Ali Family Autism Truths #5 – How Inclusive was Your Easter or Passover Service?

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April 5, 2015 – Autism Awareness Month, Ali Family Autism Truths #5 In private conversations with friends today, friends celebrating Easter or having celebrated Passover, we shared some of our frustrations in trying to participate in religious ceremonies and attend services at Houses of Worship with our autistic children. While many churches, synagogues (and even some mosques) and other Houses of Worship have made great strides in tailoring services for all in their congregation, or at the very … [Read more...]

EnabledMuslim – Tackling Disability Inclusion in the Muslim Community

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Sometimes I wonder – what does it matter to him, whether he sets foot in any type of masjid/mosque? My son is definitely unMosqued, as is my entire immediate family, to some degree. Oh, we go to events and Jummah prayers at a mosque where we live, but that connection, that sense of belonging that feeling of strong community? – Yeah, not so much.By this point in our lives, though I want for our mosques and our communities to grow more inclusive of individuals with special needs and their fam … [Read more...]

Rolling the Dice on Race Day

Daanish and his amazing team on Race Day.

We loaded the adaptive jogging stroller into my car as the rain started. I gathered a blanket and a bag with Lil D’s favorite snacks, water, a change of clothes and his go-to manipulatives (beads, natch!) and put everything on the kitchen counter, so we would be ready in the morning. As it was past 11 p.m. and we knew we had to be up at the crack of dawn, my husband headed up to bed. I stayed up and made a batch of mini-muffins, which I figured would be great for an early-morning on-the-go b … [Read more...]

To Those Who Believe that People with Autism Have No Worth, I Have a Message for You

Lil D

We live in a pretty quiet neighborhood – it’s your classic big old-style Southern colonial Virginian houses, complete with magnolia trees out front. Kind of a weird fit for an American Muslim-Indian family with a headscarf-clad mom (me), old school Indian in-laws (who are newly minted American citizens!), husband and three kids, the eldest of whom certainly disrupts the serene scene at times.It’s a neighborhood of kids and school busses, but not teeming with kids playing outside or in the str … [Read more...]

A Ramadan Prayer for Special Needs Families

Ramadan advent calendar

Am I preparing for Ramadan? Yes and no. With my in-laws out of town right now (it's the first Ramadan we're spending apart in several years), I am not worrying so much about pre-cooking and freezing things for dinner and iftaar (in efforts to free up my time from the kitchen during Ramadan). My nine-year-old plans to fast more this month with me ("Mamma, you've got to let me fast more than four times like I did last year," she says to me. Ok little girl, I think. Just you wait until you try and … [Read more...]

Giving Thanks for Good Autism Teachers

autism necklace

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...]

I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

Daanish trampoline

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...]


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