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Hello, I am Autism Aware

Zeba Khan

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For those of you in Dubai, the Dubai International Peace Convention was two weekends ago, and I was an exhibitor there.  Oh, yeah.  And I had stickers.  And I stuck them on people.

They said “Hello, I am: Autism Aware” and in order to earn one, you had to be naïve enough to be disarmed by my cheesy grin and then ambushed with “So, what do you know about autism!”

Then, if you were patient enough to nod through my five minute presentation/tirade on what autism is, why early recognition is important, and how to recognize it in a child as young as two (Poor eye contact, less than six words, lack of social interaction) and if you nodded at all the right bits and laughed at my attempts at funny bits, you got a sticker.  Whether you wanted one or not.

(When a child isn’t talking by a certain age and the parents get worried, people typically say: Give him time! My friend knew this guy who had an uncle who didn’t talk until he was six, and now he’s a ninja-neuroscientist-pastry chef-professor!  *rimshot* But actually, any child who isn’t talking by the age of two should have autism ruled out before any more time is allowed to pass.)

It was cool actually, people would come to the autism awareness stall because they had seen someone else wearing a “Hello, I am: Autism Aware” sticker and they sought us out because:

A)      They wanted a sticker too -or-

B)      They didn’t know was autism was but they wanted to find out -or-

C)      They knew very well what autism was and wanted to compare notes

I met school kids who giggled and slapped stickers on each other, parents whose children were in other centers, teachers who were sure they had undiagnosed cases in their own classes, doctors who were not sure who to refer children to, and lots and lots of young mothers who I accosted with a flier that had some warning signs of autism divided by age from 18 months to four years.

I also met:

  •  Dr. Zakir Naik, briefly, surrounded by his entourage, as he made the rounds of all the stalls at the convention.  He politely listened to my autism awareness tirade before the entourage juggernaut rolled onward to the next stall.  He seemed like a nice man, MashaAllah.
  • The mother of a nice young volunteer, who came to the stall out of politeness and left somberly with a “Signs of Autism” checklist in her hands with way too many underlined to take to her own non-verbal, hand-flapping, head-banging nephew.
  •  A man who, when cheerfully ambushed with my typical “So, what do you know about autism!” replied with a slow blink, some agonizing moments, and the shaky reply of “I know that it destroys your life.”  He turned out to be an autism parent.
  •  A little boy with Asperger’s syndrome and his mother.  He didn’t say a single word, and he stood reading a book the entire time his mother and I chatted, but he did look up and laugh at my one ninja-neuroscientist-pastry chef-professor joke before re-immersing himself in his book.
  •  A father who was just passing by when he saw the word autism and stopped because he had just been told the day before by a concerned friend that his son might have autism.  He got the ‘Where to get help’ flier.

My duty at the Dubai International Peace Convention was four hours on Thursday and then nine hours on Friday and twelve hours on Saturday.  It was emotionally intense, not just because I had to talk non-stop, but because I met so many people with terrible fears that were completely founded.  SubhanAllahiWabihamdihi– my son has progressed to the point where we have hopes for him being able to get through primary school, InshaAllah.  Most other parents get the door slammed in their face right from KG and it is never opened to them again, and here I was telling them: There is hope!  But not for you, because your son is ten now! And hope has a waiting list! And based on the misery in your eyes, you couldn’t afford it anyway!

Allah u Akbar.  A person who never speaks won’t be held accountable for lies, but it is agony for the parents every single day.  Their child will never go to school, they will grow into an adult who cannot provide for their own needs- forget having a job- will they ever be able to dress themselves?

Let that question mark hang there for a moment, and imagine an old widow trying to care for an adult male who communicates by hitting, punching, and breaking- who collapses at home one day and no ambulance is called because her adult son can’t speak let alone use a phone.

When is she discovered? In what state will her son be at that time?  Who among her relatives will take care of an adult male who cannot bathe himself?  What institution will care for him? If he runs out of the house, confused by the noise and the ambulance and the strangers, who will chase him down and bring him back home to safety?   If he fights the well-meaning strangers trying to take him home, how many of them will stay calm and keep trying after the first time they’re hit in the face or bitten in his panic?  A better question to ask might be: what color car will hit him first?

These are the questions I ask myself when I meet other families with autism, and the only light in the darkness of that scenario is that Allah knows best.

He does.  Allah knows best.  And we suffer in this life so that we can be rewarded in the next, but never beyond  what we are able to cope with.  Allah will care for the grown man with autism, and nothing will happen to him that Allah has not willed and has not deemed to be good for his status in the Akhirah.  I was asked, by one woman at the conference, how I could even think of having other children (I have three) after my first child was discovered to have autism.  I told her that it must be good for him- maybe if my son didn’t have autism he would have been a thief, a rapist, or a murderer.  Or worse- he could have been a very successful and handsome intellectual sort of young man who fell in love with the dunya and left Islam to become one of its enemies because it was easier and more glamorous than being one of its defenders.  There are worse things than being autistic- getting your account in your left hand on the Day of Judgment is definitely one of them.

 

My son was kicking the wall last night at 10:30 pm.  I went into his room and asked him if everything was alright.  He sat up in bed and said, in his funny robotic way:

“I have – a –secret – Idea.”

I smiled in the dark.  My son is verbal, Alhamdulillah, and after years of wondering what he was thinking when he sat staring into space for hours, I sometimes get to find out.

“You have a secret idea? Really? What is it?

“I’m thinking- what is charity? Is it an idea?”

Two days ago, one of his ABA therapists was helping him with a worksheet in which he was supposed to sort a pile of nouns into categories- people, things, and ideas.  A fireman is a person, a car is a thing, a discovery is an idea.  Charity was not in that list.

“Yes, charity is when we give things to other people to make Allah happy with us. It’s something we do, but it’s not a person or a thing. It’s an idea.”

“Ok.”

“Good night Khalid.”

“Ok.”

He dives back onto his pillow and I can hear him kicking the wall again later, but I know he’s awake because he’s busy sorting nouns in his head.  On some nights I go into his room hours after he’s “gone to bed” because I can hear him talking to himself, and he’s reciting Dubai street names and road numbers. (Two seconds ago: “Baniyas road. Baniyas. Baniyas road.”) I went into his room one night at 11 pm and asked him if he was feeling alright because I could hear him flipping around in bed.

“Khalid, do you need help?”

“Yes, where’s TECOM?”

“Near Barsha. After Mall of the Emirates. Before Knowledge Village I think. Good night.”

“Ok.”

He’s asleep right now, and in our little home, all is the right with the world.  Throughout Dubai, and the UAE, and the rest of the world where one in eighty-eight children are diagnosed with the nearly crippling developmental delay of autism all is still right with the world. 

For Muslim parents, autism is the opportunity to have the false pretenses of societal expectations and wealth and family pride and superiority forcibly stripped away from the core responsibilities of what it means to be both Muslim and parent.  You don’t need to worry about keeping up with the Joneses- they stopped inviting you over after that meltdown one time and don’t call anymore once they found out your son had special needs.  Trust in Allah and take care of your child.  His disability is a gift, because accountability is harsh.  Worry more for yourself than for him and whether you are able to justice to your child without growing to hate what his label stands for, and have faith- really- in Allah’s plan without allowing Shaytan to plant the seed of bitterness in your heart with what Allah has willed for you.

May Allah have mercy on us all, and give us the patience and Taqwa to see even our disabilities as opportunities for Jannah.

Please speak with a specialist immediately if your child:

By 18 months:

  •  Doesn’t point to show things to others
  •  Can’t walk
  •  Doesn’t know what familiar things are for
  •  Doesn’t copy others
  •  Doesn’t gain new words
  •  Doesn’t have at least 6 words
  •  Doesn’t notice or mind when a caregiver leaves or returns

By 2 years:

  •  Doesn’t use 2-word phrases (for example, “drink milk”)
  •  Doesn’t know what to do with common things, like a brush, phone, fork, spoon
  •  Doesn’t copy actions and words
  •  Doesn’t follow simple instructions
  •  Doesn’t walk steadily
  •  Loses skills she once had

By 3 years:

  •  Can’t work simple toys (such as peg boards, simple puzzles, turning handle)
  •  Doesn’t speak in sentences
  •  Doesn’t understand simple instructions
  •  Doesn’t play pretend or make-believe
  •  Doesn’t want to play with other children or with toys
  •  Avoids or doesn’t make eye contact
  •  Loses skills he once had

By 4 years:

  •  Has trouble scribbling
  •  Shows no interest in interactive games or make-believe
  •  Ignores other children or doesn’t respond to people outside the family
  •  Resists dressing, sleeping, and using the toilet
  •  Can’t retell a favorite story
  •  Doesn’t follow 3-part commands
  •  Doesn’t understand “same” and “different”
  •  Doesn’t use “me” and “you” correctly
  •  Speaks unclearly
  •  Loses skills he once had

The signs of autism- excerpted from The Mayo Clinic website:

Some children show signs of autism in early infancy. Other children may develop normally for the first few months or years of life but then suddenly become withdrawn, become aggressive or lose language skills they’ve already acquired. Though each child with autism is likely to have a unique pattern of behavior, these are some common autism symptoms:

Social skills

  • Fails to respond to his or her name
  • Has poor eye contact
  • Appears not to hear you at times
  • Resists cuddling and holding
  • Appears unaware of others’ feelings
  • Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her “own world”

Language

  • Starts talking later than age 2, and has other developmental delays by 30 months
  • Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
  • Doesn’t make eye contact when making requests
  • Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
  • Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
  • May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them

Behavior

  • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
  • Develops specific routines or rituals
  • Becomes disturbed at the slightest change in routines or rituals
  • Moves constantly
  • May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car
  • May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch and yet oblivious to pain

Zeba Khan is the Director of Development for MuslimMatters.org, as well as a writer, speaker, and disability awareness advocate. In addition to having a child with autism, she herself lives with Ehlers-Danlos Sydrome, Dysautonomia, Mast-Cell Activation Disorder, and a random assortment of acronyms that collectively translate to chronic illness and progressive disability.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Hannah

    April 30, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    I love your conversations with Khalid! Thanks for the valuable info. jazakAllah khair. do you know where I could look for possible causes and theories of autism?

    • Avatar

      Rkundi

      April 30, 2012 at 3:55 AM

      Hannah – I am also very interested in finding The causes. From what people have told me, seems like a true cause is not known. Howevers, theories abound; i have depfinitely read about a correlation with age of the mother (older women are more prone bear an autistic child). Anyone else with other scientifically rooted causes, please do add to this thread.

      • Avatar

        Timor

        April 30, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        There will be a conference in Chicago about Autism at the end of May which I will be attending. The title of the Conference is “the Dawn of a new Decade, from Truth to Treatment”. You may find more info on it on this website 
        http://www.autismone.org/

    • Avatar

      Zeba Khan

      May 1, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      At the moment sister, AllahuAalim. :)  Some sub-types of Autism, like Fragile X syndrome, have an identifiable genetic link, but the others are still a mystery, despite what people say about diet, vaccines, and toxins- we can identify influencing factors but so far no cause.  Apart from Allah willing that there is good in it for us. :)

  2. Avatar

    StrandedMom

    April 30, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Thank you sister. I love your articles and your blog! Salams and Jazak Allah Khayr! From your sister in Islam and autism!

    • Abez

      Abez

      May 9, 2012 at 4:20 AM

      >>>hugs<<< Wa Iyakum my sister in Islam and Autism

  3. Avatar

    Uzair Sarmast

    April 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    As salaamu Alaikum

    Jazakallah Khair for sharing this important information with the general public; everyone either has children of their own or knows someone who does. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help your efforts.

    Uzair

  4. Avatar

    Mraamohamed

    April 30, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Hello, I was there I was at the conference and it was great you had some really good info, and I am sorry to say I did not get a sticker.  

    • Abez

      Abez

      May 9, 2012 at 4:21 AM

      I am terribly sorry! I had to peel the backs of the stickers off in batches and put them on the back of the podium, some people who I spoke to came in between sticker batches, and you must have been one of them.  Please accept my apologies.  

  5. Avatar

    Yasmin

    April 30, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Jazakallah khair for sharing some of the key warning signs of autism. Inshallah, Allah (swt) will reward you for all of your hard work!

  6. Avatar

    ummhafs

    April 30, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    very touching article. i love your son and his innocence. you can see that Islam is alive in his heart. May Allah make Islam your son’s only way of life; may he be able to deliver the message of this beautiful deen with his innocent robotic way of talking or as an eloquent da’ee. and may he truly learn what charity fi sabilillah is so that it may be a witness for him on the DOJ. May Allah increase your status to that of our righteous mothers, who also supported men through the most trying of times.

  7. Avatar

    Tallat Choudry

    April 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Nutritional deficiencies result in neurological imbalances.This can be corrected by  eliminating all sugars,white flour products and junk food. Eat fresh, bright colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and deep- sea- salmon. Supplement with natural vitamins; eat organic and avoid anything that is boxed,bottled or canned to prevent chemical additives such as preservatives,food colors,etc.Chemicals even in minute quantities act as hormones in the body and could trigger growth of cancer cells.Sugar makes the body weak and feeds bacteria.

    Tallat Choudry
    Naturopath-Nutritional Consultant

    • Avatar

      Timor

      April 30, 2012 at 11:55 PM

      Mr. Choudry I agree with you even a normal person should avoid junk food, process boxed foods etc. but I disagree if you were referring the cause of autism is nutritional dificiencies in persons brain. You see my son was diagnosed with autism 2 weeks after his 2nd birthday. We tried every died that was recommended by so called experts in their fields. We even tried casein free, dairy free, yeast free and Glutin free diet for 9 months, no results. We even give up all fruit drinks only water. He is now 3 and half years old tall handsome. But he has no speech, does not socialize has’nt been potty trained. I guess what I’m trying to say is no one except Allah knows what causes this disease and so far there is no cure for it. But I have read many stories that people under the spectrum has lived a normal lives and even gone to college and gotten married. With Allah’a help iA i believe my son will be ok too.

  8. Avatar

    Aishah M Nasarruddin

    May 1, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    thank you for raising the awareness on autism sister. May Allah reward you.

  9. Avatar

    Abu Omar

    May 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Thank you for this article. I am also the parent of an
    autisitc son and the difficulty and pain that we have experienced as a family
    is simply beyond words. However, as you
    mentioned, there are deep spiritual lessons contained within these trials and
    my relationship with Allah is stronger and truer because of this experience.  To be tested through one’s children is a
    common motif in the lives of the greatest Prophets, from Ibrahim to Yaqub to
    our Prophet Muhammad (alayhim-assalam), and Allah’s wisdom in testing us in this
    manner is truly deep and profound. I have personally found tremendous comfort
    in surah Yusuf; its portrayal of a grief stricken father who never gives up on
    his son or his Lord has lessons for us all.

    I also wanted to say a few things regarding current
    trends regarding autism treatment which were not mentioned in your article. I
    do not know if it is because you do not support these trends or if it is because
    you are not aware of them, but I’ll say my two cents and leave it at that. When
    my son’s autism diagnosis was finalized, I was in the fortunate situation to
    have a job where I had a lot of free time (tech industry) and I began to
    basically pour nearly my entire waking hours into reading about autism, reading
    about 8 hours a day of various articles and books, and sometimes over 2000
    emails from message boards and support groups. My mind was not able to think
    about anything else. That period of research unearthed a few very important
    things, the most important being that some kids have been able to make a full
    recovery from autism; not just work within the framework of the illness (“work
    with it”) but rather escape all the effects of the illness itself: their
    sensory perceptions, their social interactions and empathy, and even their
    muscle tone (hypotonia is common in autistic kids) and balance all normalize.
    The treatment that lead to these results revolved around several concepts, each
    tailored to fit the puzzle that each child’s manifestation of autism
    represented. Keep in mind that I am not a medical doctor, but all of the concepts
    expressed below do come from doctors or medical researchers. Most if not all of
    these ideas are disputed and it’s up to the parent to decide which side of the
    debate they support.

    1. Diet. This is a common theme amongst kids that have been
    successfully treated. A large number of autistic kids are intolerant of casein
    (found in milk) and/or gluten (found in wheat), proteins that share a similar molecular
    structure. This inability to digest these proteins leads to the presence of
    casomorphin in the body, a peptide with opioid properties; basically the kid is
    “stoned” with a morphine-like substance. The Gluten Free Casein Free diet
    address this problem.

     In addition, many
    kids suffer from a strong presence of fungal and “bad” bacteria in the gut,
    which is fed by sugars and simple carbohydrates. A  diet that eliminates these substance, such as
    the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, addresses this. My son regained eye contact
    after we implemented a GFCF and SCD diet and his sociability improved.

    2. Gut health. As I mentioned, many kids, my son included,
    suffer from infestations of fungus and bad bacteria in their GI tract, and also
    an absence of good bacteria. These can be treated with oral anti fungals, diet,
    and probiotics to restore good gut flora. My son’s stools and good flora
    improved tremendously because of this and he also stopped itching and
    scratching himself, but there did not seem to be any behavioral improvements.

    3. MB12. MB12 is a form of the B12 vitamin and it is
    essential in what is called the methylation cycle, a very important detoxification
    process that occurs in the body. I can’t recall a lot of the details regarding
    this topic, but MB12 is a very important facilitator in this process. This
    treatment was a key part of the recover for many children, but my son had no
    response. Dr.Neubrander in New Jersey is a pioneer and perhaps the foremost
    authority in using this treatment (in combination with diet and supplementation)
    and you can see many testimonials on his site.

    4. Anti-virals. For many kids, my son included, there are
    indicators of a hidden viral infection or exacerbated immune response to a
    viral infection. My son’s rubella titers were well beyond the levels that would
    indicated immunity post vaccination. For some kids, treating with anti-viral
    drugs leads to full recovery, however my son did not seem to benefit from this.
    For a truly inspiring and detailed story of one boy who recovered fully from
    his autism as a result of diet, supplementation, and anti-fungal and anti-viral
    therapy, look up Stan Kurtz. I can’t recommend his blog/website enough. He
    includes great video documentation.

    5. Chelation. This is less common, but still prevalent and
    we recently discovered this problem in our son. Some autistic kid have
    abnormally high level of toxic metals in their bodies, such as mercury, lead,
    and arsenic, all of which have extremely detrimental effects on neural function
    in adults, let alone developing babies and toddlers. Possible sources of
    contamination include lead paint and dental amalgams (“silver” fillings) made
    with mercury. My son’s doctor was very surprised to find a high level of
    mercury in my son and we began chelation, which is the administration of a drug
    that binds to toxic metals in the body, allowing it to be excreted through
    urine. After the first round of chelation, my son responded to his name for the
    first time and his sociability has improved significantly. We are currently
    undergoing this process.

    That’s all that I can recall off the top of my head for now.
    My son was diagnosed at 2 and is now 4 and we have seen some improvement that
    we are trying to be thankful for. Like I mentioned, all the ideas above are
    disputed, particularly by the mainstream medical community, but I feel that the
    theory and results of these treatments are solid enough to make worth looking
    into. If interested in investigating these ideas more, I recommend checking out
    the websites and videos of the following 3 doctors:

    Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, in New Jersey.

    Dr. James Neubrander, in California.

    Dr. Kenneth Bock, in New York. Great youtube videos.

    And like I said, I have tremendous admiration for the website
    of Stan Kurtz.

    I recommend the following books as starters:

    1. Healing and Preventing Autism: A complete guide by Dr.
    Jerry Kartzinel

    2. Healing the New Childhood Epidemics by Dr. Kenneth Bock

    In terms of seeking treatment, I recommend evaluating the 3
    doctors mentioned above and seeing whose approach seems most thorough and
    promising. The unfortunate reality is that these treatments are expensive and
    will not be covered by insurance, since the current majority opinion of the
    medical community does not consider autism to be a treatable condition, at
    least not medically. After my son’s diagnosis, Allah provided me with a job with
    a 30% increase in salary and I was able to provide the care that I felt he
    needed, walhamdulillah. I wish you and all the other parents of autistic kids
    the best, and Allah knows best.

     

    • Avatar

      Timor

      May 2, 2012 at 9:42 PM

      Salam Alaikum brother Abu Omar,

      Looks like your son and my son are almost at same age, and we have been taking the same approach in seeking treatments.  I like to get in contact with you and share some notes and like to learn more about the researches you have done.    my email is timor@live.com.

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  11. Avatar

    Hamza 21

    May 2, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    From your conversations with your son Khalid  I believe he will do well in the future. Have you seen this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV_CcmLlaw4

    There’s hope for the future.

    • Avatar

      Ummi

      May 5, 2012 at 2:35 AM

      I am the mother of an almost 5 year old who  was diagnosed as autistic when he was just under 2 years of age.

      Alhamdulillah there are many people who have the means, resources and
      insurance coverage to try anything and everything under the  sun for
      their child.

      Sadly, there are so many more families who cannot try every approach possible, and we are one.

      My son is the youngest of 5 siblings, and I knew by 18 months that
      something was not quite right. His skills disappeared, he
      did not respond to his name,  never made eye contact, the speech he once
      had became babble chatter, hands flapping, hitting his head, fixation
      with spinning.  He was diagnosed as being severely autistic. Both my
      husband and I read,and read,and read. The more we read, the more we did
      not know what approach to take.

      This forum affords me anonymity,and I will say that nothing hurts a
      parent more than the inability to help their own child or provide the
      necessary resources for them. Being in contact with various forums,
      support groups , other families with autistic children was very
      comforting.

      We applied for every government program available and received some.
      Other well wishers told us of other approaches, either it was something
      we simply could not afford or it was not available through other means. 

      I believed then and I do still believe that one is tested through their
      children. I love all of my children, but this youngest one has stolen my
      heart. He is the love of my life, the light in my life. He has the
      shiniest, naughtiest,  twinkling brown eyes, and an infectious laugh
      that will make you laugh and cry with joy. My feelings were quite
      different 3 years ago. Tantrum, meltdown after meltdown, screeching and
      screeching wore my family out. The other children did not want to be
      around him, nobody wanted ‘us’ around them. My husband and I fought, my
      husband started to stay away from home. But that was 3 years ago.

      Just prior to his 4th birthday, my son  become somewhat verbal. 
      Alhmadulillah.  We have a long, bumpy way to go..but I have faith that
      my son is improving day by day. We have strong eye contact, he responds
      to his name when he feels like it. He became toilet trained by his 3rd
      birthday. No more spinning around, staring at spinning objects for hours
      on end.

      One of his first words was “Allah”. Now he says the dua for going to
      sleep at night and will say it at least 5 times. His version of the dua
      is “Allah umma, bissika, amootu was asiya” ,and I cannot make him say it
      better than that. Allah SWT is truly the Most Merciful and Forgiving.

      The past month has  seen an enormous change in his diet. Whereas his
      diet consisted of white/beige bland foods, now he is trying various
      foods, all home cooked meals. I feel he is making up for what he has
      missed. Today he ate ground chicken and rice. he loves to drink milk,
      has developed a taste for sweet corn and maple and brown sugar oatmeal. I
      truly did not believe I would see this happen.He is hyper sensitive to
      taste, textures, light, stimuli. He despises the spoon to touch his
      lips. Brushing teeth is  a nightmare, taking a bath is a ritual that
      takes place every 10 days, otherwise it is a sponge bath.

      We have many ‘bad’ days, but the ‘good’ days make up for it. His
      doctors, therapists, and teachers are very pleased with his progress and
      we are cautiously optimistic as to what the future holds.

      I really do wonder if he was misdiagnosed in the first place. I am
      scared and hopeful for the future..and in the end Allah knows best. My
      duaas are with you all, for each family that has a special child as mine. and we are one.

      My son is the youngest of 5 siblings, and I knew by 18 months that
      something was not quite right. The skills he once had disappeared, he
      did not respond to his name,  never made eye contact, the speech he once
      had became babble chatter, hands flapping, hitting his head, fixation
      with spinning.  He was diagnosed as being severely autistic. Both my
      husband and I read,and read,and read. The more we read, the more we did
      not know what approach to take.

      This forum affords me anonymity,and I will say that nothing hurts a
      parent more than the inability to help their own child or provide the
      necessary resources for them. Being in contact with various forums,
      support groups , other families with autistic children was very
      comforting.

      We applied for every government program available and received some.
      Other well wishers told us of other approaches, either it was something
      we simply could not afford or it was not available through other means. 

      I believed then and I do still believe that one is tested through their
      children. I love all of my children, but this youngest one has stolen my
      heart. He is the love of my life, the light in my life. He has the
      shiniest, naughtiest,  twinkling brown eyes, and an infectious laugh
      that will make you laugh and cry with joy. My feelings were quite
      different 3 years ago. Tantrum, meltdown after meltdown, screeching and
      screeching wore my family out. The other children did not want to be
      around him, nobody wanted ‘us’ around them. My husband and I fought, my
      husband started to stay away from home. But that was 3 years ago.

      Just prior to his 4th birthday, my son  become somewhat verbal. 
      Alhmadulillah.  We have a long, bumpy way to go..but I have faith that
      my son is improving day by day. We have strong eye contact, he responds
      to his name when he feels like it. He became toilet trained by his 3rd
      birthday. No more spinning around, staring at spinning objects for hours
      on end.

      One of his first words was “Allah”. Now he says the dua for going to
      sleep at night and will say it at least 5 times. His version of the dua
      is “Allah umma, bissika, amootu was asiya” ,and I cannot make him say it
      better than that. Allah SWT is truly the Most Merciful and Forgiving.

      The past month has  seen an enormous change in his diet. Whereas his
      diet consisted of white/beige bland foods, now he is trying various
      foods, all home cooked meals. I feel he is making up for what he has
      missed. Today he ate ground chicken and rice. he loves to drink milk,
      has developed a taste for sweet corn and maple and brown sugar oatmeal. I
      truly did not believe I would see this happen.He is hyper sensitive to
      taste, textures, light, stimuli. He despises the spoon to touch his
      lips. Brushing teeth is  a nightmare, taking a bath is a ritual that
      takes place every 10 days, otherwise it is a sponge bath.

      We have many ‘bad’ days, but the ‘good’ days make up for it. His
      doctors, therapists, and teachers are very pleased with his progress and
      we are cautiously optimistic as to what the future holds.

      I really do wonder if he was misdiagnosed in the first place. We did discuss this recently with his doctors etc, but they stand by their evaluations.  I am
      scared and hopeful for the future..and in the end Allah knows best. My
      duaas are with you all, for each family that has a child as special as mine.

  12. Avatar

    Gluten Derek

    May 23, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Thanks for this post. It
    Very nice article. It was a very good article. I like it. Thanks for sharing
    knowledge. Ask you to share good article again.

    http://www.felicitysglutenfreehandbook.com

  13. Avatar

    gluten12

    May 25, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Fantastic article just
    about college! Without any doubts all of us meet any problems with thesis . It
    is specially problematic when you have another privilege in life. I have had
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  14. Pingback: Islam, Autism and Life « TSP Muslim

  15. Avatar

    TSPMuslim

    May 26, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    As salaamu alaikum, Jazak Allahu khair for the reminder. It helped me to start “dealing”.

    My thoughts and ideas and I mentioned your article ukhti.
    Islam, Autism and Life: http://tspmuslim.com/islam-autism-life/

  16. Pingback: Three Good Reasons You Shouldn't Give Me Money | Abez | MuslimMatters.org

  17. Avatar

    fathima

    June 12, 2014 at 10:10 PM

    Salaams everybody,

    Peace and blessings to you all. My son is 9 and even though he was diagnosed at 4 and later at 7, I see him as perfectly normal. He can communicate very clearly with me and his greatest wish at the moment is to have friends. For a child who started talking late, the many hours of therapy and myself as a strong advocate for him as helped in his progress. However, as Zeba mentioned, the door is literally shut in their faces from Kindergarten and onwards. The regular schools won’t provide the support he needs to succeed, the private schools will not accept him as he has fallen behind in his work and the special schools are financially crippling and will keep you hanging on for years with no guaranteed results. He suffers from gut inflammation and we are still trying to heal him. The local mosque will not accept him in the Sunday school program because he needs extra attention. Although he was happy to be with the rest of the kids in the Sunday school program, he was lost in the class. It was shameful on their part, because had they made him feel welcome and understood his needs better, he could have continued going as he wished and possibly absorbed some lessons. The society we live in needs to be aware that these children can improve with therapy, inclusion and the belief that they can do anything… I believe there is a cure for anything…. whether the Creator will make it happen for our children is his decision. It is up to us, as parents, since we are their only real advocates, to keep doing whatever we can to make it better for them.

  18. Avatar

    Kevin Dunphy

    July 27, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    I have four children on the spectrum and four who are not. There was a time that for a year or so, I couldn’t even go to the Khutba on Friday because my kids were too disruptive. I was a single father then and couldn’t afford day care. No one at the mesjid wanted to take them even just long enough for me to go to the Khutba. My non-Muslim family didn’t help either. They didn’t think that going to the mesjid was important. Very discouraging.

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#Life

Jannah Wall Art | MuslimKidsMatter

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Assalam Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh

Jannah Wall Art

We thought long and hard about what to focus on this Ramadan. We decided it would be motivation! The desire to do pray has to spring from motivation. Being obedient to parents has to spring from motivation. Racing to do any good deed has to spring from motivation. Children love rewards and what better reward and motivator to focus on, than Jannah itself, the best and ultimate reward.

Each day in Ramadan, the challenge is to read a description or two of Jannah, cut out a petal, and write the description in a few words on the petal. Children then need to stick the petals next to each other to make a flower. By the end of Ramadan, the children will have made a beautiful flower containing the descriptions of Jannah to hang up on their walls to remind them why they need to pray, be good to their parents, give charity and accumulate as many good deeds as possible.

Everything has been provided for you including the descriptions of Jannah, the petal template, a sample of what the flower should look like and step by step instructions. You just need to print and execute!

GET YOUR FREE RESOURCE NOW

https://ilmburst.lpages.co/ilm-burst-ramadan-treat

May Allah allow us all to witness Ramadan and make us from those who excel in worship throughout the blessed month.

Wassalam Alaykum
The Ilmburst Family

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#Society

MuslimARC Releases Guide for White Muslims By White Muslims

The author of the MuslimARC Guide writes an introduction

Bill Chambers

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“As people who are both white and Muslim, we straddle two identities -one privileged in society and the other, not. We experience Islamophobia to varying degrees, sometimes more overtly depending on how we physically present, and at the same time we have been socialized as white people in a society where white people hold more social power than People of Color (POC). The focus of the toolkit is to provide resources and information that will help guide us toward good practices and behaviours, and away from harmful ones, as we challenge racism within the Muslim community (ummah) and in society at large.” MuslimARC Guide 

As part of our mission to provide education and resources to advance racial justice within the Muslim community, the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) is producing a series of community-specific guides to be a resource for those who want to engage in anti-racism work within Muslim communities.

The first in this series, the Anti-Racism Guide for White Muslims, has been written specifically for white Muslims, by white Muslims under the guidance of the anti-racist principles of MuslimARC. While white Muslims know that Islamically we are required to stand for justice, growing up in a society that is so racially unequal has meant that unless we seek to actively educate ourselves, we typically have not been provided the tools to effectively talk about and address racism.

The Anti-Racism Guide for White Muslims is a tool and resource that speaks to specific needs of white Muslims who are navigating the process of deepening their understanding of racism and looking for concrete examples of how, from their specific social location, they can contribute to advancing anti-racism in Muslim communities. The Guide also addresses views and practices that inadvertently maintain the status quo of racial injustice or can actually reproduce harm, which we must tackle in ourselves and in our community in order to effectively contribute to uprooting racism.

The Guide was developed by two white Muslim members of MuslimARC, myself (Bill Chambers) and Lindsay Angelow. The experiences, approaches, recommendations, and resources are based upon our own experiences, those of other white Muslims we have encountered or spoken to, and research and analysis by others who have been cited in the Guide.

As white people, we are not always aware when we say or write something that reflects our often narrow analysis of racism and need to be open to feedback from Muslims of Color. My own personal process of helping to develop this Guide made me aware of the many times I was in discussions with Muslims of Color, especially women, when I had reflect better upon the privilege I experience as a white person and also the white male privilege that comes with it. It is difficult not to feel defensive when you realize you may have said too much and listened too little on a topic that is really not about you.

Talking about racism is a hard topic and we anticipate that for many white Muslims reading the Guide, there may be a feeling of defensiveness and having difficulty learning from the examples given because you feel that the examples don’t apply to you. You may feel the need to call to attention the various forms of injustice you feel you have experienced in your life, for example where you felt like an outsider as a convert in Muslim community. Our advice is to recognize that those reactions are related to living in a society where we are very much shielded from having to deeply understand racism and examining our role in it. In the spirit of knowledge seeking, critical thinking, and the call to justice communicated to us in the Qur’an as expectations that Allah has of Muslims, we must push past those reactions and approach the subject matter in the spirit of knowledge, skill-seeking, and growth.

“People, We have created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another (49:13).” One of our most important purposes is to really “get to know” one another, build just and loving communities together, all the time knowing we all come from the same source and will return together. If this Guide does anything, let it inspire a deeper understanding of our unique identity as white Muslims and how to use it to advance a more just society.

You can find the  #AntiRacismGuide for White Muslims at http://www.muslimarc.org/whitemuslimguide

Further reading:

White Activism Is Crucial In The Wake of Right-Wing Terrorism

Beyond Muslim Diversity to Racial Equity

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#Culture

Emotional Intelligence: A Tool for Change  

Imam Mikaeel Smith

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Why do we consider emotional intelligence to be half of the Prophetic intellect? The answer lies in the word “messenger.” Messengers of Allah are tasked with the divine responsibility of conveying to humanity the keys to their salvation. They are not only tasked with passing on the message but also with being a living example of that message.

When ʿĀʾishah, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ, was asked to explain the character of the blessed Prophet ﷺ, her reply was, “His character was the Qurʾān.[1]” We are giving emotional intelligence a place of primacy in the construct of Prophetic intelligence because it seems implausible that Allah would send a messenger without providing that messenger with the means necessary to exemplify and transmit the message to others. If the Prophets of Allah did not have the necessary knowledge and skills needed to successfully pass on the message to the next generation, the argument would be incomplete. People could easily excuse themselves of all accountability because the message was never conveyed.

We also see clear examples in the Qur’ān that this knowledge was being perpetually perfected in the character of the Prophet ﷺ. Slight slips in his Emotional Intelligence were rare, but when they did occur, Allah gently addressed the mistake by means of revelation. Allah says in the Qurʾān, “If you (O Muḥammad) were harsh and hardhearted, then the people would flee from you.” This verse clearly placed the burden of keeping an audience upon the shoulders of the Prophet ﷺ. What this means is that the Prophet ﷺ had to be aware of what would push people away; he had to know what would create cognitive and emotional barriers to receptivity. When we study the shamāʾil (books about his character), we find that he was beyond exceptional in his ability to make people receptive. He took great care in studying the people around him and deeply understanding them. Only after the Prophet ﷺ had exhausted all the means of removing barriers to receptivity would the responsibility to affirm the message be shifted to those called to it.

Another example of this Prophetic responsibility can be found in the story of Prophet Mūsa when he was commissioned to call Pharaoh and the children of Israel to Allah. When Allah informed him of the task he was chosen for, he immediately attempted to excuse himself because he had a slight speech impediment. He knew that his speech impediment could potentially affect the receptivity of people to the message. He felt that this disqualified him from being a Prophet. He also felt that the act of manslaughter he committed might come between the people and guidance. All of these examples show that Allah’s Prophets understood that many factors can affect a person’s receptivity to learning something new, especially when the implications of that new information call into question almost every aspect of a person’s identity. History tells us that initially, people did not accept the message of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ; they completely rejected him and accused him of being a liar.

One particular incident shows very clearly that he ﷺ understood how necessary it was for him to remove any cognitive or emotional barriers that existed between him and his community. When the people of his hometown of Makkah had almost completely rejected him, he felt that it was time to turn his attention to a neighboring town. The city of Ṭā’if was a major city and the Prophet ﷺ was hopeful that perhaps they would be receptive to the message. Unfortunately, they completely rejected him and refused to even listen to what he had to say. They chased him out of town, throwing stones at him until his injuries left him completely covered in blood. Barely making it outside the city, the Prophet ﷺ collapsed. Too weak to move, he turned his attention to his Lord and made one of the most powerful supplications made by a Prophet of Allah.

اللهم إليك أشكو ضعف قوتي، وقلة حيلتي، وهواني على الناس، يا أرحم الراحمين، أنت أنت رب المستضعفين وأنت ربي، إلى من تكلني؟ إلى عدو يتجهمني؟ أو إلى قريب ملكته أمري؟ إن لم يكن بك علي غضب فلا أبالي، غير أن عافيتك أوسع لي، أعوذ بنور وجهك الذي أشرقت له الظلمات، وصلح عليه أمر الدنيا والآخرة، من أن ينزل بي غضبك، أو يحل علي سخطك، لك العتبى حتى ترضى، ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بك”

“Oh Allah, only to You do I complain about my lack of strength, my insufficient strategies, and lowliness in the sight of the people. You are my Lord. To whom do you turn me over? Someone distant from me who will forsake me? Or have you placed my affair in the hands of my enemy? [2]

The Prophet ﷺ felt that he was the reason why the people were not accepting the message. His concern that “my low status in the eyes of the people,” informs us that he understood that people naturally judge the seriousness of a message based on the stature of the message bearer. The people of Ṭā’if were extremely ignorant, so much that they adamantly refused to enter into any dialogue. In reality, this was not due to any shortcoming of the Prophet ﷺ; he demonstrated the best of character and displayed extreme patience in the face of such ignorance. But the beginning of the supplication teaches us what he was focused on: making sure that he was not the reason why someone did not accept the message.

Because his message was not geographically restricted like that of other Prophets, those who inherited the message would have the extra burden of transferring the message to a people with whom they were unfamiliar. The intelligence needed to pass the message of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ around the world included an understanding of the cultural differences that occur between people. Without this understanding effective communication and passing on of his message would be impossible.

A sharp Emotional Intelligence is built upon the development of both intra- and interpersonal intelligence. These intelligences are the backbone of EQ and they provide a person with emotional awareness and understanding of his or her own self, an empathic understanding of others, and the ability needed to communicate effectively and cause change. Emotional Intelligence by itself is not sufficient for individual reform or societal reform; instead, it is only one part of the puzzle. The ʿaql or intellect that is referenced repeatedly in the Qurʾān is a more comprehensive tool that not only recognizes how to understand the psychological and emotional aspects of people but recognizes morally upright and sound behavior. After that this intellect, if healthy and mature, forces a person to conform to that standard. Therefore, we understand the ʿaql to be a comprehensive collection of intelligences analogous to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory.

Taking into consideration the extreme diversity found within Western Muslim communities, we see how both Moral Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence are needed. Fostering and nurturing healthy communities requires that we understand how people receive our messages. This is the interpersonal intelligence aspect of EQ. Without grounding the moral component of our community, diversity can lead to what some contemporary moral theorists call moral plasticity, a phenomenon where concrete understandings of good and evil, right and wrong, are lost. Moral Education (Moral Education, which will be discussed throughout the book, is the process of building a Morally Intelligent heart) focuses on correcting the message that we are communicating to the world; in other words, Moral Intelligence helps us maintain our ideals and live by them, while Emotional Intelligence ensures that the message is effectively communicated to others.

My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.”

Interpersonal understanding is the core of emotional intelligence. My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.” From the perspective of Emotional Intelligence, this statement is very accurate. The way we interpret words, body language, verbal inflections, and facial expressions is based on many different factors. The subtle power of this book lies in the simple fact that your emotional intelligence is the primary agent of change and thus the most powerful force you have. You must understand how people perceive what you are communicating to them. What is missing from my father’s statement is the primacy of Moral Intelligence. Throughout this book, I attempt to show how the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ demonstrated a level of perfection of both of these intelligences.

*With the Heart in Mind is available for pre-order at https://www.qalam.foundation/qalambooks/with-the-heart-in-mind

[1]Bayhaqī, Shuʿb al-ʾĪmān, vol. 3, p. 23.

[2] Ibn Kathir, al-Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah, vol. 3, p. 136.

 

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