By Lisa Ackerman
An important new study from the University of Minnesota has been published regarding the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) population in Minneapolis. The results: ASD overall rate: 1 in 48. Another major finding is in the Somali population autism rates are 1 in 32.
Here is how the study got underway:
In October 2010, a Minneapolis-Somali mother asked the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to investigate reports of high numbers of Somali preschoolers with autism. Her concerns were backed by preliminary information from the Minnesota Department of Public Health. In response, Autism Speaks, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered to further investigate.
Today, researchers from University of Minnesota released their long-awaited findings in a community report (1.)
Here is a small summary of why the report was commissioned and what they found:
According to the 2010 American Community Survey, Minnesota’s Somali population is the largest in the United States. The number of people of Somali ancestry in the state is approximately 32,000, with an estimated 85,700 living all across the United States.
The estimate includes both people born in Somalia and their descendants. Other states that have large Somali populations include Ohio with 12,300, Washington with 9,300, and California with 7,500. –Minneapolis Somali ASD Prevalence Project Community Report 2013
What did the project find?
The analyses were conducted by project staff at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). These findings were then independently verified by data analysts at the CDC.
This graphic explains their findings:
The way we collect autism rates has always been survey based. Sadly, we have never had a formal census (2.)
So, after three years we were able to collect data on only one U.S. city. I believe that if the government cared enough to count THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES ASD POPULATION, this is the rate we would have across the board.
I want to thank Idil Abdull, Parent and Somali American Autism Foundation co-founder, for initiating the request for this study. She is one of the few bright spots on the IACC along with Lyn Redwood from Safe Minds. Perhaps we could ask the next question – how do we get an accurate accounting of the entire U.S. by age group of those living with autism? It’s time we stop guessing.
I hope the IACC looks to find the numbers of those affected and provide answers so we can best help these individuals. After all – shouldn’t we care enough to account for all individuals in the autism spectrum? I have been asking that same question for years (3.)
Every taxpayer/parent should be asking: Why is the rate of autism so high and what are we doing about this epidemic?
1) Full University of Minnesota report: http://rtc.umn.edu/autism/doc/Autism_report.pdf
2) How is autism calculated?: http://www.tacanow.org/news/1-in-88-or-1-in-50-which-autism-rate-will-prevail/
3) IACC commentary & recommendations: http://www.tacanow.org/blog/what-the-iacc-must-consider/