Archive for the ‘Autism’ Category

April 2nd Is Autism Awareness Day

Hi. This is Haziq’s Mum and I want to highlight April as the Autism Awareness Month. April 2nd is International Autism Awareness Day.

In 2009, Autism Speaks*, worked with cities and organizations around the world to promote Autism Awareness by lighting up major buildings and landmarks with blue lights on the night of April 1st.

The project was called“Light It Up Blue”. I am not quite sure why the color blue was selected to represent Autism but I guess it would be difficult to follow the internationally known colors of the Autism Awareness Ribbon because of its multitude of colors that signifies the diversity of this disorder. Here’s a thumbnail.

Last year, on the night of April 1, prominent buildings across North America and the world including the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada were lit up blue to raise awareness for autism and to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on Friday, April 2. In addition to the blue lights, Autism Speaks also recommended that local communities join in the Autism Awareness Month with activities ranging from walks and events to wearing blue clothing, blue jewelry, and so forth. I am looking forward to see what they have lined up for April 2011. Wouldn’t it be great if our own majestic Twin Towers joined in the show of support? It would have been a sight to behold.

Here’s some pics of buildings in Canada and U.S.A bathed in blue light in support of Autism Awareness Day. It’s a touching sight and simply BEAUTIFUL!

Toronto Skyline on April 1st

Autism Speaks is an autism advocacy organization that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public. It was founded in February 2005 by Bob Wright, vice chairman of General Electric, and by his wife Suzanne, a year after their grandson Christian was diagnosed with autism.

“My Name is Khan”……… the movie

This is Haziq’s Mum, Shimah. Yesterday we watched a movie called “My name is Khan”. I am not a great fan of Bollywood’s love tragic drama, break-out-into-a-song routine kind of movies but this one was very different indeed. Incredibly it did not have even one sing-dance number. It did have the popular star, Shah Rukh Khan who I must admit is very pleasing to the eyes but the greatest motivating factor to watch this movie was because he played the character of an autistic man. Well, an extremely high-functioning man with Asperger’s Syndrome. I say that not because he  can invent a device to pump out water from a flooded compound or that he could tackle the complexities of public transportation but because he fell in love (recognized the emotion, love for the opposite sex), had the desire for marriage and became responsible for another human. True, my knowledge and familiarity with autism is limited to my own life experience and all that seems unlikely where my son Haziq is concerned. At 22 he is more interested in theme parks than the cutest girl in front of his very eyes.

Back to the movie, kudos to the actor who played the young Khan. He portrayed a very believable autistic boy. I actually had the movie for over a month but waited till I was ready because I knew it would bring back sad memories of my coping with his disability. Watching the part where the young Khan was bullied brought me back to the time when I furiously waded into a hotel swimming pool fully dressed, to confront 3 bullies who were having fun pulling down Haziq’s swimming trunks repeatedly. Three young boys who did not know each other but formed a kinship when they found a common subject to bully. The saddest thing was one of the fathers was right there in the pool, grinning at his son’s antics. After I said some sharp words to the 3 bullies, the father just gave me a bored look and swam away with his son. In my fit of anger I cursed him and wished upon him the reality of having his own child diagnosed as autistic one day. Moments later the regret sets in. It should never, ever, be something to wish upon another parent.

“You never monkey with the truth” – Ben Bradlee

Shodo Shima, Japan - Huddled for warmth, macaques press their bodies into a vast ball of fur. The monkeys' relaxed social hierarchy allows high- and low-ranking individuals to share the same tight space. (Yushiro Fukuda)

These macaques keep warm by pressing their bodies into a big ball of fur.

I like this photo lots. I have never seen anything like it. I’ve seen plenty of monkeys (these are macaques actually) but not with funny red faces. What I don’t understand is how they can all press closely together like a big ball of fur. They actually seem to enjoy it!. Mum explains that macaques do that to keep warm because the climate there in Shodo Shima, Japan is very, very cold. I’m glad I’m not a macaque because I would not be able to handle that much of body contact. I guess some of you may know that autistic people  have different levels of tolerance to touch. I enjoy a hug or two even though myposture is a bit stiff. I had to get used to it cos Dad always kids around with me, giving me claps on the back and big bear hugs.

But till today, in about a minute I’m squirming to get away. However, on the morning of Hari Raya (Eid, celebration of completion of the fasting month) I accept the hugs willingly. It feels right. I don’t winch.

A bear hug from Dad

Why?. Maybe it’ s because of the joy in the air and some part of my brain tells me its okay, relax….. today is after all, a special day.

You would think that a guy who doesn’t do hugs all that well would clearly understand the concept of “personal space”. Well it doesn’t work that way. For a very long time Mum had to train me not to stand too close to another person (especially female). It makes that person very uncomfortable or even angry she says. Something about it ‘not being right’. Duh, SOMEBODY TELL THAT TO THESE MONKEYS!!

* Haziq’s Mum here. I try to end each post with a meaningful or humorous quote. Surprisingly I could find only 2 quotes on the subject of personal space. One was more like a cheesy pick-up line than a quote and the other?? Are you ready?  Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant! – May barbarians invade your personal space! ….. Now if that’s not a bone-chilling Latin curse; I don’t know what is.

Footnote: For the rest of us, evolution seems to have programmed this discomfort via a brain structure called the amygdalae, a pair of almond-shaped brain regions deep within each temporal lobe that control fear and the processing of emotion. It’s your amygdalae that keep you from getting so close to another person that he could easily reach out, gouge an eye, and then drag you off by your hair. Be convinced at,8599,1919910,00.html

Today makes 10

It’s been 10 days of fasting now. I have not missed any even though Mum overslept once and we missed sahur (meal before sunrise). That day was a tough one. The oh-so-hot weather didn’t help either. Mum felt so bad about it but I told her that I understand. She said if I can’t handle it it’s okay to break my fast. But it’s not okay with me to give up…. and I didn’t. So she cooked a grand meal as a reward and more than made it up to me. I ate till I could barely move. Now that’s not such a good idea cos prayers required much bending and kneeling. Needless to say I was groaning with each effort but nobody minded.

Last weekend I had a fun sahur with my family and a load of cousins. They took me to a 24-hour McDonald’s. So there I was eating a GBC at 3 o’clock in the morning in a restaurant FULL OF PEOPLE! You’d never guess it was in the middle of the night. Completely different from my healthy sahur meal of cereal, bread and a 2-0z shot of Vemma vitamin. Later that evening I wanted to break fast at Burger King but Mum said No Way Jose will she eat at two fast food restaurants on the same day. I don’t get it. What’s not to like about that?

Last evening I reminded Mum August 31st was coming soon.  She asked “What about it? Do you want to watch the National Day Parade?”

My parent's 25th Anniversary

Uh, nooo. I meant it’s a special day (Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary) so we should eat out at a nice restaurant. See, that’s the way I always start a conversation when I am planning something in my head. I point out a date, an event or very often I ask a question which I already know the answer to. For some reason some people find this quite annoying. They ask in exasperation “why do you ask a question when you already know the answer to it!!?”. I don’t know. I just do. That’s MY way. The way I see it, the sooner everyone accepts it, the better. So there.

“He who asks qu estions cannot avoid the answers” – Cameroon proverb

With a little help from my friends

I get by with a little help from my friends

Mum showed this picture to me, thinking I might get a little kick out of it. At first I just stared at it and then I realized Mum was playing tricks with me and I laughed. She decided to include this photo in today’s blog since it tickled my funny bone. Mum often asks me to look at stuff just to test my reaction. You see, I often display inappropriate reaction/behavior and she’s trying to fine tune me to the world so that I get to be more socially accepted. For example, I would laugh when someone vomits. Yeah I know…I’ve been told it’s NOT funny. My family used to cringe during movies cos I laughed at all the wrong (as in not funny) parts like the old man getting being beaten by a bully. Last week I laughed at someone who fell down hard while ice-skating. My sister was so upset with my insensitivity even though I apologized repeatedly.  The visual messages get scrambled in my brain, autism kicks in gear and produces the “wrong” response. That’s the simplest way I can explain it.

For the longest time I did not did not possess any sense of humor (which is totally different from the act of laughing).  Now I “get it” once in a while but most things just fly right over my head. Thank God for cartoons. It’s funny when Wile.E Coyote gets crushed by a boulder while chasing Roadrunner even though it must hurt crazy bad. I can laugh whenever I want cos almost every part is funny. No guessing game for me there. In the meanwhile I have to brace myself for more of Mum’s sensitivity training and remember not to laugh at a photo of a shark attack no matter how funny that seemed in Finding Nemo and Shark Tale. Bear with me. I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.

What do I do when my life goes astray
(Does it worry you to be alone)
How do I feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you’re on your own)
No, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, gonna to try with a little help from my friends
– The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967

Hello world! I am more than Autism

Haziq Izmi

Hello World! This blog belongs to me, Haziq Izmi. I am a young adult whose life and thoughts are seen through the eyes and voice of my mother. I am autistic. I have limited communication abilities. I can read and write in 2 languages with some amount of comprehension. I speak in abrupt one-line sentences in a monotonous tone. I’m not putting myself down, just to offer an explanation why the author of this blog is not myself. Instead it’s my mother reading and translating my thoughts and actions into words so that others may share my life and hopefully gain insight into what it means to be ME.

My family wishes me to have a voice in this world. And so in this blog my mother and I are as one. She who feels my daily pains and joys.

This blog does not contain autism resources, latest medical information or ground-breaking research. It is a simple life blog which may help shed some light to other families out there with special young adults. Welcome to my unique, mysterious world.