Hiiraan Online Reports ICI Data on Higher Autism Rates in Twin Cities Children
Hiiraan Online, a Somali news outlet, reprinted an article by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) News about a multi-state study in which ICI participated that revealed that childhood autism rates in the Twin Cities are higher than the national average. Conducted by the Institute's Minnesota-Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (MN-ADDM), the study identified 1 in 42 children (2.4 percent) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Minnesota. This is higher than the autism prevalence rate of 1 in 59 (1.7 percent) detected among children in 11 communities around the country where prevalence was tracked by the Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring Network (ADDM). Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ADDM Network is a nationwide network of childhood autism studies and this is the first time Minnesota has been involved with it.
The relatively high prevalence of autism in Hennepin and Ramsey counties could result from health and education systems doing a better job detecting autism than in other parts of the country, said Amy Hewitt, the principal investigator for the Minnesota study. The study also examined autism rates among Somali- and Hmong-American children in the two urban counties. Anab Gulaid, who worked with Hewitt and other ICI staff on the study, said she and other researchers presented their findings to community leaders before making their results public. Such meetings provide context to the findings and Gulaid expects more of them will take place.