An Encouraging Development for Autism . . .
By Brenton Crozier
and for the Somali Community in the Twin Cities where autism is so prevalent among its children.
When researching stories for SOTRU’s Twin Cities episode, there was one story that the entire team couldn’t stop thinking about after hearing it: within the large community of Somali immigrants that live in the Minneapolis area, there is an alarming trend of autism among their children.
We told the story of a mother, Idil Abdul, turned activist, and a father, Abdi Hassan, who has dedicated his life to the special needs of his child. In the spring of 2009 the Minnesota Department of Health conducted a limited study. As Al says in the segment, “In some ways, the study created more questions than it answers.” After all, the big question, the “Why of Autism” is something the world is still trying to figure out. The public health professionals conceded that even the baseline of whether someone has autism or not is hard to determine.
The segment ended with Al lamenting how there has been talk of several in-depth studies researching what might be happening with these Somali children, but, at the time, nothing concrete had evolved.
However, we were all recently elated to hear the news this month that there is now an in-depth study set to happen!
We got an excited email from Idil letting us know that on Tuesday Jan 18th, 2011, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), National Health of Institute (NIH) and Autism Speaks announced a study of Autism and Somali children in Minnesota. As Idil wrote to us, “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.” With this study, there is a chance for progress on that front!