Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Somali Community
The Minnesota Department of Health and the Somali community began in a dialogue in 2008 related to concerns expressed by the community about the number of preschool Somali children with a classification of autism in the Minneapolis Public Schools. During this process, a need for more information was identified. Information below includes resources and information on autism for Somali families.
- AUTISMKA (Autism) Warbixin la Siinayo Waalidka (PDF: 128KB/2 pages)
- Parent Education for Somali Americans: Autism. (YouTube: 12 minutes and 31 seconds)
- Autism and the Somali Community – Report of Study
- Minnesota Department of Health Interpreter Roster
MDH has embarked on a two phase process to improve access to health interpreter services. Phase I is the establishment of a voluntary statewide roster of spoken language health care interpreters. Phase II will be the development of certification standards for a registry of certified interpreters.
- Minneapolis Autism Prevalence Study
The Department is providing technical assistance to the University of Minnesota LEND – Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities – program where a study of 7–9 year olds in Minneapolis is under way to estimate ASD prevalence. The study is funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and Autism Speaks and seeks to determine whether there is a higher rate of autism among Somali children compared to non–Somali children. When results are complete, a link will be posted here. Updated January 2013
- Qualitative Study of Cultural Influences on Early Identification and Access to Services
In 2012, the legislature designated $200,000 for a study to shed light on how culture influences Somali parents’ understanding of the signs and symptoms of ASD and the treatment options they choose for their children with ASD.
In partnership with the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, SoLaHmo (Somali, Latino and Hmong Partnership for Health and Wellness) will use a community–based participatory research approach in which communities generate the questions that are most important to them. The 2014 results of this study may guide and inform program planners and policy makers in developing more culturally meaningful or relevant outreach, educational or training programs, and intervention programs for parents and their children. Further, the information developed from this study can be used to guide future researchers in developing larger studies to explore broader cultural issues regarding ASD diagnosis and treatment. Updated January 2013
- Somali American Autism Foundation