Autism Doesn’t End Like That

Daanish holding hands

So much -- and so little -- can happen in 30 days. The woods that spread out from our house are coming to life, with branches going from winter-bare to being covered in lush green. Spring is finally ushering its way in. I sat on our deck on April 2 – World Autism Day – devastated after a heartbreaking day of shocking news about you, and I watched you play. You swung back and forth on the hammock and jumped with abandon on our trampoline. The silence of our neighborhood was punctured by … [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 … [Read more...]

Send Thanks

Lil D making an "acorn" for Thanksgiving with his therapist.

Shukar bhejo, which literally means to “send thanks,” or less literally, send thanks to God – is an Urdu phrase that has been uttered to me by my parents and in-laws and by me to myself, my husband and kids – for as long as I can remember. So this idea of giving thanks has never been harnessed to a single month or a day for me, which goes the same for so many around the world. Still, the Thanksgiving holiday is one I especially love, because although giving thanks is something I hope … [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 … [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 … [Read more...]

It’s Not Just About You

Amal sheparding Lil D on the beach

The only thing predictable about autism and Lil D in our house is that it and he are unpredictable. You can say that about life in general. It’s not a unique characteristic owned by autism or my child in particular. And yet, it is unique to us in its manifestation. We met with Lil D’s speech and occupational therapists last week at school at my request to discuss some things we want to change/try with his assistive communication device (his iPad), as well as figuring out a plan to help … [Read more...]

Loved and Loved Back

Daanish and Amal_soccer

The whole family came out for Amal’s soccer game on Saturday morning – Lil D, Hamza, my husband and myself. I can’t remember the last time we all went to one of her games or one of Hamza’s games. All of us. The kids have been playing with the Ansars soccer league for four years now, and many of these kids have been with Amal on teams since they were five and six years old. Playing with the Ansars is one thing I have tried my best not to compromise for Amal, and now Hamza, even when … [Read more...]


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