Applied Behavior Analysis and help connect them to other autism resources as well as building their own supportive network. They are blogging their experiences here to share their efforts in figuring out how to best help children with autis … [Read more...]

A Big Brother in Autism Land

Daanish_big brother

When I glance up at the clock from my computer, I see that it’s 5:30 p.m. Where does the time go? As many times as I’ve vowed to cook dinner earlier in the day so I’m not panicked to make Lil D’s 6:30-7:00 p.m. dinner deadline, inevitably it comes down to the last hour.I click my laptop shut and move two feet into the kitchen and get to work. Lil D is out with his therapist on one of his CBI outings (community-based instructions), and I’m pretty sure Amal is in the dining room finishing her h … [Read more...]

‘Ittefaq’ – Meant to Be

blue contact

I hugged my mom goodbye. Instead of our usual tight and brief hug, I went in for a long one, nestling my head into the crook of her neck, as I’ve done during the times I never wanted to let her go – when she was leaving to go back home after I had given birth to Hamza. Or when I had brought an infant Amal and a newly-autism-diagnosed Lil D to her home for post-partum recovery. Or after I had come home from the hospital after a devastating miscarriage, and she was waiting for me.The hug when w … [Read more...]

Why Did You Leave Me?

Lil D hoody smiling

I picture it happening like this: He walks in the door, weary after traveling thousands of miles and sitting for hours on a plane, then driving nearly three hours more – across time zones and battling jet lag – and drops his bags and calls out to his son. The edges of the picture fade into a blur and the room goes silent as the focus turns with a sharp clarity onto Lil D, spinning his beads and pacing the length of the family room. It’s time for the big moment, the story-book reunion between fat … [Read more...]


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