Autism, Childhood and the Perpetual Questions – A Sibling Speaks Up

holding_hands

How do the siblings of individuals with autism cope with the spectrum disorder's grip on their lives? When so much of a family's life revolves around the child with ASD, how do siblings feel about it all -- the questions from friends, having to leave parties early and a thousand other things? How do you handle going to the mosque when half of your family never comes because your brother cannot handle it and the community isn't the most welcoming? I wonder what my own two younger children feel in … [Read more...]

Trying Not to Be That Person

autism meme

I don’t want to be that person. I really don’t. But I find myself being that person despite my best intentions. I don’t want to be that person who attends a big party having left her eldest son at home (a boy who, because of his intense autism, cannot handle the lateness of the evening, the menu, amount of people and general loud and crowded party atmosphere) and has trouble making small talk because all she thinks is, Really? We’re going to comment on the décor of the room or how … [Read more...]

An Autism Report Card

report card

After years upon years of scrutinizing progress reports and hashing out (and assessing) IEPs (individualized education plan – what special education students have written for them in lieu of following a set school curriculum), I got Lil D’s year-end report card today with percentages listed for his final grades. These percentages translate to letter grades. My son has never received letter grades in his life, as his IEPs have addressed the most basic of academic skills with a heavy … [Read more...]

The 15th of Shabaan – Childhood Memories Versus Parenting Decisions

qurans-in-a-mosque

I have very vivid memories of the things we did on the 15th of Sha’ban growing up – we threw down hard on Shabaan, with extra ibadat (worship), nafil (extra) prayers and of course fatiha (reciting prayers over some food as an offering of blessings, not to be confused with the Al-Fatiha - the first surah in the Quran). I never questioned where what we did fell in the realm of Islamic practices. My parents did these things on this date and as their kids, we followed along. Shabaan is the … [Read more...]

Fatherly (Baba-erly) Appreciation

The husband and I celebrated our 14th anniversary last week. We continue to (Alhamdulillah) defy the odds of marriages that break up under the stress of dealing with special needs, and is because of compromises we’ve made, respect and support we give each other, how we own various duties and roles in our lives and because we have tremendous family support. Our family works, in large part, because of him and what he’s given up/taken on/gained/lost/learned/unlearned/adapted/loved/changed … [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...]

Not Today

Hamza pulls his arms inside his t-shirt too, so he can be just like Lil D.

Something is wrong. I can see it; I can feel it in my bones. Lil D is off, and as I go back through things in my head and track the data sheets that I (and his school) maintain, I see an alarming rise in incontinence – the fancy word for pee accidents. Lots and lots of pee accidents.  I just threw out his old mattress, knowing it was beyond cleaning at this point, and got him a new one. And that new one is encased in an allergen-mattress cover with a vinyl cover on top of that, plus double … [Read more...]


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