He Knew

This is Day 16 of the Ali Family #AutismTruths – April 16, 2017.Dear God,I see what you did there. You knew what you were doing. Of course, you did.On the last day of spring break, when I was feeling this side of exhausted and a bit down for really no good reason, you sent to my home an unexpected visit with a friend and family I had never met before. And you said to me – think beyond your world, Dilshad. Think beyond what D is able to do and not able to do. Think beyond the cha … [Read more...]

Ali Family Autism Truths #27 – The Friends We Make Along the Way

April 27, 2015, Autism Awareness Month, Autism Truths #27At a birthday party we attended yesterday, the theme was superheroes. The kids were running around in padded superhero costumes, some with capes flying out behind them as they darted in and out of the house, bobbing and weaving through the adults. Teenage girls, the friends of the birthday boy's older sister, were also decked out in teenage-versions of superhero costumes. They were giggling, laughing, taking selfies and scarfing down … [Read more...]

Autism and the (Desi) Dinner Party

This is the first time I’ve seen you looking relaxed, she said to me.Really?You always looked tense. This is the first time you don’t.Uh, thanks, I said to her. It didn’t take a genius to know what the difference was between this party and all the others we had attended prior to it – it was the first time we had decided not to bring Lil D with us and had left him home with a babysitter.We have some desi (South Asian) cultural traditions that are pretty set in stone – parties are … [Read more...]

The Inner Circle of Friends

This was the texting conversation had with a good friend of mine a few days after my family (and a few others) had enjoyed a dinner party at her place: Her- “Oh! And I found Lil D’s underpants. They were in the attic.”Me - “Ha! He went all the way up there? Embarrassing. You have a bathroom up there?”Her - “Yes we do. Don’t worry about it at all. I’ll give it to you next time.”Me - “Thanks. And I’m sorry about that.”Her - “Please, don’t even think about it.”Me - “That’s it – … [Read more...]

An Eid without Lil D and Autism

It was a pretty monumental end to Ramadan 2013 for our family, as we celebrated the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday here in Hyderabad, India, completing what was my first experience fasting and celebrating this Eid outside of the United States. My hands have mendhi (henna) on them, I ate more than my fair share of sheer khorma, and we met more family in one day on Eid than I ever have before. We managed to stuff the day with Eid prayers, Friday prayers, a stellar biryani lunch (natch) for any and all family … [Read more...]

The Bismillah – Preserving Dignity in an Autism Life

Family and guests are arriving, the food is cooked to feed everyone at the house, the batwas (party favors) have been filled and labels added, the laddus (classic Indo-Pakistani dessert) are made, the decorations for the hall are ready, and the food for the party is coming together. It’s Bismillah time at our house.A Bismillah is a cultural/religious occasion (it’s not mandated in Islam), a ceremony that marks when a child is ready to learn how to read the Quran. Typically, it happens when a … [Read more...]

I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

When the phone rang at 1:25 p.m. yesterday, I knew who it was before I picked it up: Lil D's teacher calling me to come get him because he was too worked up (or potentially on the verge of a meltdown, or coming off a meltdown) to ride the bus.I'm prepared for this. I've let go of so many "norms" for Lil D these past months that the new autism norm in our house (and isn't that an oxymoron?) is sadly quite minimalistic.We've let go of so many years-old programs and expectations and demands … [Read more...]