Monthly Archives: February 2014

Comments Off on Mohamud Noor Gives A Disappointing Speech @ Brian Coyle Redo Caucus

As we all heard by now, Rep Phyllis Kahn who has represented district 60B in Minneapolis which now has lots of Somali Americans has been in office for decades. Rep Kahn is now being challenged by Noor who is a Somali and recently moved to this district.

He is also the interim executive director at Confederation Somali Community of Minnesota (CSCM) after Dr. Saeed Fahia sadly left. I initially was very excited about Noor’s candidacy because I thought he sees the pain, the frustration, the lack of good jobs, lack of enough affordable housing, youth without guidance and direction, lack of safe playgrounds and parks, etc and etc. I was mostly excited because he sees families dealing with autism, mental health and not even aware of services or resources to help their children.

Overall, Noor should be in tuned with the community since his office at CSCM is below Cedar/Riverside – but his speech lacked the real needs of our community. He sounded more like a polished politician rather than a community leader. He said to an audience of hundreds of Somalis eager to hear his agenda – “it is not about me, it is about you – it is about us”. I am sorry, Mr. Noor but not talking about the real issues this community has suffered with for years was not mentioned. His speech was not about us, it was more about him and his political ambitions. I know some might say, he is a politician, so what is wrong with having political ambitions. Nothing if they in parallel uplift your constituents, but if they feed your ego, leave your voters in the dust and say bunch of sounding good words that have no real meaning then you are no different than your opponent. You are no different than all of those before you that have failed this district for years and decades. And, it would be a shame to elect you and wake up years later with the same problems. This district needs to wake up now and demand someone who will represent them not in just skin color, but in policy and positive outcome.

They say in autism, if a child has any behaviors it is best to nip it right away before it becomes a rigid routine. My advice for district 60B voters would be to nip Mr. Noor’s selfish political ambitions. If he is not going to talk about, have policy ideas and address your health, education and economic concerns then he is no different than Rep Kahn or any other elected official in this district. I mean think about it, if they are so good then why are your children suffering with autism – the highest number in Minnesota (1in32), why are your youth wandering the streets with no real future, why do your elders mostly have chronic medical conditions and mental health is as common as Canjeero?

You see, the current Cedar/Riverside elected officials (most of them anyway) have not really addressed your concerns by nipping and fixing the issues, and if Noor behaves like he did last Wednesday at Brian Coyle redo caucus, he is no different rather more of the same.

I was very disappointed by Noor’s speech. I think he gave a mediocre speech – at best. He had the momentum and the ears of so many and he blew it. How can we be sure he won’t neglect us if elected? how can we be sure he won’t become like so many other politicians interested in their ambitions rather than their constituents concerns?

This district deserves elected officials more like Sen Wellstone and sadly they don’t exist – maybe not even born yet. There was a man who truly cared about his voters, the little guy, the underdog & the most vulnerable. He never acted arrogant, behaved selfishly or took his voters for granted. I miss him!

In addition, at the redo caucus – voters were asked to present proof of residence by MN DFL chair and associates. I am not surprised by that, but really surprised how little attention that got in Minnesota given the level of meltdowns they had over voter ID in 2012. More double standard at MN DFL – nothing new here. Results: Noor got 28 delegates and Kahn got 15 delegates. I just hope we don’t vote for folks because of their skin color, but for their policies and creative ideas. That is how our community will succeed.

(Fadlan ha u codaynin siyaasi barkee isku qabiil baad tihiin, ama waa Soomaali. Waa in aan u codayno qofka bulshada Soomaliyeed dhibaatooyinka haysta si fiican wax uga qaban doona. Waa in aan u codayno qof laf dhabar iyo damiir leh oo noo istaaga. Hadal kaliya haan ma buuxsho ee qiiro yay na qaadin).

Here are some photos and notice where residents are being asked to cough up ID’s.

In a related story, Mayor of Minneapolis – Hodg
es hands the previous Brian Coyle Caucus investigation to St. Paul due to some conflict of interest
. I think (knock on wood) Hodges might be the next MN DFL that can come close to Sen Wellstone and of course Rep. Clark. 

Above words are my opinion and do not reflect any candidate, agency or committee.


Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

The New DSM-V, My Take

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By now if you are involved in Autism as a parent, family, caretaker and especially professional – you heard of the New DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) that was released by The American Psychiatric Association last year. If I could sum this edition in one word in relation to autism for me would be “perfect”.

Here is why;

First, the old DSM-IV divided autism into many areas – PDD-NOS, Autistic Disorder, Rett’s & Aspergers. With the new DSM-5, all will be called ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)

2nd, based on the child’s severity of symptoms will determine the level of services and the intensity they will get. In other words, before the less severe of the symptoms the more services or earlier that child got intervention, which left many children with severe ASD on the sidelines waiting for treatment and services while losing precious window of learning opportunity.

3rd, Children and Adults will no longer be divided into high or low functioning by using their verbal abilities since we know that verbal does not mean high functioning and nonverbal does not mean low functioning. In other words, each child will truly be diagnosed and treated based on their needs.

4th, Hyper and Hypo sensory sensitivity will be evaluated. This is particularly good since many children with ASD also have sensory processing disorder (SPD) and did not always get therapy for it. Many public and private insurance companies did not cover SPD and always assumed every symptom of autism was a behavior problem. It is not and now children and individuals with ASD can get proper sensory treatments. This will also hopefully lead to more rigorous SPD research.

5th, Children and Adults with ASD don’t have to get re-evaluated meaning DSM-5 will be used for the next diagnoses. It is not a do-over. In other words, if you were diagnosed with Autism through DSM-4, your diagnoses is still valid.

Basically, everything else is still the same. A child must still lack or have delay in communication skills, social skills, repetitive behaviors, rigid routines and motor skills.

I wanted to wait a while to write my take because I wanted to see how ASD communities reacted to this and as with everything autism, there has been a lot of disagreements. Some said this is intended to decrease ASD numbers, it is designed to kick aspergers off the list, it is this, that or the other. I really think the new DSM-5 is good for everyone. I advocated, really pushed and God knows gave my comments to the committee that was writing this, some of whom visited us at IACC. Some IACC members were heavily involved as well in preparing and giving advice.

The way I look at this is;

Let’s say you went to the ER (emergency room) and you had a bleeding arm then another patient came in who could not breathe. Who do you think will be seen first and treated – the patient with the more severe symptom of not breathing – right. Well for autism, for years treatment was provided to the less severe ASD patient while the more severe patient was on an endless wait list, discharged or never admitted.

Yes, all patients should get treatments but I really believe we should help those with the most need since they need to catch up more. And, this new diagnoses criteria will level the playing field or the treatment field to a more humane manner. I am excited about this and know that all kids and individuals will get services based on their need.

Isn’t that what we all want. I think so.


Above words are my opinion & do not reflect any committee or agency

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on What Does Severe ASD Really Mean

OK, so we now all know that ASD is Autism Spectrum Disorder which means each child falls under different area of the spectrum.

We also now know that Somali children in Minneapolis have autism on the severe side of the Spectrum. What does this mean and how can providers take and teach all kids on the spectrum regardless of where they fall.
We ask that all autism centers and providers not discriminate against children because they fall under the severe end of autism. I think all kids deserve equal opportunity to learn to their God given full potential and their best outcome.
That outcome might not be verbal, but so what. That does not mean they can not learn to communicate via other means, nor does it mean they don’t understand or have the ability to progress. All children deserve education, therapy and all children do achieve. There are many ways to teach a child to communicate and as a mom who often fought with autism providers on this because some always assumed nonverbal autism meant no recovery, I am determined to make sure all ASD children are treated equally and given fair opportunities to learn and progress. Nonverbal ASD children and individuals can learn if given the chance. Just because a child is verbal does not mean he or she understands better or more than a nonverbal child. There are nonverbal kids who get toilet trained young while there are verbal kids still not toilet trained into their teens. There are some verbal kids who have no safety skills, while some nonverbal kids do. There are some verbal kids who can say word for word a movie they saw a months ago, yet can’t ask for milk. There are some nonverbal ASD kids and individuals who have written books and poems that can make the hair on your arm stand. In other words, being verbal does not guarantee success and being nonverbal does not guarantee failure. 
The goal should be to teach each child and individual with ASD based on their needs and their abilities rather looking for a false cure.
I also know there are some providers that believe the best outcome is having verbal communication. It is not. Communication is the ability to make your needs and wants. There are many ways and methods to teach a child to communicate. We know the iPad, Dynovox, PECS & the Written word are just few, there are many ways for a child with nonverbal ASD to communicate their needs and wants. Some even learn so much more and become authors and writers. 
There is also RPM (Rapid Prompting Method) developed by Soma which teaches nonverbal children history, science and even math because it looks at each child’s ability rather than their disability. Just because a child is nonverbal does NOT mean they can not learn. They can and do all the time. 
I really hope ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and all autism therapy providers treat each child and individual with dignity and respect regardless of where they fall on the spectrum. We are all human beings and deserve equal opportunity & treatment.
Above words are my opinion and do not reflect any committee or agency.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate.

Category: Uncategorized

Too Many Fingers in a Pie make it Rotten

Comments Off on Too Many Fingers in a Pie make it Rotten

Have you heard of the saying, if you put too many fingers in a pie – it makes it rotten?

Well, I think the same-thing is happening to DHS and their autism benefit. They have asked and asked and are still asking MN autism community – what do we think? I am sorry, but by now if DHS does not know what the heck we think, then they will never ever know.
At some point, MN DHS has to take a leap and apply for this benefit that passed in the House, Senate and signed by the Governor. Not to mention, the lengthy discussions and what do you think sessions at HSAC. And, if that was not enough, we had more DHS discussions almost a year before with Autism community as far back as 2011 whereby Regina and previous DHS Mental Health Commissioner came to many autism community meetings in churches, halls and more halls. Then there was that DHS ASD advisory council led by UMN ICI dept that again asked everyone & their mamas what they thought and gave all of this data and information to DHS. I have never seen or heard of another state that did this much asking, I mean I appreciate their thoughtful process of wanting to hear from everyone, but they can’t procrastinate forever. They are the state Medicaid agency & they have qualified staff and leadership. I know they can do this, if they just did it and trusted their abilities. 
I for one am getting tired of DHS asking what the heck do I think. DHS knows what I think, what all of the providers think, what all of the mainstream parents think and everyone in between. It is time for them to have faith in their abilities and apply this benefit with CMS. Otherwise, this benefit will become a buyers remorse if it is over explained needlessly. 
MN DHS must have common sense as a state agency, take lead and responsibility without constantly asking what we think. For example, asking if BCBA can diagnose or be the ABA provider clinic leader is both stupid and negligent. The fact that there is NO BCBA certification board in MN should be a red flag. BCBA basically means that person can do functional behavior analysis and knows ABA. It does not mean they are licensed to diagnose and they are not a mental health professional. Therefore, asking us that question = stupid, Come on. Autism is a medical condition with a neurobiological and mental health symptoms. Therefore, someone with a license – such as a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist or a LMFT and has been trained in diagnosing mental health disorders should diagnose autism and head any ASD clinic. A certification of behavior analysis does not qualify, neither does someone that has worked in ASD field for years or even decades. For example, if you were sick – do you see a licensed medical doctor or someone who watched a doctor for years? Come on and give me a break. If DHS allows un-licensed people to open and provide therapy to children, they will be sued for negligence and stupidity. 
What parent says I am going to take my child to a provider headed by un-licensed medical person. It is like saying – well your child’s special ed teacher will be the para because she has worked in the school district for years. That does not make that person a licensed special education teacher. I am even baffled that DHS is asking such questions. 
Common sense has to prevail here. It has been almost a year since this law passed and for DHS to still ask stupid questions while they are still providing ABA to fee for services kids while it denies low income managed care kids and calling ABA skills training is both irresponsible and waste of time. MN DHS needs to use common sense, fill the darn 1915i application, send it to CMS and let the process work itself out. 
Furthermore, CMS will not deny this application given how few states are covering autism therapy under 1915i which is what Sec Sebelius stated herself as a potential ASD benefit. And, yes Florida ASD parents sued Medicaid agency and won. Washington State Medicaid Autism families also sued WA Medicaid agency for refusing to cover behavior health services. Good for both of these states and I hope more low income Medicaid autism families sue their Medicaid agencies, especially if they are paying for wealthier families and/or for private insurance families. I think it is cruel for any state to deny low income children the same services and treatments wealthier children get which is exactly what MN Medicaid agency is doing now. The new ASD benefit was suppose to address and fix this, but at the rate – they are crawling, children keep suffering. 
I don’t think CMS is going to appeal Florida ruling because denying medically necessary autism treatment will not go far by any judge in their right mind. Common sense is ABA provider must be led by a licensed mental health professional, be trained in the CLAS guidelines and certified. There must be service coordinator that is objective that parents can ask to help them navigate the system. Evaluation and assessment must be independent at least once a year and parents must have the ability to get second opinion if the first one is done by the provider. There must be a fair and due process policy for parents and providers to assure equal access to care and therapy. All common sense – come on DHS. Stop crawling and start walking – more like running since you have wasted months and years of asking what the heck we think.
You know what we think – just apply this benefit so that kids can start getting the services they need now.
Above words are my opinion and do not reflect any committee or agency.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on OARC Releases ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Activities to Congress

For those interested in this report; OARC released ASD Report to Congress; Below is information from OARC and IACC website. Again it is a lengthy Federal autism report coming out recently, but if you are interested in autism – it will seem like reading 50 shades of Grey. (a little humor – we all need some)

The Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)on behalf of the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), is pleased to announce the online release of the Report to Congress on Activities Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Developmental Disabilities Under the Combating Autism Act of 2006 and Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (FY 2010-FY 2012)prepared with contributions from several HHS agencies, the Department of Education, The Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation. This report is required in the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011 to update Congress on progress that has been made by HHS and the Department of Education in fulfilling the mandates of the CAA and CARA.  In addition, the report may serve as an information resource for public stakeholders as it provides descriptions of many key government autism programs and summarizes their recent accomplishments. The report provides an update on activities included in the previous Report to Congress on Activities Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Developmental Disabilities under the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (FY 2006-FY 2009) and also describes progress made in autism research and services provision activities since the enactment of CARA.  The report is organized according to the following categories:


·       Background: Covers legislative information regarding the CAA and CARA (including a summary of the previous Report to Congress FY 2006-FY 2009), describes interagency coordination efforts, and discusses the role of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).

·       Required Elements:  Describes the requirements for the Report to Congress in the CAA and CARA.  Includes programmatic and budget information from lead agencies within the HHS, Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, and National Science Foundation.  

·       Updates on autism prevalence, diagnosis, screening, and average age for intervention.

·       Descriptions of federal programs evaluating effectiveness and outcomes of interventions.

·       Descriptions of federal programs providing adult services and supports.


This report is posted on the “Non-IACC Reports” web page on the IACC website.  The full length report contains a full list of references and the web version additionally contains links to the appropriate agency web pages with more information about the programs described.

For this post, the first sentence is my opinion and the rest are from OARC as it is posted in their site for public view per CAA Law. 

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate.

Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on Governor Dayton Picks Heartless Hammer Smith as Running Mate or The Lt Governor for ONLY working MN DFL women

As you all heard by now, Sadly – Governor Dayton of Minnesota picked his running mate and it is Tina Smith. Or as I like to call her Heartless Hammer Smith – (HH Smith)

What is even more sad is the fact that our state which calls itself progressive, moves forward and a party that claims to be inclusive never even thought or considered a MINORITY RUNNING MATE OR MINORITY LT GOVERNOR. Think about that the next time you cast your vote.

There are so many wrong reasons with HH Smith, I don’t even know where to start. Well – let’s start with Autism which is my passion and is sooooo personal to me as an autism mom. HH Smith told our community to take a flying leap back in 2011 when we asked her office if they intended to continue the great work by Governor Pawlenty’s health department. We were told Gov Dayton will be too busy for the next four years to meet with our autism parents or community. We were told, MDH is doing a good job and no autism research will be done. And, when we asked what exactly Minnesota department of health is doing that is good for autism – they could not come up with one example and just ignored the issue from there on because that is what HH Smith does best.

That is ignore, belittle, dismiss, disregard and disrespect those that either disagree with her or God forbid ask questions. Then it turns out Gov Dayton did have time for the wealthy Autism families twice and invited them to his office which he happily posted in his Facebook.

When we asked about autism disparity, instead of addressing it her then health policy adviser – Dan Pollock helped Rep Norton (the queen of autism disparity) write the very discriminatory amendment in health and human services finance committee in the house. Remember the one that said – let’s pay and cover autism therapy for the wealthier autism families who don’t even qualify for Medicaid and pay for it up to age 18. By the same token, for the low income autism families on Medicaid because of their income – their coverage would only be up to age 7. Can you imagine what goes through such person’s head, mind and soul to come up with two different policies. One for the haves and one for the have-nots. These are small children with a disability and to treat them differently was inhumane and selfish which is exactly what creates autism disparity – unequal access to the same therapies.

But that is what we would get if Gov Dayton wins a second term – A Lt Governor who is inhumane and selfish.

Furthermore, just recently, HH Smith made another insensitive comment when she said “I work because I am a Democrat woman”. Now what now? What the heck does that mean? So, all of the women who work at home and raise their children are not worthy or can’t be a good MN DFLer? You see if HH Smith disagrees with you for any reason – she will step in your head, heart and soul. And, she will do it with no care, no remorse & without blinking. She is as cold as ice and as heartless as a hammer. Another example; there is no African American policy adviser in her office because our advice and opinions are irrelevant. In addition, when HH Smith was the chief of staff for then Mayor RT of Mpls – she ruled the same way in Minneapolis City Hall and lacked compassion.

I beg you to take a real look at her record, her insensitive words and her actions towards stay home moms who work harder than any other women, minorities who have suffered under her iron fist rule and her disregard for anyone with a different idea. Imagine if you are not a democrat working woman? are you not a Minnesotan, not a woman, not a human being?

Ask yourself and please vote HH Smith and her backward moving Gov Dayton out in Nov 2014. Use your precious voice wisely and don’t be fooled by their exterior, look into their interior. It is empty, cold and careless towards your needs.


Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on CMS Releases State of the States Status on Autism Services

The long awaited Autism Spectrum Disorder report on how and what states are covering was released by CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) last week.

I for one have waited this report for a really long time and God knows asked for it forever. 

I wanted to see what and how CMS covers autism therapies, especially early intensive behavior therapy (ABA). What ages it covers for and how intensive in comparison to private insurance coverage. We know that about ½ of the people with Autism have Medicaid and it is important for CMS to have similar or close coverage for the thousands of low income autism families that depend on it.

In other words, if a state has private insurance coverage mandated by state legislature for children and/or adults with ASD, and it does not have similar coverage for children with Medicaid, then that is a recipe for disparity and bias policy.

This report lists which states have Autism Specific Medicaid Waivers, which states have ASD coverage under their 1915c waivers and which states have private insurance autism coverage. I think it really gives a detailed information on how states are doing in covering not just early intensive behavior therapy, but in the education system such as, preschool, school age, adolescents and adults. As you will see and as children get older, the services and resources are far, few and scarce. In fact, only few states have Medicaid Autism adult waivers which is very sad because these children will and do get older then what. What happens then?

As an Autism mom along with probably thousands in Minnesota and across the country, that is my biggest worry and fear. What will happen when my child gets older. What types of services will be available for him, what resources will be there, how will he be treated and how will society embrace adults with autism that are coming in high numbers. So many questions – so few answers for autism parents in Minnesota and nationwide.

Personally, I don’t think Minnesota and nationally – we have done a good job in addressing adults with autism issues. There are so many critical issues, such as – employment, housing, independent living, etc. And, with the exception of handful of states such as PA – the rest of the country is sleeping and missing in action including Minnesota. We have no ASD specific adult waiver, or even any real support once a child reaches 18 in Minnesota.

I hope people read this extensive CMS ASD report, it lists every state and their services. You can also just read about the state you live to see what services are provided there. For Minnesota – it has the information before our state legislature passed the Medical Assistance Autism early intervention therapy last year in 2013 legislative session. It also states that MN does not cover or pay for ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy, but it does or did for the wealthy autism families on fee for service Medicaid while it denied (not anymore thanks to our advocacy and Amy Dawson’s lawsuit) low income managed care autism families. I think that was a step in the right direction of equality. Nevertheless, I think MN has a very long way to go since most children of all races are still not getting diagnosed until age 5 which is three years late. 

This of course is not just a DHS problem, but MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) problem, since MDH is charged with Assessment, Assurance & Policy part of public health, and assuring the public is aware of the medical conditions they have and what services are available. I think MDH has failed in this area under Governor Dayton and MDH Commissioner Ehlinger. There is one silver lining of hope here, if Governor Dayton whose other minority policies have also failed loses the election in 2014, we get not just a new Governor, but a new MDH Commissioner. Let’s remember to vote out Dayton in November.

I also think MDE (Minnesota Department of Education) Part C which is for early education for children with special health care needs such as autism has failed miserably. MDE Part C which is Federally funded is suppose to outreach and educate parents about their kids special education needs before the age of five. I would give them F- since most kids with ASD are not even getting diagnosed until age five. They are late, dis-organized, out of touch and too passive in outreach, education, enrollment and everything in between.

I am sure, I am pissing off Commissioner Cassellius whom I like and respect along with Assistant Commissioner Elia B, but if the buck stops with them, then they need to either fire or shake up Part C folks at MDE because they are doing a horrible job.

Finally, I really thank everyone at CMS tha
t worked on this report from the top – Administrator Marilyn T to everyone under her, especially director of children’s department – Cindy M. I really appreciate all of the work they have put in this report, especially John O who is a fellow IACC member. I am confident this report will help states and their leaders take a look and re-evaluate how they are doing in autism services and education because ignoring will not make the problem go away.

Here is the full report, make sure you have coffee and water because it is over 400 pages, but well worth the read.


As usual, above words are my opinion and do not reflect any committee or agency.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on White Privilege – Abou Amara – It is Lonely Out Here in MN State Capitol

OK, So let’s explain this from the most welcoming, liberal, progressive and sooo moving forward folks. Hollywood and the Music industry that has awarded so many awards to African American artists fairly and justly. Oh wait……that is not correct. They usually and repeatedly snub them.

Alright, by now you either heard or watched the Grammys and how even for best Rap award went to a non Black artist. That is right, Rap music which was invented by African American musicians which is usually based on American urban life and its hardships. Not to mention the Grammys did not even had this award until Will Smith and his partner boycotted the grammys.

Rap Musicians boycott the Grammys:

By design, the Grammy is suppose to go to the musically talented person for their genre and not the most popular or big sales that is what American Music Awards are for. In other words, win by content rather than color or popularity. Well – that is not always the case in welcoming, moving forward and liberal Hollywood. The best and top awards usually go to those with the “right” color and not the right talent or music.

Here are some examples:

India Arie Speaks the truth about the Grammys:

Snubbed for his Skin Color and not his music. Please like me for my work – Kendrick Lamar:

How does this happen in 2014 really in progressive and welcoming music industry?

OK, now let’s move into Minnesota State Capitol where Abou Amara is the only African American Committee Administrator. That is right, out of all of the committees in the Senate, there is zero, zilch, nada person of color in a committee administrator position and in the MN House which has even more committees – there is only one, Abou Amara. Imagine that level of disconnect and dismissal. Committee Administrator has the ear and mind of the committee chair, they are the backbone of the chair and that committee. Nothing usually goes through without them. They sometimes are more powerful than the chair because they help him/her filter issues and information. Yet, a state and the party in control that tell us they are soooo welcoming, moving forward, soooo liberal could not find more than one minority person. Also, keep in mind they have increased the committees from the last party in control to give their own more opportunities. Yet, no equal opportunity for African Americans and other minorities. How sad and depressing.

Furthermore, Sen Bakk and Rep Murphy (leaders of the Minnesota Senate and House) want to spend over $80 million dollars for new chairs and parking space in a new building and get this – have zero money to fund Minnesota Department of Human Rights legislative bill that would assure state agencies are hiring people fairly. Oh – I don’t know maybe hire me by the content of my character and skill rather than my color or White Privilege. Oh no, Bakk and Murphy are opposed to this idea, that way Abou Amara would be lonely up there and no other Black person would be hired or even interviewed. Not to mention all of the state agencies that have embarrassingly low or non-existent minority leadership as assistant commissioners or staff. How sad but typical for Bakk and Murphy.

MN Senate and House leadership – Bakk and Murphy want and need new chairs and parking space at any cost – by any means necessary, even at the expense of improving human rights in Minnesota. What a surprise there, not really.

Let’s remember these are the politicians that many African Americans vote for because we think they are soooooo welcoming and move forward. If that is the case, why the double standard?

Why not approve the Human Rights bill supported by Council of Black Minnesotans and let the civil rights laws follow their intended hiring guidelines? Here is that human rights bill that no wants to push in this welcoming and moving forward state legislators:

As Caucus day is around the corner – ask yourself as you cast your vote for someone tha
t will probably forget about your concerns when they get to the state Capitol.

Vote Wisely and based on their record – not their sweet empty words and promises because that is what created this unequal access to employment and so many other areas in the first place.

Above words are my opinion and do not reflect any committee or agency.


Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Good Closure With NIH and CDC

Comments Off on Good Closure With NIH and CDC

I am happy to report that I had a really good closure with National Institute of Health which includes National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Environmental Health and Office of Minority Health at NIH along with Center for Disease Control.

I have asked (ok harassed) these Federal agencies to address autism in the Somali community for a really long time – years ever since back in 2008. And, they have simply been wonderful.

Where shall I start – back in 2008 when Governor Pawlenty’s health department did its first autism study in Somali kids – CDC folks were the wind beneath my wings. I would literally call them daily or weekly and ask for MDH to do this in a way that was culturally sensitive. Of course, this was much easier with Dr. Magnan in charge who let her researchers take the lead. And, Dr. Punyko is an amazing public health researcher and epidemiologist.

After that study was done, and the new Governor (Dayton – the man who could care less) came into power, I begged more and more for NIH and CDC to do because it was evident Dayton and MDH’s Dr. Ehlinger would not.  

To make a long story short, NIMH’s director Dr. Insel took the lead and asked other Federal agencies to come up with a plan. They did which is how the last UMN/CDC study was funded.

NIMH, NIEH, CDC, Office of Minority Health @ NIH and Autism Speaks all financially and with their technical expertise contributed.

The results of this study are very good and a good opening for next steps. But as I told NIH and CDC – I will not be advocating for those steps. First, I am bone tired, it ain’t easy to do autism advocacy, especially at the Federal level. I remember one time I went to IACC and on my way back home – I saw the director of CDC’s disability department, Dr. Boyle in Washington DC airport and I became a used car salesman. Really, I was so busy trying to persuade her to fund and do Somali autism research. She stopped me and said “Idil – are they paging you to go to your gate”. Yes, they were but I was lost in autism advocacy. There are tons of times similar where I would do whatever necessary to get autism in our community addressed at the Federal level. Another time was – Dr. Birnbaum, Director of NIEH was testifying in Congress in a committee co-chaired by Sen Amy K of Minn and I happen to see it on C-Span. I think I must have emailed and called Sen Amy’s legislative assistant a hundred times and kept asking please ask Dr. Birnbaum about autism in Somali community and what they intended to do about it.

Well, needless to say, Andrew probably was so annoyed by me he did and Sen Amy K did ask that question. I mean again I became a used car salesman and had to make the sale by any means necessary. Or when I would call director of Office of Autism Research at NIMH at home and again become a used car salesperson.

Now, as fun as those times were and even successful – I really have no more desire to repeat it. It takes a toll emotionally, mentally and physically. Besides, there are now lots of other Somali autism parents and advocates in Minnesota who I am hoping will continue this important work.

Plus, I think when I told NIMH, NIEH, AS and CDC that I would not be asking or advocating for the next step – they had a big sigh of relief because I am sure dealing with tired and frustrated autism mother is no day at the park.

At any rate, my advice would be for those going to do the next step to ask; why is autism so high in Somali American kids in Minneapolis, and more importantly why is it so severe at a higher rate. This could really open the door for many important autism research into the cause of autism. And, hopefully the cure and prevention of the symptoms of Autism.

I wish anyone who continues this work luck. And, I again thank Dr. Insel – director of NIMH, Dr. Daniels – Office of autism research at NIMH, Dr. Boyle, Dr. Allsopp and Dr. Wiggins – CDC, Dr. Lawler & Dr. Birnbaum – NIEH, Dr. Ruffin – OMH @ NIH and Dr. Dawson from Autism Speaks.

Thanks all very much for listening, validating and taking action!

Somali Autism Study as reported by Dr. Boyle at IACC on Jan 14, 2014

Above words are my opinion
and do not reflect any committee or agency.


Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized

Comments Off on It Must Be Election Year in Minnesota – This is when MN DFLer’s Remember US

It is 2014 and it is again election year in Minnesota and across the country. This is usually when Governor Dayton and others like him flock to minority communities and pretend to care.

Puntland which is the middle region of Somalia just elected a new leader Dr. Abdiwali, trained economist in Somali National University and George Mason University. And, Minneapolis which has large Puntlanders celebrated this victory in Mpls Convention Center on Feb 1, 2014.

Well – it turns out those that won last election with few hundred to few thousand votes and have been missing in action in addressing Somali community issues showed up again in search for more votes. No surprise there.

Governor Dayton gave an insincere speech that is aligned with his don’t care minority policies. Let’s see where shall we start after Governor Dayton won in 2010 election with less than 9000 votes, he promised to hire more staff and leadership of color including Somalis in his administration. And, so far there is …..then there is…..oh wait there are NO Somali staff in his office or his administration. I can think of at least 10 Somalis, half from Puntland that applied jobs with his transitional team and were never even considered – let alone hired.

Yet, Dayton seems to have selective amnesia and keeps showing up in Somali functions. And the worst part is so many Somalis and Puntlanders share his forgetfulness. They are just happy when he comes, takes pictures with them to post on Facebook – blah and blah.

Maybe his policies have addressed Somali issues in Minnesota including Puntland? Well there was the …..then there was…..oh wait there are NONE. But – who cares about policies & legislation as long as he takes pictures with us, that should be good enough. As long as he says he cares while nothing happens, that is still good enough. Because you know at least he talks to us whereby Somali government officials would never ever ever talk to the common folks. Just be happy and don’t worry – no one cares about any policy. Picture is worth, um.. oh what is the phrase – oh yeah a thousand meaningless words.

So, we are just happy and in content with Dayton’s empty promises, no actual policies, no Somali hired, and no hope for any future goals. Pictures with him posted on Facebook and some websites are good enough. That is right, who cares of why so many Somali kids are failing in Minnesota schools or graduating with worthless diplomas that did not prepare them for any job. Oh wait – there are no jobs in south/north Minneapolis, no Somali vendors in the hundreds of millions going to be spent on the Minneapolis Vikings stadium, health disparity high among Somali children and women. Not to mention – no autism research in sight by Dayton health department. But all of that is just silly to ask him because taking pretty pictures and posting on Facebook is all we need.

My favorite line is when a Somali says – those bad stats of education gap, health disparity, high unemployment is not about Somalis – but more for African Americans. There is nothing better than a combination of arrogance and ignorance. Because Somalis are not African Americans – oh wait Somalia is located in Africa. Well – what do you know. And, wait more because we are here because African Americans paved the way and the best for last what happens to your brother/sister never happens to you. Oh wait – it does. Qofkii walaalkii, loo xiroow, adna soo qoyso.

In sum, I am not surprised Governor Dayton is showing up in Somali events, I bet he has no idea what Puntland means, where it is located, etc. What frustrates and quite frankly pisses me off is how easily we forget how no one of Somali descent was hired by his administration, no policy/legislation addressing any Somali issues passed by his office and most of all how Dayton has totally and completely ignored one of the biggest health issues affecting our children – Autism while he willingly met and entertained Caucasian autism communities, while ignoring Minority autism families. How we forget all of this just to have a worthless picture with him on Facebook.

How much more gullible and silly can we get. Where is the leadership for Somalis in Minnesota with a backbone and a spine. Who stands up for us, who speaks for us and who advocates for our causes with real tangible goals and hopes? This saddens me to my core.

A little background of Puntland, Somalia that Maybe Gov Dayton should’ve read before his speech last night, see here:

Above words are my opinion and do not reflect any committee or agency.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Uncategorized