Introducing A New Blog-My Autistic Muslim Child

2 03 2010

Assalaamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,

First, I apologize for not having time to blog recently.  Today, My dear sister emailed me the link to her new blog and I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you!

She has started a blog titled “My Autistic Muslim Child.”  This blog helps give insight into the lives of autistic muslim children and their parents, raise awareness, and provides support by the permission of Allah.

The blog is in it’s early stages, so please stop by and give her your support and if you think you know someone it will benefit by all means pass it along! : )

Check it out here:

http://myautisticmuslimchild.wordpress.com/





Ramadan Diary ’08: Week One Has Passed

8 09 2008

And I’m not hungry. This Ramadan has been a pleasant surprise. Reading back over my diary last year, I realized that this year I have had no dizziness, no tummy ache, nothing. Yes, I get hungry the last couple of hours before time to break fast….but it isn’t that bad at all.  I think, perhaps, this is due to either a stronger effort at suhoor or the fact that my body is now trained to fast. This past year I have been fasting more of the optional  fasts. So, maybe, my body is conditioned. Although, that doesn’t mean my mind is.

This year has been a trade off. My hunger for my temper. Well, I will tell you for me the temper is a thousand times harder to fight against than my hunger ever was. The room could be spinning, my stomach churning, my head pounding and I could block it out and fast. My temper on the other hand………..takes alot more effort. It is a gigantic test of will and patience.  I am working this Ramadan rather than staying home all day. That is a big part of the equation. Alhamdullilah though.  I am gratful for everything that Allah (SWT) has given me and Allahu Akbar, Allah has promised us in the Qur’an that He (Swt)  will not place a burden on us greater than we can bear.

I have also noticed this Ramadan that I have learned to say no to things that I can not possibly add to my schedule. I have learned to prioritize. That is huge for me.

Overall, I am really optimistic that I am making a strong effort to accomplish my goals this Ramadan while at the same time hoping and praying that Allah (Swt) accepts from me.

In other news, My friend Um Mahmoud gave me a couple of great Ramadan ideas for children! Insh’Allah I will post it so anyone who wants can try it with their kids.

For Full Size You can go here and click on it to make it bigger and print it :

http://i475.photobucket.com/albums/rr117/muslimah1234/goal_calendar_send.jpg

Directions:
There are 2 parts to this email… The 1st is the calendar in the attachment, and the 2nd is the suggested goals below. Print the calendar on 1 side and then the goals on the other inshaAllah. Customize the goals to your childs ability, I only made general suggestions. So all the goals are numbered… if on Saturday they did # 10 on the goal list, they will write #10 in that square on the calendar.
 
   Explain to them that the reason they will use this calendar if for a visual for them. In this busy life of ours, days go by without us taking time out to try to do extra things to please Allah. Filling in the days of this calendar will be exciting for them to see how much they are capable of doing. This would be a great time to explain to them about the recording angels we have with us at all times and how they record the good and the bad and how we would like the Angel on our right to stay busy recording the good things. They will start to do this in Ramadan but that they should also continue to do these good deeds thru out the whole year.
 
  Parents help the younger children with their calendar and keep reminding the older children to fill in the days. And have fun with this.
 
  Print the calendar 1st and then these suggested goals, or add more, or customize to your childs age.
 
In this blessed month of Ramadan I will try my best to use my time wisely.  Even if I am little, I will try hard to fast at least some of the day & do other good things.
1.        Sleep little – eat little …I will not try to let the day pass faster by sleeping it away, and I will not eat so much at Iftar that it will make me too lazy to pray.
2.        I will learn all about Ramadan so I won’t think of it as a hard and hungry month.
3.        I will pray all of my obligatory prayers, and try to pray as many of the sunnah prayers as I can.
4.       I will try to wake up during the 3rd part of the night and pray night prayers at least once.
5.        I will memorize at least 1 surah and understand the meaning of it also.
6.       I will try to attend the taraweah prayer at the masjid at least once and pray all the way to the end with the Imam.
7.        I will not waste my time watching TV or playing games.
8.       I will surprise my Mom and clean for her while she is cooking Iftar for me.
9.       I will save some money in a special can and donate it to a worthy cause at the end of Ramadan.
10.     I will bake a dessert myself and surprise another family with it.
11.      I will read some Quran every day. I will pick a time like after I pray fejr, or right before magrib, and read at that time every day.
12.     I will ask Allah for forgiveness often.
13.     I will make more thikr.
14.     I will learn what Laylatul qadr is and its virtues and then put all my efforts in gaining those rewards.
15.     I will remind myself (for boys) my Dad and brothers to pray at the masjid every Fejr and every Isha.
16.     If I am invited to someone’s house for Iftar I will help clean before I leave.
17.     Even if I can’t go to the Masjid for Taraweah and my Dad goes, I will send some sweets or a cold drink for the Muslims to enjoy in between the prayers.
18.     If I am at the masjid and I see an old person who needs a chair to pray, I will RUN and get that chair for them and set it up in the prayer line.
19.     No matter where I am, if I see a Muslim I will say Assalamu alekum first.
20.    If I’m at the grocery store shopping with my parent, I will ask if I can buy a food item  to place in the food drive box at the masjid.
21.     If my family is inviting people for Iftar, I will ask if they will invite some single people or students.
22.     I will help my mother cook, or set the table, or clean the table after, or wash the dishes, or sweep the floor at least once a day either at Suhoor or Iftar.
23.     I will remind my brothers and sisters and friends to be their best.
24.    I will learn something new about Ramadan to teach it to my family and friends. (Look at the bulletin board weekly for new information, womens section)
25.     I will memorize at least 1duaa
26.    When I’m at the masjid I will sneak a donation into the masjid box so nobody sees me donating, only Allah and I will know.

*add more of your own goals

Charity Jars:

These can be made with empty cannisters,jars, etc decorated with paper, paint, glitter, etc. You can take a cloth and stretch over the top and secure it with ribbons,glue or a rubber band. Insh’Allah they are pretty easy. Then the kids simply fill them as they are able and at the end of the month you can decide how to donate it. Mash’Allah it gives the children such a sense of accomplishment and inclination to give back at a young age.

Here are some that the children at the Islamic Center of Arlington Texas(http://www.isat-online.org/home.htm) made:

 





Noggin To Broadcast 24/7

8 12 2007

I recently read on the Noggin website (which my three year old frequents) that Noggin will begin broadcasting 24 hours a day beginning on December 31st.

I’m quite dissappointed in this decision. One of the things that has impressed me about Noggin is the fact that it only broadcasts from 6am-6pm. Thus, parents who like to park their kids in front of the tv only have the ability to do so for 12 hours vs. allowing them to sit there all night as well. Oh, of course, the parent’s can flip over to sprout or some other 24 hour cartoon network once 6pm rolls around. However, Noggin ending at 6pm meant that Noggin was not going to support that lifestyle. It promoted (to a degree) spending evenings with the kids.

My real issue here is probably not the fact that we have 24 hour cartoon channels for preschoolers. My issue is not even that we have television programs that essentially wake up with the children and put them to bed (yes, Sprout has a good night show to get kids ready for bed).

My issue goes back to the lifestyle we are promoting and God forbid, living. I seriously hope and pray that parents are not utilizing a 24 hour cartoon network for their children.

Many studies have proven that children need human interaction. Sitting in front of the tv all day (and now all night) does not provide this. It is no wonder that this generation of children have alarming obesity rates and social problems.

Hopping down off my soapbox now….





Seven Strategies to Train Kids This Ramadan

21 09 2007

Muslim children growing up in non muslim societies often have a hard time during the prevalent holiday seasons (Christmas, Easter, etc). That’s why, I try to make my kids Ramadan really special. I don’t want them to feel left out or to feel like Islam is so stringent that fun isn’t allowed. In my opinion this could lead to them eventually resenting Islam. I think this happens all to frequently in fact. That’s why I was quite happy to come across the following article. I hope insh’Allah you will enjoy it too.

Seven Strategies to Train Kids this Ramadan

By: Shehnaz Toorawa

The Prophet Muhammad “No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training.” (Tirmidhi), peace and blessings of God be upon the Prophet.

The many aspects of Ramadan–fasting, prayers, moral values, charity, Quran, family, Eid– provide a valuable opportunity to train kids. Whether they are your own kids or kids you teach, education or training isn’t an automatic or easy process. Children don’t bring empty minds and fill them with what we say. Training requires effort, energy and a few techniques to take off.

Here are some training tips and techniques to transform your children’s minds and memories this Ramadan:

Let them get their Hands Dirty

“The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.”
Herbert Spencer

Children learn by “doing”. On average, students retain 75 percent of a lesson when they learn through hands-on activities compared to five percent through a lecture or 10 percent through reading (Brunmer, Jerome, “The Process of Learning”).

If, for example, you want to teach your kids the concept of Zakat, get them to help you calculate your Zakat, decide where to send the money, and mail the envelopes. Action and implementation can occur while children learn, not necessarily after!

The Prophet used to take his daughter Fatima with him when he went for prayer at the Kaba in Makkah. Later, in Madinah, he would bring his grandchildren, Hassan and Hussain, to the Masjid as toddlers before they knew how to pray.

A concept becomes real and important to children when they experience it rather than simply read about it. They’ll remember how to do it years later when you may catch them telling their friends, “I’ve been calculating Zakat since I was a kid!”

Involve their Emotions

When children get emotionally involved in an activity, they rarely want to leave it. Video games and TV shows target children’s emotions. As parents and educators, we can use the same technique for training.

Stories, songs, skits, crafts and games grab children’s emotions. Once a child is interested and excited, she is more likely to stay attentive till the end and get the message you want to give. Just as we remember events in our lives that were emotionally significant, children remember concepts learned through activities that were “fun”, “funny”, “exciting” or “different”.

Don’t be afraid to stir some fun into your training—you don’t have to lose any content. Write a song about Eid, create a Hadith treasure box, organize a Ramadan trivia night, or read a story about Ramadan in Madinah. If they enjoy it, the kids will come back for more!

Reveal the Purpose

We often hear students complain, “Why do we have to do this?” or “This math exercise is pointless”. Unfortunately, we often hear responses like, “Because I’m telling you to,” “Because you have to”, or worse, “You’ll get a new CD player if you finish the book”.

Like us, if children don’t see the purpose or importance of an action, they won’t have the motivation to complete it. To avoid getting similar comments from your kids about prayer or fasting, make sure they understand the purpose. Before you begin any lesson, whether it’s a story about the Companions of the Prophet or an Eid craft, explain exactly why you are the doing the activity and what benefits the children will gain from it.

Remind your children that they are doing acts of worship to please Allah, not you. Explain why we need to please Allah and how every action, including washing dishes or math homework, will help us achieve that goal. If children are praying only to please you, when you leave, their motivation and prayers will disappear.

If children are motivated to fast Ramadan or complete the Quran for a material incentive (like a CD player), they may never develop a love of Allah or an intrinsic desire to perform the action. They may, instead, learn to value material rewards and when the rewards disappear, the actions may disappear with them.

Help your children understand that, for Muslims, rewards don’t necessarily come in this life. They may have to wait for the bigger and better rewards of the hereafter.

Highlight the Big Ideas

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”
Albert Einstein

Ask yourself how many equations or formulas you remember from your Grade 12 Math textbook. It may be five or two or none. Let’s be honest – most of us retained very little of the details we learned.

Children will not retain all the Fiqh rulings of Zakat or Wudu or SalahÉ.and they won’t need to! Make sure the little that they retain is exactly what you want them to remember. Focus on the big ideas, such as the awareness that Allah is watching us, that we get our rulings from the Quran and the Sunnah, that prayer is a means of self-purification, etc. Repeat these ideas every day in different ways. While your children instil these principles in their minds, show them how to learn the rest on their own, when they need it.

Help your kids learn “how to learn”. Teach them where to find the Fiqh information they need or how to do research on a topic and who to ask for information. They will be better prepared if they master the basics and know how to get the specifics. Memorizing every ruling will be a waste of their time and yours.

Let them Lead!

Children often take responsibilities more seriously than adults. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, appointed young adults like Ali, Anas and Usamah ibn Zaid, young adults, for important assignments that sometimes required them to lead even older and more experienced Companions.

Give children leadership over important tasks and step out of the picture. Assign one child to wake up all his siblings for Suhur.  Let someone else be in charge of updating the Iftar time every evening. Allow the children to plan, budget and buy Eid gifts for all the relatives. Let them choose which task they want to “be in charge of”.

Allow children to make mistakes and realize on their own what they should have done. Experience often trains better than instruction. Once a child goes out into the cold without a jacket, he’ll remember, before you can remind him, to put on his jacket next time.

Train kids to be responsible for their own learning. If a child asks, “Does brushing teeth break my fast?” a simple “yes” or “no” may give her the answer, but won’t provide any long-term training. Ask her instead, “Where can you look to find that answer? Let’s do some research.”

Begin the month of Ramadan by asking your children to do a research project on what breaks the fast and what does not. If they find the information themselves, they are likely to remember it and know exactly where to get it again next year.

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.”
Carl Rogers

Get Excited!

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
W. B. Yeats

Kids catch on to your enthusiasm. Show some excitement and passion about the topic you’re teaching. Show your kids that you “can’t wait” for Ramadan to begin. Be cheerful at prayer times. Decorate the house in anticipation of Eid.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, taught by example. His character and actions motivated people to love and emulate him. Be the example you want your kids to be. Make a genuine effort to love the activities you want your kids to love.

Combine Love with Learning

Abu Huraira reported that al-Aqra’ b. Habis saw the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, kissing Hasan (his grandson). He said: I have ten children, but I have never kissed any one of them, whereupon Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said: He who does not show mercy, no mercy would be shown to him.  (Muslim)

Show children that you love them, regardless of how they perform.  Allow each child to progress at his own pace. Saying, “look at your cousin Aminah—she’s already finished the fifteenth juz“, will only lower your child’s self-esteem and discourage what she’s already accomplishing.

Excessive competition and comparison can often result in helplessness and lack of motivation for children who learn in different ways or at a slower pace. Allow children to judge their own progress and compare themselves to their former level rather than that of others.

Make this Ramadan the beginning of a memorable and long-lasting training experience for you and your children!





My Ramadan Diary: Day 3

15 09 2007

It’s day three and my body is adjusting nicely to the new routine.  I’m not quite as hungry or thirsty as I have been the past two days. The nausea is gone and so is the light headedness. Alhamdullilah.  I feel like I should probably buy some gatorade or other sports drink since I simply can’t drink water all night and am beginning to feel a little dehydrated.

Today, I was reflecting on how blessed I am to have my husband, children, and soon insh’Allah my in laws to share Ramadan with. I have someone to encourage me, to wake me for suhoor, and to occasionally take over the kitchen duties for iftar.  This prompted me to post an article I found from sound vision (Ramdan Guide for Single Muslims) https://southernmuslimah.wordpress.com/2007/09/15/a-ramadan-guide-for-single-muslims/

I’m the type of person who probably wouldn’t wake for suhoor if I didn’t have someone to nag me until I get up. Which of course would result in me being even more hungry and grumpy throughout the day not to mention missing out on the blessing of suhoor.  There is just something about sitting there in the wee still hours of the morning when everything is peaceful and eating a small meal to prepare for the day’s fasting.  The anticipation of the potential reward and blessings of the day are fresh in the mind. Yes, this early morning is magical to me even though I have such a difficult time waking. Odd, isn’t it? 😉

As for my kids….My three year old keeps trying to feed me throughout the day. lol. I keep explaining to him that I’m fasting and trying to educate him some with Ramdan. I try to make my home a bright enviroment throughout Ramadan so he will not feel left out once his cousins talk to him about their holidays (Christmas, Easter). So, I let him make decorations and hang up alongside the one’s I purchase. I tell him stories and just try to make it as fun as possible for him. And YES, It is hard to cook the meals for the kids and feed the baby and not eat myself. hehe.





Choosing Sides…caution contains incoherant rambling

11 08 2007

I will come right out and say that I hate being put in a position of choosing sides. It seems throughout my life, I have always had to choose. Ever heard the saying, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too?” Well, just for once, I would like to be able to eat the cake (so to speak). I would like to be able to please both parties. It just never works out that way. No matter how hard I try, I can’t please everyone. I should realize that by now. However, My character is one that does wish to please EVERYONE. I hate conflict and drama. I am a peace keeper by nature. Yet, drama seems to seek me out of all people. Ironic really. Some of my family members feed on drama and yet, they never have the full experience of it.

The most difficult situations to choose between often involve friends, family, mentors, and……..religion. One of my most difficult choices was when I was given the ultimatum: Islam or life as I knew it (parents, home, friends). Needless to say, I chose Islam and haven’t regretted it. In the end, It all worked out for the best as I’m on good terms with my family and practicing Islam. Though, I would be lying if I said I don’t still feel some resentment towards my mother for making me choose at that vulnerable time in my life.

Another thing I hate about choosing sides is when children are forced into this postion. Often, warring parents don’t have the good sense that God gave them to keep their children out of it. Instead, they drag them into the fray and force them to choose where their loyalties lie. All the time, they will offer their children candy, money, toys, etc. to try to push the child in their favor. Usually, this is done for purely selfish vindictive reasons-to see which spouse can wound the other more by using their children as pawns. This is seriously disgusting and any parents who do this, please stop it if you care about your kids at all, stop it now. All this is doing is damaging the child(ren). They will be left confused and feeling used. Feeling that they are not good enough or lovable enough unless they forsake one parent and cling to the other.These feelings will likely linger with them through their lives causing trouble in their future relationships.

With all my negative views on having to choose sides I have to admit……..On a positive note, at least I have a choice! 😀 What can I say, I’m a glass half full kinda gal!





Not Just A Stroll In The Park…You think I speak Arabic?!

23 07 2007

Yesterday my husband and I took our kids to the park. Well, this is the south, home of fire ants.  We returned home about five p.m. and all seemed well. My one and a half year old had fallen asleep on the way home. So, I immediatley put him to bed once we got home. He continued sleeping until three a.m. He woke me up screaming. I thought, well yeah he’s doing this because he went to bed early. So, I went into his room and tried to get him back to sleep. He kept screaming. I knew at that point that something was wrong. I turned on the light and my precious little boy was red, his eyes, his nose,  his ears were all swollen. I immediatley woke my husband and we whisked him off to the E.R.

Well, once at the E.R. the adventure (it seems better to call it an  adventure rather than what I would really like to call it) began. We waited four hours just to see the doctor. During that time, a man came in not breathing. In front of us, the doctor cut his throat and inserted a  tube. Then, a couple of physchiatric patients were roaming the halls mumbling all kinds of junk while the nurses assigned to them tried  to keep them from “commiting suicide.” One young fourteen year old girl was brought in overdosed.  All this to witness on a Monday morning. Who said monday’s are boring…..not if you work in a hospital. That is for sure!

So, once the doctor came in she diagnosed my son with an allergic reaction. He was given a dose of steroids and benydryl. After two more hours of “observation” we were allowed to come home with a prescription for steroids and directions on how to give benadryl and apply topical creme to the bites.

My husband took the baby outside while I settled the insurance. Well, as I was settling the insurance (and may I say ALAHMDULLILAH (thanks and praise for Allah) that we have insurance) a Muslim brother came and gave me salaams. Then, proceeded to try to speak Arabic with me.  I explained to him that I don’t speak Arabic.  Then, he asked if I wasn’t a Muslim. So, I told him yes, a Muslim American. Well, then the charm came out.Here he came with questions and introductions and smiling and trying to shake my hand. He asked If I needed him to help me. It was all fine and good. Though, I was so tired that I could barely hold my head up.

Finally, I got my insurance settled and as we stopped at the Pharmacy an American man came up to me and asked if he could practice his arabic with me. I was like sorry to dissappoint you, I don’t know a word of Arabic. Then, that brought out the questions and answers.  He kept trying to speak Arabic throwing words in after I explained I don’t speak Arabic. Finally, he patted me on the shoulder and told me to have a blessed day and kept saying May God bless you. It was really weird to get approached twice in one morning by people trying to speak Arabic.

A simple stroll in the park turned into this whole fiasco. Alas, I may never look at the park the same way again or more likely I will forget it all once I finally get some sleep. It’s funny really. I would  totally laugh if  this were a movie.  😉