Equal is not the Same

The siblings massage Lil D's feet on the ride to his grandparents' house

Don’t let the dictionary fool you. Equal does not mean same. At least not when it comes to parenting.I’m sitting on the sofa helping my husband plan a special trip with our daughter for her spring break. A trip where just the two of them will go away to a cool city and spend four days enjoying each other’s company. He will leave the office and meetings and call schedules and family obligations behind, and get to know what is going on in her 10-year-old mind. And hopefully they’ll build some w … [Read more...]

The Jenin Autism Project – Community Awareness with an Autism Lecture at Al Quds University

103 people in attendence

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...]

What Would He Say?

Daanish and Dilshad at the lake

My friend tagged me in a post on Facebook – a beautiful video made of moms being asked how they would describe themselves as mothers. And in the snippets aired, the moms all talked about things they didn’t like about themselves as parents, or wanted to improve:Be more patience.Think before speaking.Be more confident as a mother.Then, the moms were brought back to watch videos of their children describing them. And here, the way the children viewed their mothers conveyed what was s … [Read more...]

Embracing (and Including) Autism and Special Needs Families in Muslim Communities

crescent and star clouds

The day after speaking at the 50th annual Islamic Society of North American conference in Washington, D.C., I was back at home in my basement hanging with Lil D. He was roaming about, spinning his beads and calling “Maw-maw! Maw-maw! Maw-maw” – very much caught up in his stim and oblivious to the world. Every so often he stopped and would come close to me, put his face in mine and say nonsensical words like “Oweeowee owee. Maw-maw! Maw-maw!”As if to say – ok Mamma, you had an audience, you sa … [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...]

Ingratitude in the Face of Gratitude – the Autism Oxymoron

Daanish adn Dilshad nose to nose

I finally broke at 1:02 a.m. this morning – July 26, on the 17th fast of Ramadan the day before our big trip. The deluge began with this text to one of my best friends:“I am so sad to leave Lil D. Eff autism. Not fasting right now – I can say that, right?”To which my friend replied, “I’ve been waiting for this text …”And I answered, “Eff eff eff eff eff autism. He should be coming with me. … I should not be leaving my son for a month. … I’m feeling like a bad mom …”And we went bac … [Read more...]

An Autism Unbound from the Rituals of Ramadan

Autism puzzle

In no way is he part of any of our Ramadan rituals.He does not get up for suhoor, the pre-dawn, pre-fast meal, because he is not obligated to fast nor can he tolerate fasting. And, to disrupt his sleep so that he could just join us at that early part of the morning would be asking for major trouble.He does not read the Quran (But we read it to him. He is nonverbal and can’t read English, let alone Arabic, but he can repeat an approximation of the shahada). He does not stand with his s … [Read more...]


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