Guest Post: What I Learned When I Took a Stand to Bullying

This is a guest post by Shaheer Mirza, a high school student, about his experience with bullying.By Shaheer Mirza“Don’t go near Shaheer!  He has a bomb!”“Terrorist!”“Do you belong to ISIS?”These are the statements I’ve repeatedly heard as a middle school, and now, high school student. When the taunting started in sixth grade, I tried to brush the words off and kept a low profile.  But it was frustrating.  I had done absolutely nothing to my peers, but because I was Muslim, oth … [Read more...]

Conversations with Daughter A: Laying Down Truths in School

Ali Family Autism Truths #7  April 7, 2016Scene: In the car, today, after I picked up daughter A (who is 12 years old) from school then drove over to get D from his school. The following conversation ensued. It’s not word for word accurate, but pretty much spot on.A: So there are these two girls in my gym class, and I don’t mean to be mean about them but …Me: What?A: They’re saying stuff about another boy in P.E. He has some sort of disability – I don’t think its autism – I don’t … [Read more...]

His Theatrical Debut – On Inclusion and Plays in Autism Land

In flipping through his yellow binder, where his teachers and I do our daily communication, I found it.A simple flyer with a simple announcement. But it was everything to me. Everything.We are putting on a play! ********** In our parental autism journey, there came a point when I learned that the so-called "normal" experiences and rites of passages of childhood are not always meant to be -- and that was ok. I didn't feel it so much in the early years after D's diagnosis, when he was in … [Read more...]

I Plan, God Laughs

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” -- Corrie ten BoomA soft plush white ball. A small turquoise blue-striped oblong pillow. A puppy-dog pillow pet. A fuzzy throw that is supposed to be draped on our sofa. These are the four go-to’s for D when he is feeling unwell or his anxiety is up, and he needs to stuff something up his shirt.Usually the signs are clear and indicative of the level of his anxiety or well-being. The arms go in the shirt. The hood goes up on his … [Read more...]

Eligibility Where it Matters Most

Have you read the report, Mrs. Ali?Do you have any questions?One by one, they asked me these two questions – regarding the observation report, speech and language evaluation, education report and the newest one – a functional vision assessment. (We waived the need to do a psychology evaluation this time, as everyone on the team agreed nothing had changed in that area.)Yes, I have read the report.No, I don’t have any questions.(I have a million questions, but none of them perta … [Read more...]

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Last night, after dinner, with my in-laws out visiting my sister-in-law and my husband upstairs putting our youngest to bed, I drew the curtains on the world and called Lil D to join me on the family room sofa. Amal was already there, nose buried in a Nancy Drew mystery. And Lil D came bounding up the stairs. Seeing me on the sofa, no phone in hand, no laptop open nearby – his face lit up.I could almost hear the thoughts in his head: Ahhhh Mamma. We’re going to chill now. No dis … [Read more...]

Heart of Gold

One child needed help understanding the terms of the scientific process when conducting an experiment. Then she needed help with calculations based on absolute numbers. Then another needed help with estimation problems in math. The six-year-old needed to be scolded to get back to coloring his patterns. Another child wanted me to explain what “setting” meant when writing a story. Still another needed to be quizzed for a reading comprehension test. And the eldest, who was prepping for his upcoming … [Read more...]