Autism/Special Needs friendly?

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I like Special Needs’ friendly events

Mainstreams allowing some time to cater for disabled individuals …is great!

Although some people might find it discriminatory, I like this concept.

For once, our folk are not forced to fit in. For once, the Politically-correct behaviour is not the ultimate goal of the Day. For once, not having the “London look” is ok! (lol just forget that last sentence)

But on a more serious note, these days mean a big “Ppppppppppppphhhhhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwww” of relief for us, parents!

These events are also opportunities to meet some extraordinary parents, siblings, relatives or workers. Truly inspirational people

But first and foremost, these events are for me an eye-opener. The Prophet (PBUH), said: “Look upon one who is below you in status. In this way you will not look down upon the grace of that God bestowed upon you.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Below are a couple of events and activities taking place in the London area:
* Special Children’s day at London Zoo: http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/whats-on/special-childrens-day-2013,586,EV.html

* SEN Session at London Transport Museum: http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/learning/schools/65-sen/sen-sessions-module-list/336-is-this-the-way-home39

* Autism friendly film screening: http://www.dimensions-uk.org/what-we-do/autism-care/autism-friendly-films/

* The Train Club: http://www.theengineshed.org.uk

*Disability swimming sessions ( These take place in my borough. It might be happening in yours too. Worth researching about it)

* Yoga sessions (These are organized by my local parent support group. You might think about developing a similar concept in your area if not available already). Please see my post about the benefits of Yoga: Outings and activities for children on the Spectrum Part 3

Spiritual healing and Islamic remedies

Being a parent is hard.

Being a good parent is even harder…

Being parent of a “healthy child” is not always easy.

Being parent of a disabled or sick child is not easy at all.

When your “healthy” little one is struggling with a running nose, does your heart not ache?

Just imagine how it feels for a parent when the disease, the condition or disability is overwhelming, when there seem to be no way out…

At this point, the heart is not simply aching but the heart is breaking helplessly.

Allah Wa Ta Ala informed us that he would test us through our children and he did it with me. However, instead of constantly moaning, I like to focus on the idea that behind any hardship, there is a Khayr, and behind any illness, there is a cure!

When we are looking for a cure for our children, we tend to run to our GP or to quickly grab some “modern” medication (which is good Alhamdulillah, I am not saying that we shouldn’t)

However, our minds are going so much all over the place that we often forget about The Holy Quran which is a Shifaa (a cure) in itself. We are also prone to neglect the natural remedies and practices taught by the Best of Men, our Prophet, Mohammad, Alayhi Salam.

As instructed by our dear Prophet Alayhi Salam, make sure that your family holds firm to the Quran:

_Recite it and meditate

_Play it at home and turn off the Blasting TV

_Do your Adhkaar

_ Seek Allah’s protection for your children with the Dua that can be found in Fortress of the Muslim*

_ Perform Ruqyah on yourself if necessary

Working on your relationship with your Creator, nurturing Imaan in your children and experimenting the sweetness of Imaan will inshAllah reflect on your family’s health and well-being. And this is first a reminder  for myself.

Now, below is a list of the Islamic remedies that I am using for my daughter:

Senna Leaves To treat my daughter ‘s bowel movements/constipation issues. Generally in an infusion. Not to be taken regularly as it is quite strong
Black Seed oil As many Autistic children, my daughter’s immune system is quite weak. A spoon every day in her Orange juice or mixed with some honey. Black Seed oil is known for many other benefits, just google it!
Miswak My daughter hates the vigorous feel of the toothbrush. So I always try to be quick. But too quick means risk of caries. So on top of it, I am using the Miswak which she finds quite amusing because of its form.
Olive oil
“The Prophet (Alayhi Salam) said: “Eat the oil and use it on your hair and skin, for it comes from a blessed tree.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi)

For more info about the benefits of these remedies, please go to Google.com!

Also, this is a very tiny list, there are many other remedies mashAllah! Islamic medicine is so fascinating! Just go for it!

 Islamic doctors

My daughter’s future

Well, my daughter is autistic…But…I do have high expectations for her. As I lately confessed, I would like my daughter to become a doctor and a hafidha. However, I do agree that I should allow her some freedom in regard to career’s choice. So inshallah, if she wants, she could alternatively become a surgeon, a dentist, a lawyer, an accountant, an engineer or a successful business woman.DSCF0471                                                                                                                                                                           To be honest, it still looks like there is a long way to go before we manage to reach that goal.But inshAllah, it will happen! InshAllah, she will achieve the Top of the Tops and go as far as her abilities allow her. I believe that Allah is omnipotent so I believe in my daughter’s potential.

 Alhamdulillah, things have evolved and Autistics are no more exclusively meant to be sent to Mental institutions.  Just imagine five seconds if Temple Grandin’s mother had not defied her paediatrician’s recommendations? We would never have benefited from such an awesome advocate who holds a PHD! By the way, not every “neurotypical” is a postgraduate.       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Once again, I am urging you to watch Temple Grandin’s conferences. In of them, she advised parents on their children’s career’s option depending on their way of reasoning and thinking.*

Like all parents, I would like my daughter to be as independent as possible and this, before I die. inshAllah I pray that the day the Angel of death will come for me, I could die in peace without worrying about her. Although I know I have to accept my fate, I just hope that I won’t die anytime soon because she’s still got so much to learn. If this shall happen, my greatest concerns are: > Who will be looking after her? > Who will be carrying on the work I am doing with her?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     But, SubhanAllah, I need to pull myself together…Right now! I am a Muslim and whatever the outcome might be, I put my trust in Allah who is the best of planners.

*Temple Grandin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wt1IY3ffoU

Sensory Processing Disorder

What is Sensory processing disorder?

“Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a neurological disorder that causes difficulties with processing information from the five senses: vision, auditory, touch, olfaction, and taste, as well as from the sense of movement (vestibular system), and/or the positional sense (proprioception). For those with SPD, sensory information is sensed, but perceived abnormally. Unlike blindness or deafness, sensory information is received by people with SPD; the difference is that information is processed by the brain in an unusual way that causes distress, discomfort, and confusion.” (by Chantal Sicile-Kira in the Autism Advocate, Psychology today published 02/03/2010 *)

Many  individuals with Autism are affected by SPD. Sometimes, it is all of their senses that are affected. Sometimes, it is just one, two or three of them. But, it is not only Autistics who are concerned, I am myself affected by this disorder and as far as I know I am not Autistic.

My nightmare is an addition of my youngest daughter whinging +  my eldest one playing loudly + my husband watching some crazy boxing fights on Youtube  + my Washing machine on spinning mode   + very bright lighting in the house.

My O My! These are a couple of adjectives that I found to describe as accurately as possible my state of mind in such circumstances: boiling, tense, flustered, distressed, upset. When things go really bad, I can almost hear my heart beats and this is when I would also probably turn aggressive and argue with my husband for no apparent reason. Alhamdulillah, I can voice my discomfort but it is not the case for my  daughter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                Below is a list of the tricks I am using with my daughter to help her coping with it.

                                                                  Tricks
Bright lights Sunglasses
Loud noises Hear plugs   or a MP3 player (with some relaxation tunes like bird, ocean or rain sounds)
Teeth   brushing `Colgate Kids Motion Toothbrush ,£3 only at Asda!

I am also curious to know about the tricks you are using with you own children. Don’t be shy and leave a comment please!

*http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-autism-advocate/201003/what-is-sensory-processing-disorder-and-how-is-it-related-autism

My blog, my experience!

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I write on this blog from a parent perspective. I don’t see myself as an Autism Master, Guru whatsoever. I am just here to share my experience on how Autism is affecting me and my family in our everyday life.  I would love stigmas and stereotypes on this condition to be eradicated and these from the Muslim community in particular. This blog is the way I chose to fight it.

There are thousands of Facebook pages and blogs run by Non-Muslims parents.  MashAllah, it is amazing to witness how complete strangers living miles away from each other bond so easily “thanks to “Autism. Although at times, I do find myself overwhelmed by my daughter’s condition, little things such as these pages fill me with a lot of joy and strength. InshAllah, I would like to share similar feelings with my fellow Muslim brothers and Sisters. Indeed, is it not what our Deen is all about? Brotherhood. So basically, this blog is to say a big “You are not alone!”  

Alhamdulillah, there are other interesting English -speaking blogs and Facebook pages run by Muslim parents. These are the ones I know about:                                                

 > Muslim Autism Society Facebook group page

> Stranded Mom, Autism, Parenting, Islam Facebook page

> My autistic Muslim Child (http://myautisticmuslimchild.wordpress.com)

> Through the Puzzle (http://throughthepuzzle.com)

> Abez Sez  (http://www.abezsez.com)

> Muslimah next door (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/muslimahnextdoor/)

InshAllah, I hope we will see more  emerging but more importantly, I would like to invite  Autistic  Adults, teenagers and children to write and talk because you, guys, are the best advocates. I did benefit so much from reading and listening to Carly Fleishmann and Temple Grandin (Both of them are mentioned on my post Resources, services and therapies, Part 1)  InshAllah I pray that my daughter will one day be an advocate too as well as Doctor and Hafitha. O you who are reading this sentence, please say “Ameen” and make a Duaa for my daughter please.  JazakAllah Khairan for that, you are awesome!

My dear Brothers and Sisters, I share tips, advices, strategies and ideas with you that are working for my daughter but I can’t guarantee that they will all be 100% effective with your child. Is every Human being not beautifully unique?  About my opinions and point of views: I am not a dictator so I do allow anyone to voice constructive critics with all due respect.

Ultimately, a huge JazakAllah Khairan to all the Muslim FB pages that shared or liked my blog such as:

Cornwall Muslim Sisters

Muslim Parenting: It Takes a Village To Raise A Child

Resources For Muslim Sisters with Special Needs Children

The South Asian Autism Group-UK,Ireland

Stranded Mom – Autism, Parenting, Islam.

Ihsan(Islamic Holistic School For Alternative Needs)- Beyond Barriers

Disabled Muslims Network

Blue Hijab Day

Ingredients of a happy Muslim marriage

Exceptional Child Educational Services (ECES) Dr.Amani Mahmoud Doughlas

A big JazakAllah Khairan to muslimparentsnetwork.org  for featuring some of my posts 

A big Thank you to my non-Muslims friends on FB for their support and to all those I forgot to name…

 

 

Outings and activities for children on the Spectrum Part 3

Number three:Yoga

Some of the Benefits of Yoga:

>Improve concentration

>Maintain flexibility

>Help to Relax

>Work on postural misalignment

>Practise balance

The good thing about Yoga is that there are plenty of DVDs of all levels available for you to practise it at home if there are no classes for SEN running within your borough. I started practising Yoga shortly after I gave birth to my daughter. I did it for a couple of months and MashAllah it helped me dealing with my anxiety. Unfortunately, after a while, I stopped. The reason: I am too busy. Believe me having a bubble bath, a hair treatment is a luxury so  no space on my timetable for Yoga.

But Alhamdulillah, Allah scheduled Yoga sessions every three weeks for me and my daughter. The group of parents  with SEN to which I belong organizes classes with an experienced and qualified Yoga Teacher Sarah Rush*. I am going to repeat myself (again!) but MashAllah, few years ago, I’d never imagine my daughter could sit quietly on a mat and follow instructions for about an hour! I really enjoy these classes and so do my daughter and this definetly strengthens our relationship. This is our special time together as my husband stays home with my youngest daughter. Furthermore, Sarah is  fantastic Mashallah. Her sessions are fun and relaxing and she is full of positive energy especially when she smiles. It is a truly sincere and generous one.She doesn’t display one of them fake smiles to attract customers and that is so rare nowadays as Well-being has become such a big industry.. To end with, as a parent, for once, you don’t have to run after your child if he feels like walking around. You don’t have to pressurize him if he is more staring at others than actually executing movements. Sarah truly understood that more than other children, our children need to settle in first in order to get successfully involved  in her class. So for you as a parent, it simply means:  let your child be himself and be yourself too!

*

Sarah Rush holds a MA PGCE BA (Hons)
She is Yoga Alliance Registered /Yoga Teacher /Yoga for the Special Child Trained / Member of the British Wheel of Yoga / First Aided / Fully insured/ based in London

For more information about classes,one to one individual or therapeutic work available you can contact Sarah by telephone on 07815120792 or by email at sarahrush2@gmail.com

Outings and activities for children on the Spectrum Part 2

I am finding it really important that my daughter takes part in sport. Sport is a way to keep her fit and healthy but also to make a good use of her hyperactivity . There are plenty of sports that your child could do depending on his abilities. Some of our children can take part in collective  sports such as Football or cricket and be even part of teams with non-autistics children. There are also individual sports such as cycling.You can find some information through the Local Authority, play schemes, support groups or by visiting the webpage of the English Federation of Disability Sport*

I would like to give you an insight of 3 different sports or physical activities that my daughter is practising as well as their benefits on children with Autism. Just a small reminder, every child is unique, your child may not like below activities. Do not insist if he is not enjoying it.

NUMBER ONE: HORSE RIDING

Horse riding is expensive but inshAllah there might be a scheme running within your borough that offers horse riding to SEN children. I am not rich so I can’t afford to pay for  horse riding lessons but if Allah has blessed you with some wealth, please go for it and give it atry.                                                                                                                                                                                                          My daughter is having horse riding weekly with her school Alhamdulillah. I would never have thought that my daughter will be so good at it. MashAllah she is riding on her own and just following the instructions. Nobody is holding the horse for her. My daughter is 6 and I had the opportunity to ride a horse when I was 13 and I was craaaaaap. One day, I would love to be  a good rider and  feel the wind blowing up my hijaab. LOL. Let’s be serious for a moment. Riding  a horse is not only a physical experience. It also builds up a strong bond between the animal and its rider. Horses are  companions-like.Thus, it is the perfect mean for your child to work on his social skills and to concentrate on an external stimuli within a relaxing atmosphere.Your child will have to communicate verbally and physically with hismount and will witness an instantaneous  reaction. Your child will also have to interact with the instructors who will be holding the horse or walking beside it.

To sum up, your child will:

@ make a new special friend and talk to it.

@ leave his bubble and take interest in the outside world.

@  concentrate and follow simple instructions.

@ guide an animal.

@ keep fit.

@ look  Fab and chic . That might be the beginning of a Top model career…just kidding! But still, such a good deal!

NUMBER TWO: SWIMMING  

Swimming is cool, swimming is cheap! Isn’t it true? At my next door swimming pool, there are weekly swimming sessions for disabled children  MashAllah. Unfortunately, it is mixed so I can’t go there with my daughter. But the good news is that as she is quite manageable, I can go with her to another local swimming pool where there are women only sessions. Hurray! If it is the same for you, test it! But I have to be honest with you guys, I only go there during Spring and Summer  time. For the rest of the year and every week, it is the school’s job and she is loving it!          

Who does not like water? You stayed 9 months and for some even more floating inside your mother’s womb. Swimming is fun, it is physical and it relaxes your body. For children with autism, it improves their motor skills, coordination,  their body awareness and balance. However, from your end, you need to be extra vigilant. Some children  can switch and within seconds endanger their life.

*English Federation of Disability Sport: http://www.efds.co.uk