Monthly Archives: October 2013

Comments Off on What do Gov Dayton, Sen Bakk and Paris Hilton have in common?

What do Governor Dayton of Minnesota, Sen Bakk – Senate Majority leader and Paris Hilton – a Hollywood socialite have in common?

Ain’t that a good question? Short answer; You have to be their BFF to see them, for them to address your concerns or have fair and objective policies.
Why such harsh comparison. Well, let’s explain.
Gov Dayton who won less than several thousand votes in Minnesota in 2010 preached so many sugar coded words that almost gave you a cavity. He said he will reach-out to communities of color, to the under-served constituents, pass fair and equal policies – the list is long, but you get the hint.

Mark’s Pledge to the Somali Community:

Mark will work with Minnesota’s Congressional delegation to speed up the family reunion process, helping families splintered by war and the refugee crisis to reunite.

Mark will work with the Congressional delegation to ensure that Green Card and Citizenship applications are processed quickly and fairly.

Mark knows that Somali Minnesotans are struggling to find good-paying jobs in this tough economy. He will stand up for economic justice and work to ensure that Somalis have access to state job-training initiatives.

Mark is alarmed by the Minnesota Department of Health’s findings that autism is seven times more prevalent in the Somali community than in other communities. As Governor, he will charge the Department to work with the Somali community, public health experts, and researchers to find the reasons for that disparity and how to overcome it.

In fact, Gov Dayton’s administration has refused to continue the work started by Gov Pawlenty’s health department, they have refused to do anything with significant research for autism in our community. Their reason – they are not qualified or they don’t like us. I kid you not. They are the health dept for the whole state in charge of everyone’s health, especially children. They are qualified, they just don’t want to because we are not their BFF. That is their reason and we need to vote smarter, if we want our concerns to be addressed by our state government. 
I know many promises and so little deliveries. Why – you ask. 
Let’s explain. 
First, hiring a heartless hammer for a gate keeper – Smith probably damped equality and reasonable. 
2nd, only talking and addressing his BFF or friends concerns took away credibility for a governor who should govern everyone in the state irrespective of their political belief, color, personality, location. And, I added location because North Mpls was hit by a tornado years ago has not fully been helped. I have no doubt if those residents were not minorities or low income, the result would have been different. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.
3rd, having one African American in his two dozen cabinets seals the deal of I will be your governor that uplifts your concerns. Remember when Gov Dayton visited North Mpls and everyone partied like it was 1999 to only be dropped so fast because he never came back nor were any of those residents issues really addressed. See that here: It turns out statistics for North Mpls is the same or worse under Gov Dayton’s leadership who got 90% of their vote. 
Then there is Sen Bakk, – the hometown – low key and down to earth senator during campaigns then after election grew some heart cutting teeth. Remember when Sen Bakk said if I get 10 constituents complain about a specific issue, that is a red flag. Well – need I say more, clearly there are more than 10 Somali autism parents and their issues dropped faster NY minute. Even the Vikings deal which was sold as a job creator for minority contractors – not going so hot anymore. 
In Sum, unless you are their BFF – you can forget their government representing you. It’s often said elections have consequences and voting for Gov Dayton and Sen Bakk again by the minority communities they have neglected while they were in power is stupid and our fault if we do it again. 
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me every election cycle, shame on us. Vote Wisely!
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Update on DHS & Autism Benefit Meeting

Comments Off on Update on DHS & Autism Benefit Meeting

Alright, so we met on Tuesday Oct 22, 2013 for a little less than two hours about Minnesota Department of Human Services’ newly passed ASD legislation.

To give some background here, the last MN house/senate/governor passed a new ASD benefit for low income children on MA/Medicaid. This benefit is called early intervention services and will cover both behavior and developmental services for children on Medicaid up to age 18.
This is a fight that I along with tons of other Somali autism parents have been involved in ever since spring of 2010 after we found out about Rep Norton’s yukky legislation. See that story here:
The short version is Minn dept of human services or DHS was paying autism therapy called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for upper/middle income autism families on fee for service Medicaid, while it denied the same services to autism families on managed care who are usually low income and disproportionately minorities. Hence, the large gap and disparity for autism therapy in Minnesota. 
As a result, we had a laser like focus to change this horrible double standard and bias policy. We asked, pleaded, begged, testified and testified some more for equal access. We asked and pleaded for DHS to call autism therapy what it is and not skills training or camel training. 
We prevailed in 2013 session whereby Gov Dayton with the recommendations from HSAC (legislatively recommended by prev politicians in charge), and pushed by DHS Commissioner Jesson allocated $12 Million for it. This will be matched 50% by CMS who I am fairly certain will approve this 1915i waiver once MN DHS submits it by end of the year.
Basically, MN DHS and Governor Dayton had three choices, either pay the same therapy and services for managed care kids as you do for fee for services high income kids or pay for no one. 
Well – they could not stop services for the fee for service families because many of those parents are doctors and lawyers who would have sued DHS and Gov Dayton’s administration if they stopped medically necessary treatments they have been getting for years. And, they could no longer ignore managed care/low income families, thanks to our friends in the media who kept it on the front burner. 
So, I guess the third choice and best choice was to pay for everyone on Medicaid, call it the right name and make it culturally relevant. I think that was a smart choice. DHS will also now make sure that current managed care autistic kids get the same skills training as fee for services do. So, if you are a family that has managed care and has been denied ABA, please call DHS to have that corrected. 
Alright, so at this meeting last week, DHS basically updated us on their plan and current CMS application. They asked for advice relating to diagnoses, discharge, parent involvement and education. I thought it was very helpful and DHS folks Anne Harrington whom I respect and admire more than she will ever know and Dr. Schiff who is simply inspiring and so articulate explained it well and thoroughly. There were some folks who were a little disappointed with who will have the authority to diagnose, discharge, decide on intensity, etc, but overall – it was great.
To make it even better DHS just announced they are going to hire a policy specialist to help them with this new ASD policy. See that here:
In addition, if you remember there was an additional language that passed for provider training in CLAS (culturally and linguistically appropriate services) which DHS did not ask for extra fiscal note and said it would do it. I really appreciated that.
Overall – I would give it an A- for this meeting and hope that we can get to a state of equality, fairness and good quality of care for all children with autism in Minnesota. 
Personally, I think what would make DHS and Jesson have an A in my mind is if she hired asst commissioners that reflected the communities DHS serves. And, if some of her policy advisers were from diverse communities. I think then I might party like it is 1999. DHS can do this if they really really really wanted to because they do it all the time for non-minority communities by giving them an opportunity to learn and move up.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

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Comments Off on Current MN ASD TF Worse than Prev One – Really

Alright, so without a quorum – new chair was elected after nominating herself. Abbie Herzog represents MN department of economic development (the agency in charge of employment and could not name one person with autism from Somalia they helped with a job). And probably responsible for Minneapolis having the worst (that is right) unemployment rate for African Americans in the country. Imagine that – maybe DEED should concentrate on their job more and a little less in removing or controlling autism parents opinions. 

Remember when Rep Norton (the queen of autism disparity) stated MN Statue 15.059 applies to MN ASD TF and it did not according to so many folks from both the Senate and House. Basically, Norton just wants to remove members that disagree with her failed autism policies. How convenient. 
Anyway, after repeatedly stating such statue does NOT apply here, current chair ignores facts and posts publicly some out of this world operating procedures. Remember how painful & uncomfortable it was to watch the wedding of Liza Minneli and David Gest. Well, watching and reading these new rules might just take the cake here. Read that post here:
I mean it has so many wild rules such as the previous chair who resigned because I bothered him with little things like equality and sharing the federal resources from CAA that I advocated for in Congress will come back as chair if the current chair is absent. It is like asking Susan Rice to fill in for John Kerry or Lois Lerner being asked for advice on the website. It is that stupid. Shouldn’t folks that resigned or left be left alone. Apparently that does not matter in hillbilly land. 
I wonder if Michael Moore can do a movie out of this. Also, notice there were no meeting minutes posted for months now for a public committee so that the public can see. 
In addition, they can cancel meetings at anytime, but if god forbid members can’t come – they are punished or removed. The new dictator – sorry the new chair can set meetings for days that are impossible for many to come without any regard to others schedule. 
My fav is please don’t talk about a public committee’s public recommendations or views. Now what now? Or please don’t talk to any media about any public elected officials public policies. Now what now? 
Oh, yeah let’s not talk about Rep. Norton’s failed public policies for autism for the past four years against low income and minority autism families. See my prev post about that here:
Not only will we connect those failed policies to Rep Norton, but we will do our best to defeat her next election. Norton does not in any shape, form or manner represent her poorest constituents in Rochester, MN. She has thrown them under the bus, over the 35W bridge and into the highway so many times than we can count. See her kitchen sink amendment last session & vote her out.
Remember Norton’s bias Amendment A71 in Health and Human services house bill in session 2013 that said children with autism that have medical assistance or Medicaid can only have autism therapy up to age 7 or two years if they are diagnosed after. And, by the same token, Norton wanted children of upper/middle income to get autism therapy up to age 18. That is right – a clear double standard and deliberate discrimination for two American children getting two unequal access to care both being paid by the same funder, yet so unfair. And, we are suppose to be quite about that. Are you kidding me. I am determined to help whoever runs against Norton even if it is a Manikin. We all should, especially the Somali community that is struggling with autism and lives in Rochester. 
Anyway, this ASD TF is now becoming a joke and waste of time for many members including this writer. There has been several meetings wasted on meaningless and silly rules that do not apply. Imagine if those times were spent on actual work of addressing autism in Minnesota – how much would be accomplished. My IACC fellow member wrote a recent blog about how he no longer reads or follows specific autism advocates because it has deteriorated to a level of garbage. I really feel the same about MN ASD TF’s silly rules that have no basis and no leg to stand on. 
It reminds me of a mismatched mix of arrogance, ignorance and a hint of smile. The end result is still useless. 
The only good thing now is the bias and subjective mediators are done with their divisive and side taking so called work. No one can force members for what is not on the actual bill that passed and this has been all a waste of everyone’s time. 
Here is my advice, if we un-elect horrible policy makers like Rep. Norton and Sen. Eaton then things like this won’t happen or will be a lot less and a lot less headache. 
Hadaad Somali tahay oo aad Rochester ama Brooklyn Center dagan tahay – fadlan mar danbe ha u codaynin Rep Norton iyo Sen Eaton. Iyaga ayaa u sabab ah in caruurteena ay heli waayaan maclumaadka ay u baahan yahiin ee ku saabsan autismka. 
Above words are of-course my opinion and views and do not represent any committee.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on DHS Autism Advisory Committee will Meet 10/22/13 @DHS

Remember, when HSAC (health services advisory council which by the way had zero person of color) was charged by the state legislature under GOP leadership to come up with a good autism intervention plan for children with autism in Minnesota. 

To explain a little bit and give some background. MN department of human services or DHS has been paying and providing autism therapy called ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis for wealthier children that have fee for services Medicaid/MA. All the while – they (DHS) were denying the same and equal therapy for low income children on Managed care Medicaid. Now, fee for service Medicaid and Managed Care Medicaid come from the same funding sources, 1/2 Federal and 1/2 state. Yet DHS (the agency responsible for the poor and the disabled was willingly and blindfoldedly leaving the low income kids with autism who are disproportionately minorities. Then, we wonder why autism disparity is so high among families of color. That kind of double standard policy is exactly why. See that story here. Also, see here when Rep Abeler asked why the disparity creating policy and the double standard of DHS when he was he chair of HHS Finance committee in the house. Those were the good old days, now Rep Huntley just ignores autism and the poor.
We in the Somali community parents find out about it when the queen of autism disparity Rep Norton wanted to pass an autism insurance bill for the wealthy back in 2010. As a result, we make our parent duty to testify consistently in state legislature and ask fair treatment. I remember I would watch when their disability director, Medicaid director or policy advisers were on the schedule to speak and I would walk needles on fire to be there and testify against their double standard policy. At one committee meeting – one of DHS’s puppets told the committee when he was asked do you pay autism therapy for the rich and not for the poor. (well – we pay for running, we pay for catching a ball, we pay for throwing a ball, we pay for hitting a ball with a big stick,” he told legislators, “but we do not pay for baseball). What? If you are confused, imagine how we felt. How does one play any ball without a ball. I mean really – we are a lot of things down here at minority autismville, but stupid is not of them. 
At any rate, we learned to connect politicians, their policies and our votes and worked relentlessly to get equal access for all or no access for any. We also asked DHS to call autism therapy ABA what it is and not skills training or camel training. 
To make a long story short, in 2013 session – DHS finally came up with an autism therapy intervention plan that passed the state legislature at 1AM on the last day of HHS conference committee meeting. I know because I was the only Black person there as usual that night or I guess morning. 
Here is my take on this new benefit which will still need CMS approval and by the way, CMS asks and actually recommends public input and public opinions that is not censured or Ok’d by DHS. In other words, you can make your comments or opinion to CMS and don’t need to go through DHS to do it. 
Anyway, my little humble opinion is;
I would give it A- or B+ and here is why. 1st the good;
1st, it will be called what it is and not some under the table name that most parents didn’t understand or know. 
2nd, It will cover children up to age 18 as many minority kids get diagnosed later than 7. (remember when Rep Norton wanted poor kids autism therapy to end at age 7 in her kitchen sink amendment introduced in house health finance cmte.) This woman must be defeated in next election).
3rd, It will have an avenue for parents to call if there are disagreements between provider and family.
4th, It will need an objective and outside medical professional to make diagnoses and recommendations including if parents ask for it and they won’t be penalized for that.
5th, It will cover both behavior and developmental therapies since autism affects a child’s behavior and their development. 
6th, It will have a component to assure services are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
Now, the bad. 
1st, DHS is a services/Medicaid agency and not a health department. Therefore, they are not equipped to do autism research or any research for that matter. And, they should leave this to the professionals. There are already hundreds of millions of dollars spent on what therapy works for what kind of autism by both Federal agencies and many health state dept, but I have never seen research done by a Medicaid agency. I am not sure how they can accomplish this.
2nd, It leaves so much room and decision to DHS bureaucrats in terms of which therapy, for how long and how intense. I would have liked them to have some kind of dollar cap per year and have more hours for younger kids and less hours for older kids. This way, each child would have guaranteed hours of therapy based on their age. Now, what will most likely happen is if and when DHS tries to deny hours or higher intensity for upper/middle class autism families, they will fight and even might sue because they have the means to do it. By the same token, if and when DHS denies hours/high intensity for low income and/or minority kids – they will just accept that and take as they don’t have the means to sue DHS or demand different opinion. 
Finally, I really like Dr. Schiff and Ellie who were the brains behind many of the ideas for this benefit. I just hoped they wrote a better plan that regardless of income or color, every child had access to the same services. I think the way it is written now leaves a lot of room for inequalities and more bias decisions. 
Above words are my opinions and do not reflect any advisory group.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom and Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

2013 MN Elections and what it means for Autism

Comments Off on 2013 MN Elections and what it means for Autism

Alright, so this year is not the usual election year, but there are still important elections coming up in couple of weeks on Tuesday Nov 5th, 2013. 

Here is my take and how some of them relate to autism, especially for our community.
Let’s start with the top one – Mayor RT has decided to not run and continue his dream job. I personally say good riddance and goodbye. Why such harsh opinion you ask. Well, let’s dig deeper. While Minneapolis enjoys being the top for healthcare, education, low unemployment rate and tons of lakes that make it a good place to raise a family – the same cannot be said for minorities. For example, African Americans in Mpls which include Somalis have the highest unemployment rate in the country, near the bottom for education gap between black and white students, one of the worst health disparity or health gap for African Americans and one of the highest gap for home ownership between blacks and whites. The list of horrible statistics is probably worse, but you get hint. 
So, how can a mayor with so much charm & charisma have such ugly outcome for his most loyal voters and citizens. My take is – not hiring enough folks of color with a backbone to advise him on various issues, assuming he understands the needs of minority communities when he clearly does not and maybe some sense of smug arrogance. Therefore, I am glad RT is not coming back and hope that whoever wins will roll up their sleeves and make sure equality is the norm and opportunities will be fair for all.
So, who is running? dozens is the short answer. I know after RT’s horrible record for fairness – everyone and their mamas thought they could be better – my humble little opinion. 
I have few favorites; Cam Winton – see his website here: I think Cam has lots of innovative ideas, is down to earth and is not your typical politician. 
I also like Don Samuels. He is from Mpls city council representing North Mpls which has the largest African Americans, he is an immigrant himself and understands what it is like for many of us. He is also married to the director of NAZ (Northside Achievement Zone) aimed at improving our shameful achievement education record. 
Finally, Betsy Hodges who said many good things she will do if she wins including address autism in our community. The Somali person in her campaign said the most interesting yet so true statement to us on Somali radio. Cirro said most of the candidates wanted to hire him and when he would meet with them, they were mostly interested in how they can get Somali votes. On the other hand, when he met with Ms. Hodges – she wanted to know how she could help the community first and not how can she get their votes. That is very true for so many of these MN elected officials who only come to our community when they want votes and drop us faster than hot potato when they win. She also signed a letter of what exactly she will do if she wins. See her site here.
Then there are many maybe the most Somalis in history running for public office this year in Minneapolis. Abdi Warsame for city council – see site here, Abdi Abdulle for city council – see site here,  Hashim Yonis for park board commissioner – see site here and others. 
(ward means dagmo like hodan or beexaani)
My advice would be get to know them and vote based on policy and how authentic they are. We are in Minnesota by the thousands and elections are won here by few hundred votes. We need to vote wise and smart based on policy and not on emotion of (qofka caawinaya xyz person ayaad isku qabiil tihiin, taas waa waxa qaxootiga inaga dhigay).
Whether city council, mayor or park board – all of them will have some affect on autistic children/adults and their families. For instance, imagine if the parks had safe gates so that our kids could not wander and be safe. Imagine if adequate funding were allocated to our communities so that autism families could benefit, imagine if more first responders and police were trained about autism. All of these and more is possible, we must vote first and vote wisely.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on IACC’s Planning Group for Questions 5 & 6 Sept 30th, 2013 Meeting

The Federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee’s planning sub group for questions five and six of the national autism strategic plan met via phone conference on September 30th, 2013. 

I am on this sub-group and our co chairs are Denise and David whom I have so much respect for and admire their approach of everyone has a voice even if we disagree and it is done transparently and openly for all to see and hear their votes and voices. How simple, yet so refreshing. 
Question five states – where do I turn for services?
That is such an important question for parents and families. In other words, when your child is diagnosed with autism – there must and should be easy to understand avenues to get services and resources to maximize his/her potential.
To explain this a little deeper – each question of the plan usually has several objectives which then sort of drive the various research done by usually Federal government agencies or private funders. This can vary from few million dollars of research to hundreds of millions of dollars of autism research. The goal here is to have enough concrete and hard core double blind studies & for sure outcome. So that parents and families know exactly where to turn for services regardless of if they have private or public insurance. Regardless of where their child is on the autism spectrum. And, most importantly regardless of what state, district, county or city they live. 
Where to turn for services should be easy, accessible and affordable. This is the ultimate goal. 
So, if you look at the research done and the hundreds of millions of dollars spent so far – we are closer, but nothing to write home about is my humble little opinion. 
For example, one of the area that I am very much interested is decreasing and eliminating autism disparity for racially and ethnic communities and there has not been enough or even close research to train and educate therapist of color from minority communities. There are not enough minority autism researchers, teachers, speech therapist, OT therapist, behavior therapist and psychologist. Nor is there a good objective asking that under question 5 which is how research is driven.
In my opinion, if more professionals reflected the children and communities they were serving, there would be less mis-understandings, a lot less bias (intentional or not) a lot less confusion and more understanding and better outcome/results for children and families of color.
Training and educating minorities to be autism professionals is a must and a needed necessity. Yet, very little funds for research has been done by both the government and private entities. I think when you have 10 whites talk about racial and ethnic disparity then that in itself is a huge problem. It is like 10 men talking about women and childbirth. It just does not mix well and I am noticing this dis-connect in both state and federal level. This kind of tactic which has not worked for years and decades must change and change must be demanded persistently, if we are really serious about autism disparity. 
It is sort of like which comes first the chicken or the egg. There are not enough minority autism professionals. Therefore, those talking about it are not them. But then how do you get them to be at the table if they are not intentionally recruited and trained – right? The million dollar question here.
I am hoping for this next year and beyond – there will be more intentional and recruiting of autism professionals that will reflect autism faces and families in this country. Otherwise, disparity will not end at all.
The other question six is – what does the future hold for adults with autism. This is probably an area that everyone at IACC agrees we need to do more. There is usually less than 1% total funding used for autistic adults and research or even training. In other words, these children do grow up and become adults and I really think as a society, we are not ready for a tsunami that is about to hit. 
For more information on question five of the national strategic plan, click here:
And, more information on what has been done for question six, click here:
For more in depth and detailed information on research and funding, click here:
As usual, above words are my opinions and do not reflect IACC or any autism committee. 
Idil – Somali Autism Mom and Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on MN Autism TF Meets Oct 3rd, 2013 – Drama Continues

I was not able to go to this meeting and as usual these words are my opinions and views only.

From what I understand the mediators who if you remember took sides initially were there and thank god this was their last time. I mean really – what kind of mediation happens when the mediators are not objective and have clouded judgement. How does that even work – mediate by taking sides.
At any rate, I am glad they are done and good riddance. Here is my view;
Rep Norton (who since she joined MN ATF has been nothing but disruptive) and company are demanding to remove members by pulling their names out of a hat. I kid you not. They are also demanding to change a law that passed both chambers of MN legislature and signed by the Governor in a barbaric and silly way. I love how they say “we hear your concerns” and yet keep voting unfairly and silly. The sheer smug and arrogance of Rep Norton is really beyond belief. If you can believe it ever since she joined MN ATF and for the past several months now, we have wasted time and efforts on useless and meaningless chat and words. Rather than who can be removed, silenced, dictated, etc and etc, we should be concentrating on our actual charge of statewide autism plan. 
Here is the statue that Rep Norton keeps referring to but as usual either does not understand or refuses to understand the content. I wonder where I noticed that before? Oh yeah – in her autism legislations for the past four years. 
And, if you read the task force section it says very clearly the following statements; 

Subd. 6.Advisory task forces.


If the existence of an advisory task force is mandated by statute, the task force shall expire on the date specified in the enabling legislation. If no expiration date is specified, the task force shall expire two years after the effective date of the act creating the advisory task force. If the existence of a task force is authorized but not mandated by statute, the task force shall expire at the pleasure of the person or group which creates the task force, or two years after the first members of the task force are appointed, whichever is sooner. A person or group mandated or with discretionary authority to create a task force may create another task force to continue the work of a task force which expires, unless the enabling legislation specifies an expiration date or creation of another task force is prohibited by other law.

Rep Norton and company including previous chair now running for a Bloomington school board, Pacer and MDH reps whose agencies preach equality while their MN ATF representatives vote for inequality have derailed the rest of us from doing our work and helping the thousands of Minnesota families struggling with autism and all of the frustration it entails. 
There are over hundred Minn house representatives and current Speaker Thissen appoints the queen of autism disparity. Go figure and please vote wiser next time because insanity is voting for the same people and expecting different policies and outcome. 
Idil – Somali Autism Mom and Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Government Shutdown Affects IACC and Autism

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Below is the public notice that anyone on IACC’s list-serve should have gotten. Our upcoming meetings for various questions regarding the national strategic plan have been cancelled due to the government shutdown. 

Since, IACC consists of Federal employees and public members are considered special Federal employees – we are on furlough status. Below is detailed information about it. NIH which is where IACC is under does so much more critical work and it is sad that adults in Congress can’t get along and compromise to keep NIH and other important Federal government functions going. 

Please note that there has been a lapse in appropriations that has resulted in the closure of federal offices, including the NIH Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC), and a suspension of the activities of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).


OARC has been recalled to service briefly to provide an update to the public regarding upcoming meetings. The Question 1 Planning Group Phone Meeting on October 4, 2013, the Question 3 Planning Group Phone Meeting on October 7, 2013 and the IACC Full Committee In-Person Meeting on October 9, 2013 have all been canceled.  Please see below for details.  Due to the shutdown, we are unable to update the IACC website to reflect these cancellations, but are providing notice in the form of this e-mail of the cancellations. After sending this notice, OARC will return to furlough status and will not be able to respond to e-mails or phone calls.


The October 29, 2013 IACC Strategic Plan Update Workshop remains as scheduled, but is subject to change.  If the workshop is not able to take place as an in-person meeting due to the effects of the government shutdown, it will take place by phone only or will be canceled.  The public will be notified if there is a change in schedule or format for the workshop.  If the workshop is changed to a phone-only meeting due to the effects of the shutdown, public comment will be accepted in writing only, and may not be able to be shared with the IACC until after the workshop to the time required for staff to process the comments in accordance with federal rules and regulations prior to sharing them with the committee. 


The OARC remains closed, and therefore our staff will not be able to respond to e-mails or process public comments during this time.  When the government reopens, we will send out notices about the status of IACC activities.


Thank you for your understanding. 


CANCELED: IACC Strategic Plan Update Question 1 (When Should I Be Concerned?) Planning Group Conference Call

·      Friday, October 4, 2013AgendaMaterials
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern
No in-person meeting; conference call only


CANCELED: IACC Strategic Plan Update Question 3 (What Caused This to Happen and Can It Be Prevented?) Planning Group Conference Call

·      Monday, October 7, 2013AgendaMaterials
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern
No in-person meeting; conference call only


CANCELED: IACC Full Committee Meeting

·      Wednesday, October 9, 2013
9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern
Fishers Lane Conference Center – Terrace Level
5635 Fisher Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20852
Map and Directions 

Public comments received for this meeting will be collected and saved for the October 29, 2013  workshop or the next meeting of the IACC.


CURRENTLY STILL SCHEDULED: IACC Strategic Plan Update Workshop

·      Tuesday, October 29, 2013
9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern
NIH Neuroscience Center – Conference Rooms C and D
6001 Executive Boulevard
Rockville, Maryland 20852
Map and Directions 


Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on Past MN Autism Task Force Chair is Running for MN School Board

Previous MN Autism Task Force Chair, Dawn Steigauf is running for Bloomington School Board this year. The following words are my opinions and do not represent previous or present autism task force or any committee.

Bloomington school district has a good percentage of African Americans as well as other minorities. Their current board is made up of 7 members – 4 men and three women. Zero are persons of color including zero African American. Not a shock there.
When Ms. Steigauf was the MN Autism TF chair, she wrote language that included most non-minority autism agencies in Minn to be represented in the current task force, but took off all minority autism agencies. Her reasoning – (not everyone likes that minority autism agency). I kid you not, my response “does every non-minority autism parent like Ausm, Arc or Pacer? Not really. 
As the lone person always fighting for under-served autism families – I protested & made sure that the language of the bill had diverse autism agencies or mention no agency. To make a long story short, the ever calm and reasonable Rep Mack (R – Apple Valley) took off any names for any agency and just put representatives from advocacy agencies including one from a minority group.
In addition, Ausm Previous President Ms. Kenny (an amazing inclusive leader) apologized for Ms. Steigauf since she represented Ausm in the last MN Autism TF. 
And, for the current task force – Ms. Steigauf represents a parent and has voted against the letter of support that had minority agencies sharing the HRSA autism grant. (Remember all of the hoopla with that). So many members wanted to vote against minority and rural autism families behind the scenes while pretending to be fair and inclusive in public. Imagine if folks voted what they said and said what they voted for. That might be a wishful thinking here, but we can all hope. 
So, I guess my question is how can anyone with such views that are not inclusive and defiant represent a growing diverse school district that has many needs and challenges?
My take is Ms. Steigauf should not be elected to such important seat. 
There is a large and growing Somali residents in Bloomington and I hope you all use your votes and voices wisely. Choose those that will represent you and your issues. 
Oh, you might hear Ms. Steigauf’s adopted kids are minorities. Remember Sen. Thurmond had an African American daughter, yet he voted against every possible civil rights legislation. Judge them on their policies and not their words, or family members.  
Bloomington school district already has a bad achievement gap between Black and White students, adding Ms. Steigauf will only make it worse. We need diverse school board members to reflect Bloomington. 

Idil – Somali Autism Mom and Minority Advocate

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