Somali American Autism Foundation
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."
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.
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. (www.health.state.mn.us) 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 28th, 2011: Interview by Julia Opoti from Air America Radio in Minneapolis You can listen online AM950
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.
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.