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...]

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 good (or bad … [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 emphasis on … [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 eighth … [Read more...]


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