Somali American Autism Foundation

In The News

In the News:  WCCO, Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, NY Times, Boston Globe - online, BBC News, Medical News Today, Local ABC & CBS news, MPR, Local Fox news, MSNBC - online, Huffington Post, US News & World Report - online, Hiiraan Online, Arab-American Television - Belahdan with Ahmed,, Minneapolis Television Network, Twin Cities Public Television - Almanac, Somali television of Rochester, Somali weekly radio show (KFAI), Puntland Post and Twin Cities Daily Planet - MN Voices. Below are some of the links for Autism and our children.  We thank wholeheartedly all of the journalists and reporters local, national and international that validated and told our concerns to the public. Thank You very much! 

Below are some of the links.

2014 Autism News and Activities:

Somali Autism Surveillance Study by UMN, CDC and NIH Release:

New York Times: Study Links Autism and Somalis in Minneapolis: Thanks Donald for always telling our pain and joy with autism!

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Autism Hits Somali Kids Harder: (the first Somali autism story by Mpls Trib without our friend Maura)

Yahoo News via Associated Press: Autism Higher in Minnesota Somali Children: (my fav news editor of all time - Doug GLass @ AP)

Minnpost: Autism Highest Among Somali and White Children - Study Finds (note the reporter does not TALK to even one single Somali person for this interview, when I asked they said they could not find one. What a load of crap)

MPR: Study Finds Somali and White kids equally susceptible to Autism. (actually Somalis 1 in 32, Whites 1 in 36, not exactly equal - it is four points higher for our kids)

2013, Autism News and Activities:

Pioneer Press Story on asking and demanding State legislatures to look at medical necessity, equality and cost effective on Autism Therapies

Minneapolis Star Tribune Story - We need equal access to autism therapy for low income/Minority autism families

Minnesota Spokesman Recorder covers our story of autism and equality to care, services and resources in Minnesota

BBC London Radio about autism, measles, Somalis, services or lack thereof, MDH, Wakefield, and much more - good interview.

Autism Mother fights for equal access to autism therapy by Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder & Twin Cities Daily Planet

Somali Parents Struggle with Trauma of Childhood Autism in Minnesota by Michelle @ Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News

2012, Autism News & Activities:

U to Research rate of Autism in Somali Community - - May 2012.

By Chris Snowbeck, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, MN - HHS Budget includes Somali Autism Research

April 30th, 2012 - Minn MPR, Gov Dayton signs Health bill which includes $200,000 for Somali Autism Study to be done by Minn Dept of Health and Univ of Minn School of Public Health by Elizabeth Dunbar

MPR - Somali Named to a Federal Autism Committee by HHS Sec Sebelius

March 30, 2012, Autism Rates Rise 80% over the last Decade to 1 in 88 (If autism had a middle name, it would be Uncertain) - Minneapolis Star Tribune by Maura Lerner


utism Awareness Month Conference | The White HouseApr 25, 2011 ... is the official web site for the White House and President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.  

April 25th, 2011 - White House Autism Event:
A Warm and Sincere Welcome at the highest office of the United States of America - An incredibly surreal experience for a Somali Autism Mom!

I was extremely honored and excited to have been invited and learned so much including a doctor from Seattle who said autism seems to be high among Somali American children there as well more than the general population which I did not know. It was an awesome experience that I will never forget. All of the speakers were kind, sincere and thoughtful. My favorite was Mr. Strautmanis who has a son with autism. There is something that just connects when an autism parent talks about autism. He was inspirational, humble, funny and truthful. When he described his son - I thought he was talking about my son, then another autism mom sitting next to me said the same thing. He just connected with all of us in a real and kind way. He even stayed til everyone who wanted to talk to him had a chance. I have never been to the White House and did not know what to expect but what I got were honest folks with a sincere desire to help all Americans succeed and reach their full potential. That was my take on my visit to the White House. I thank everyone especially Mr. Dale who was the brains behind this historic event.
Lessons Learned: I am extremely grateful to be in a country where a mom's voice and concerns are validated by our elected officials local, state and
national of both parties

Autism campaign nets White House trip |
Apr 28, 2011 ... Back in high school, Idil Abdull remembers, she once posed in front of the White House for a photo. It was the only time she was there ...

Presidential Proclamation--World Autism ... - The White House
President of the United States of America, ... proclaim April 2 of each year as World Autism Awareness Day. ... day

April 2011:
Both of Minnesota's senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken have recognized April as autism awareness month. Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman was kind enough to ask Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to pass a resolution recognizing April as autism awareness month.  We thank all of our elected officials state and congress for feeling our pain and challenges and supporting all Minnesota autism parents.

Sen Franken's Statement on World Autism Day Friday April 1, 2011:
Today, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) released the following statement in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day:

"Autism is a heartbreaking disease that affects as many as 1 in 110 American children. On World Autism Awareness Day, I want to recognize the parents and families of children with autism, in Minnesota and across the U.S., and stand with them in the fight to bring relief from autism spectrum disorders. I look forward to the day when autism will be no more."

Sen Amy Klobuchar Statement on Autism Awareness Day:
Washington, DC - Sen. Amy Klobuchar released the following statement regarding World Autism Awareness Day:

“Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability, affecting one out of every 65 Minnesota eight-year-olds. That’s the highest rate of any state in the nation. It’s critical that we raise awareness about autism and how early diagnosis and intervention can help improve the quality of life for children living with it. I join families across the country in support of autistic children everywhere and in the fight to develop better services, improve treatment, and ultimately find a cure.”

IACC News Update:
Monday, February 28, 2011 
Mother's Testimony to the IACC Sparks Rapid Response to Investigate Autism Rates in Somali Families Living in Minnesota
Ms. Idil Abdull spoke with conviction as she addressed the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) in October 2010, "If you want to know the answer to autism, come and study us. This is your gold mine," said the Somali mother of a child with autism and cofounder of the Somali American Autism Foundation. Read more | Related Articles


Feb 2011 - AUCD announces Somali Autism Grant of $400,000   "Surveillance of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Select Children who Live in Minneapolis: Do Children of Somali Descent Have a Higher ASD Prevalence?" Any University that is in UCEDD or LEND can apply which includes University of Minnesota. One of the requirements is community involvement and as parents, we want to caution that any Somali does not qualify. Autism carries such stigma and shame and it is very critical to have those in the community that parents feel comfortable with otherwise research results might be diluted and not accurate. Therefore, parents of autistic children hope that anyone who eventually gets this funding respects and validates Somali culture as well as families living with autism. Whatever the results of this research will set the tone of what happens next and our children's future.

Tuesday Jan 18th, 2011:
Tuesday Jan 18th, 2011, a joint press release from Center for Disease Control (CDC), National Health of Institute (NIH) and Autism Speaks stated that Autism and Somali children in Minnesota will be studied.  If it is found to be true high prevalence this will lead and possibly solve the AUTISM puzzle.  (more information on this can be found online or Mpls Star Tribune, New York Times, Associated Press, Minn Public Radio, StateoftheRenion - NPR, Autism Speaks, BBC radio - etc)

'A voice for the voiceless' in Somali autism debate |  
Apr 6, 2009... Until a few months ago, Idil Abdull avoided taking her 6-year-old son... "Idil has been the voice for the voiceless," said Anne Harrington, ...

An Outbreak of Autism, or a Statistical Fluke? - on March 16, 2009

Autism In The Somali Community | State of the Re:Union Jan 31, 2011 Al Letson, autism in the somali community,

NIMH · NIMH Teams Up to Study ASD Rates in Somali-American Children  
Jan 20, 2011... NIMH will be supporting a joint effort with the Centers for... of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), Idil Abdull, ... www.nimh.nih.govScience NewsScience News from 2011   

Any family that has a child or children in our case knows it is no day at the park and no parent should accept autism is an unsolved puzzle. We must find cause, cure and better treatments. We especially want to thank everyone at CDC, NIH, Autism Speaks, Both Minn US Senators and as far back as Sen Coleman, State elected officials (majority senate leader and speaker of MN house of reps) and Somali community leaders for their relentless efforts in helping us get to this point. We also want to thank all of our friends in local, national and international Media - without their thoughtful and compassionate coverage, we would not be where we are today. Thanks so much from the bottom of our hearts!
Our best thanks is to Commissioner Dr. Magnan of Minnesota Dept of Health and everyone in her team for their baseline report of March 2009. ( Thanks also to American Academy of Pediatrics for asking their pediatricians to be proactive with Somali families in getting their kids into early intervention and services. We hope that services and resources in Minnesota are more equal and are culturally/linguistically appropriate especially within MN Dept of Human services and their counties especially since research states that children of color are diagnosed up to two years later and receive less services. Thanks everyone for your help and kindness. We are extremely and humbly grateful.May God Bless you and all Children with Autism!

May 10th, 2011 - MPR Interview by Lorna Benson:
As a mom as I have said continuously I am not sure what caused my son's autism and don't think it was the MMR. Am I afraid of everything I did or did not do for him - of course, who wouldn't be. Am I frustrated by our health department's slow move to figure out what is going on in our community by collaborating with national public health agencies, universities and researchers - of course. Are there parents that believe their child's autism might have been caused or triggered by environmental factors - of course. Should we validate them and find out what that is? Not doing it will have unintended public health crises and as an advocate I must respect all parents' views after all each parent can only speak for their own child since autism is a spectrum and no two kids have exactly the same symptoms.

Jan 18th 2011 - Laura Yuen of MPR Interview with Dr. Dawson of Autism Speaks regarding the upcoming study that it funded with NIH & CDC.

Jan 6th 2011: Interview by Tom Crann of MPR: The point being more research is needed by Minnesota's universities and public health officials.

An interview by Lorna Benson of MPR March 31, 2009 - after MDH's report stating autism was higher among Somali American children born in Minnesota attending Mpls Public Schools up to seven times higher. This is a good first step and hope that the health dept does more to explore why.


Parent Education video for Somali American Autism Families

Interview by Somali Television of Minnesota about awareness and State of MN having both public and private funding pay and support medically necessary autism behavior therapies including low income children/adults that have Medicaid.

Website Builder