Autistic and Missing – What Are We Going to Do?

avonte

I stood in the lunchroom of my son’s school watching him go through his routine – get his lunch from the refrigerator, unzip his lunch box and take the Tupperware filled with biryani (of course he had biryani for lunch!) out and wait for his turn at the microwave. Then, when his turn came, he removed the lid and heated up his food, then took it to his table near the window to eat.This was all done with multiple gesture prompts and assistance, redirection, praise and sharp vigilance on the par … [Read more...]

The Inner Circle of Friends

friendship

This was the texting conversation had with a good friend of mine a few days after my family (and a few others) had enjoyed a dinner party at her place: Her- “Oh! And I found Lil D’s underpants. They were in the attic.”Me - “Ha! He went all the way up there? Embarrassing. You have a bathroom up there?”Her - “Yes we do. Don’t worry about it at all. I’ll give it to you next time.”Me - “Thanks. And I’m sorry about that.”Her - “Please, don’t even think about it.”Me - “That’s it – … [Read more...]

Heart of Gold

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...]

A Bus Story – The Small Things That Matter

Bus-Clip-Art2

You guys. You guys!I was working on a post, something I had been mulling over the past two weeks, but I have to put that aside and share this. Because it matters. It’s so small, so seemingly insignificant, but it really, really matters.Lil D came home on the bus today. Since school started up two weeks ago and with my in-laws out of town, I am left to manage the afternoon bus/pick-up schedule by myself most days. With Hamza in kindergarten in a school that doesn’t have bussing, I have to … [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...]

‘Ittefaq’ – Meant to Be

blue contact

I hugged my mom goodbye. Instead of our usual tight and brief hug, I went in for a long one, nestling my head into the crook of her neck, as I’ve done during the times I never wanted to let her go – when she was leaving to go back home after I had given birth to Hamza. Or when I had brought an infant Amal and a newly-autism-diagnosed Lil D to her home for post-partum recovery. Or after I had come home from the hospital after a devastating miscarriage, and she was waiting for me.The hug when w … [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...]


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