Monthly Archives: September 2014

Comments Off on CMS & Minnesota Department of Human Services Get Autism Therapy Coverage RIGHT

Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) released FAQ few of days ago on Sept 24th, 2014 about autism. Basically CMS said all the right things. Folks, it does not get better than this. In a nutshell, CMS will cover autism therapy of both ABA and developmental therapies for children from birth to 21 for all disabilities not just autism. I think that is simply fantastic. Plus, CMS recognizes the need for medical necessasity and objectivity in treatments. And, it gets better, because the funding is both Federal and State – all autism providers including ABA clinics must follow the Federal guidelines of culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS).

Seriously, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I have hoped, prayed, begged, asked – ok harassed for this type of inclusive, holistic and non-bias approach to autism treatment and therapy. So many people at CMS deserve thanks and kudos from Tavenner to Mann, O’Brian, Johnson, etc and etc.

For our state, I think the lone person that kept asking the most and articulated so well is Anne Henry from Minnesota disability law center (MDLC). Anne has championed for managed care autism kids at the state legislature by asking to get the numbers of how many kids on MCO’s are getting ASD therapy and at what age. I think this will help ensure minority kids who usually have managed care health plans get equal access to early autism intervention so they can reach their best outcome and full potential.  Huge thanks to Anne who I have gotten to know and she rocks. Anne has helped me with many CMS advocacy in recent months as well.

DHS also had an autism meeting last week on Sept 16th, 2014 where they informed us (parents, providers, advocates) their intention to change their 1915i autism waiver to newly approved and better method of autism therapy under the EPSDT state plan. People gave their thoughts and opinions and DHS took all of them and considered when it could and submitted the application to CMS for approval. This is when a state agency is simply perfect. Gather stakeholders of whatever issue, get their honest input, consider them and include in your final plan. I mean maybe MDH and even MDE can learn from DHS. I am simply impressed by DHS’s new autism team. I am so grateful and appreciate all of their work and support for ALL autism families irrespective of income, race or nationality. Personally, I am extremely grateful and appreciate all the hard work everyone at DHS autism team put into this – especially Anne H and Loren C.

DSH even went further and asked all stakeholders to participate in another area that needs improvement such as the safety of physical buildings our kids go for autism therapy hours at a time. Currently, there are no good standards to assure the child is safe and learning appropriate skills. In addition, DHS wants input from everyone on medical necessecity because a provider can make poop therapy medically necessary and at the same time a bias provider can discharge a child prematurely by claiming it is not medically necessarity. In other words, no family irrespective of their race, color or nationality shall be bullied, intimidated or harassed by any ABA or any autism therapy provider – period. Sadly, it happens a lot here in Minnesota and probably nationwide but we are determined to stop it at its tracks so that ALL children get the best intervention possible at the right time fairly.

If you are interested in participating in this work group which will meet on three Mondays in October and Nov 2014, please contact via email DHS autism email – If you are mental health professional of color, I beg you to please take part. Your input and ideas are sorely needed. During the last meeting, there were several Somali autism parents, but we still need professionals of color and more minority autism parents to participate and give their ideas and input. If we don’t speak up and advocate for our children and our communities – who will? No one else will, we must do it rather than just complain of inequalities and bad services. Change comes from speaking up.

In a somewhat related to this post, I just received a notice that Health Services Advisory Council (HSAC) which decided or set the ground work for this autism benefit a little while ago after the state legislature asked DHS to come up with an autism benefit – has added minorities to their team. When this ASD benefit was being decided HSAC had zero African American person and I have been asking – ok begging for them to add some color. HSAC is led by Dr. Jeff Schiff and Ellie Garrett (who in my humble opinion are some of the most inclusive, welcoming, and wonderful people I met at DHS) took that suggestion to heart and looked high and low for physicians of color. And, HSAC is now 1/3 minority. I am ecstatic about this and appreciate Jeff and Ellie’s willingness to not just say we are committed to diversity, but actually be committed to diversity with action. You see there is a difference when people say that vs when they actually do it. And, they did it. Awesome!

Above words do not represent any candidate, agency or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Autism Policy

Comments Off on Dan Browning & Alessandra Stanley have a lot in common – Yes Really

All right – so, unless you live under a rock – you heard about the tone deaf and really not inclusive article by Alessandra Stanley of New York Times about Shonda Rhimes. Ms. Stanley who is an overrated and arrogant critic for the Times tried to critique Ms. Rhimes’ television shows including her new one. And, well she decided to just label her…. wait for itdrum roll pleaseit is original… not really, “angry black woman”.

Gee, I wonder where I heard that before. Oh yeah, that was the article written about me regarding the autism task force where Mr. Browning, the twin brother from another mother of Ms. Stanley cleverly tried to label me as the…. you guessed it  “angry black woman”. Sometimes, I wonder if they even read their work out-loud before it is published. Or better yet, if the Tribune and NY Times could hire more diverse editors to catch such hurtful and demeaning articles.

The sad and irony similarities here is that both articles were read and approved by White men editors. And, how can a White man possibly understand things from the lenses of African American women. For instance, after Ms. Stanley wrote her really hurtful and shameful article about Ms. Rhimes – several NY Times editors read it and did not catch the insulting and racist remarks. Thus, it was released for publication. This tells us that editors who are suppose to provide balanced and objective views on stories are often out of touch themselves. Here is the Times’ response to this. What is interesting in almost comical way is the same language used by almost everyone in a position of power who has no intention of changing or actually hiring diverse workforce. For example, when MPR’s new top guy started couple of years ago, I asked him if he was going to make MPR newsroom more diverse to reflect the diversity of Minnesotans. And, he told me almost word for word of what the NY Times editor said. (we are committed to diversity, we care, blah and more blah). Move forward to 2014 and no African American reporter has been hired by MPR. Therefore, don’t hold your breath NY Times actually hiring more diverse editors or reporters. This is a statement that they all use and we buy it like it is holy water, when in fact it is useless and worthless words that never become reality. This is also why many good African American journalists are leaving mainstream news outlets to go to minority owned ones.

Another example of how White men editors are out of touch and tone deaf to realty is when Mr. Browning decided to just insult me and label me an angry black woman – it went to his editor who ironically knows me very well, yet failed to stop Mr. Browning’s bias and wrong information about me being printed. Plus, according to Minnesota Department of Health, they did not comment or spoke with Mr. Browning which makes his facts false. In fact, I was told by one of the Tribune editors that they had a hard time covering this story. Now what now? are you kidding me. I am often the lone African American autism mom advocating for minority autism families against all odds at MN State Capitol. And, I am constantly begging the Tribune to do autism stories, and they often tell me they are full with no space to write or autism at this time is not all that important. Yet, when this overrated and arrogant reporter wants to insult me, they have a hard time with the content. WTF?

If I were a non-minority autism parent that did even half of the autism advocacy I did for the past few years, Mpls Tribune would have written much different stories and views. But the fact is I am a minority autism mom and the way they praise us is by calling us angry black women. When will this get old and outdated. I remember I once went to MPR newsroom to be interviewed by BBC Radio – London because I had to go to a local radio to do the taping. While I was waiting for the studio room to be available, I noticed a reporter talk about a Caucasian man with a disability. I watched this reporter’s body language as she described this person and I remember she did many takes to get her words right. She made this person sound so good and kind that the listener would fell in love with. I remember thinking to myself and imagining if stories of minority communities were given such careful and thoughtful process. I think it will be interesting to see what Minnesota mainstream news outlets do when Black Journalism convention comes to Mpls in 2015.

This is exactly what this reporter from the Times did as well. Ms. Rhimes is one of the most talented and amazing writers in Hollywood in any color and to label her such derogatory and demeaning way is wrong, racist and cruel. The Times tried to apologize and even used the usual statement of we are committed to diversity, we care – blah blah. For the Tribune and what they wrote about me, the best I got from their editor in chief and the health editor was to write my view and send it to their editorial person who in my opinion sucks, not a typo. So, I did not waste my time writing to them because I knew they would not publish it.

Some good news might be that with the purchase of Mr. Taylor – things might get more fair and less bias. If you can believe it, I contacted Mr. Glen Taylor and he actually called me back, (I know why would a billionaire call me, but he did to my shocking pleasant surprise) He said it is his goal for the Star Tribune to do stories that are fair, objective and tell both sides of the story. The publisher of Mpls Tribune is sadly from the Times as well, but maybe with Mr. Taylor’s guidance, he can be more diverse, equal and fair. Now, in the interest of fairness, I personally have had a really good experience with New York Times especially their health reporters and editors. In fact, one of their health reporter is one of my good friends that I have lunch or coffee with when in NYC. For Somali autism, NY Times has been really good and supportive. They have come to Mpls to do autism stories ever since back in 2009 to recently. I admire, trust and support their health news section. It is their Hollywood/entertainment section and reporters that I find it out of touch with reality and minorities.

If you are thinking what do news outlets have to do with autism, think about it more. Everything autism is about policy and politicians write policies. And, politician’s legislations are often covered by news. For example, Rep Norton who is the queen of autism disparity has written more racist and bias autism policies than any other legislator in MN. Luckily, we have defeated her bad autism bills since 2010 with the help of Sen. Berglin, Sen. Lourey, Sen. Benson, Dan Severson, Rep Clark, Rep, Loeffler, Commissioner Jesson and so many others, but the ultimate goal is to replace and defeat Rep Norton by voting her out of office.

Addition; It looks like People Magazine who is being sued by an African American editor – their only one in history, imagine that – also decided to weigh in this drama by tweeting last Thursday night after Ms Rhimes show that had Viola Davis offensive and rude tweets. Really, are they kidding me. You see this is exactly why diversity in every corner is a MUST in this country of nation of immigrants. Today’s immigrants are very different than centuries ago and if USA wants to maintain its super power ability and moral authority, then it must treat its citizens fairly and equally – period. Viola Davis is a beautiful and stunning woman and comments like the Times insulting dark skinned women is why so many African American women including Somalis bleach their skin with mercury containing creams. We all know mercury causes many developmental disorders including AUTISM. My advice to any young woman of color is look at yourself in the mirror and know that you are BEATIFUL just the way GOD made you. Don’t let some useless and clueless writer make you doubt that.

Above words do not represent any agency, candidate or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate


Comments Off on Should COBM Be Under MDHR & What does this have to do with Autism

Alright so, Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) in my humble little opinion is the backbone of the Black community in Minnesota and was created decades ago by state legislators. It is an independent body that is suppose to advice the legislative body and the Governor on the state of Black Minnesotans.

Last state legislative session, COBM came up with lots of great legislative ideas to decrease Minnesota’s racial disparity in health, education, employment, housing, etc. Sadly, none of their bills got out of committees nor went to the floor for votes. Why you ask? good question. In other words, if MN state legislators say they are committed to diversity, committed to decreasing disparity and committed to equal opportunity, then why didn’t even one bill pass out of any committee including the one that was authored by Rep Kahn whose district has thousands of Black Minnesotans. We all know Rep Kahn preaches equality, yet barely passes any equal opportunity legislations for her minority voters. (Note to Somalis in this district – insanity is voting for the same people and expecting different results)

How can I say this diplomatically – because preaching equality is easy. Eliminating inequality actually takes heart, mind and soul and I must say those are qualities many state legislators either lack or they simply just don’t care. COBM is currently led by Edward McDonald who I think is amazing. We in the Somali Autism community received plenty of support from COBM as far back as from its previous director. They have always stood with us in fighting autism racial disparity and equal access. They have written many support letters and have been to many meetings with us with various government officials including the HRSA grant that MDH did not want to share the resources with any minority owned agencies. If you remember, we fought that and now MDH will get this grant of $300,000 this year and MUST allocated $70,000 to minority owned agencies to help minority autism families. COBM is not under any state agency and that is great because to get equal access – we need independent thinkers and independent minds.

On the other hand, Minnesota department of human rights (MDHR) is a state agency led by Commissioner Kevin Lindsey. This agency is suppose to fight discrimination in Minnesota which is like a fish fighting sharks in an ocean. It is grossly under-funded, severely under-staffed and totally not in the loop about many issues of discrimination including autism. Personally, I like and have met with Commissioner Lindsey. But this agency has too many things it is tackling and is not independent. It is under the Governor’s cabinet which if you think about it is not good. For example, the Governor’s cabinet is made up of about two dozen state agencies and there is not one single agency that has a good diverse workforce or fights racial disparity well. They all say the usual (we mean well, we understand, we are committed to diversity, we care, we blah blah).

You see most of these state agencies are led by non-minority commissioners who often hire those that reflect them as suppose to those that reflect the diversity of Minnesota. Then there was that silly audit that said council on minorities not functioning well and must be disbanded because there is a lot of disagreement and people are not coming to the board meetings. Gee, I wonder where I heard that before. Why is it when minorities debate issues and disagree on results – it is called dysfunction that must be disbanded and when Whites do the same-thing – it is called having an adult heated conversation. Really I have always wondered that.

So, as a result, our state legislators instead of being actual adult law makers decided to introduce a bill….wait for it… dismantle the council on Black Minnesotans and put it under the already under-funded & overwhelmed MDHR. That bill did not get a hearing last session, and I will for sure testify against it if it has a hearing next year. The good news is communities of color are fighting this injustice and COBM’s director Edward has been vocal in making the case that we need an independent council to fight inequality. One that is not under the Governor since most of his departments barely fight their own disparities. I think Edward is right and we should all support in saving our Council for Black Minnesotans.

Another good question is why does Governor Dayton want to eliminate the only Council for Black Minnesotans? When Candidate Dayton comes to communities of color, he says he cares, he is committed to equality, etc. Yet, Gov Dayton wants to eliminate the only independent council fighting inequality. C’mon  Governor – mean what you say and say what you mean.

Here are some articles about this

Putting COBM under MDHR is a bad idea

Above words do not reflect any agency, committee or candidate.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Comments Off on Supply and Demand Sound So Simple, Yet Affect So Many Autism Families in Minnesota

I have been thinking a lot about this simple sentence of supply and demand lately. Those few words drive the economy, how much we pay for things, how long we wait for services and resources, etc and etc. They also drive autism therapy and autism services in Minnesota and probably nationwide.

We know that there are thousands children with autism in Minnesota (over 17 thousand) and less than two dozen autism early intervention providers are here. In other words, the demand for ASD therapy providers is so high that the waiting is list often as long as years which defeats the purpose of early intervention is the best hope for ASD kids. None of these couple dozen ASD therapy providers are owned or run by a person of color which also means most minority ASD children are on even a longer wait list, discharged sooner, never accepted, so on and so forth.

Have you ever heard of last hired and first fired. This usually means the last hired is most likely a person of color and the first fired is probably a person of color. This same method is used by many autism therapy providers who usually take few minority ASD kids then if there is a staff shortage – they are the first to be discharged or told we don’t have staff for you. Those that provide in home therapy also don’t like to go to minority communities. For example, I would say there are not a lot of in home autism therapy in north or even south Minneapolis by Cedar Riverside area.

This supply and demand problem can also dilute the quality of the providers, especially when DHS has no policy to control and assure any quality. This part is so insane. How can the biggest state agency in charge of this not have any quality control for these autism providers that are teaching our most vulnerable children. I remember couple of years ago, when DHS also did not have good quality for child care centers and one brave reporter kept writing about that which resulted an overhaul in policy and regulation in Minnesota and nationwide. And, one thing I learned about reporters is that they usually write something that either affects them personally or they are interested. For example, any reporter with young children that go to child care centers is much more likely going to be interested in that than say autism centers.

So, I imagine if DHS did not wait for a reporter to write about the lack of safety and quality control in autism centers. I imagine if DHS did not wait until an autistic child got hurt or sued DHS for negligence. I imagine DHS used common sense of they certify, fund, inspect and audit these autism therapy providers and the very least they can do is to make sure the children are learning well and are safe. Why is that so hard for DHS, I wonder?

Yes, I know many of the quality of the providers will be addressed in the new autism waiver benefit, but not all and unless our kids are safe and are learning well – I don’t think anyone or building should be called an autism expert or clinic. There must be safety measures, quality control and data reporting for all children that get hurt little or big to DHS.

Again, I ask Minnesota Department of Human Services to relook at this issue of autism provider safety and quality control before a child really gets hurt.  I hope DHS can learn something from MDE in quality control. For example, charter schools are funded by the same means as ABA in Minnesota of both state and Federal. Yet, charter schools have actual rules, policies for those in charge and for parents. By the same token, for many ABA providers not so much even though the funding is from the same sources. Why is that? Is it because the supply and demand is so huge that DHS looks at this with a blind eye. I really hope not.

We need DHS to be the adult here and take charge of assuring our autistic children and teens are learning and are safe. DHS must inspect the physical facility, ask for independent evaluations to assure the child is learning and progressing to reach his/her best outcome and the parent is part of the team, not sitting on the sidelines to just sign ITP’s. Another example, when a center says a child will get one on one treatment, what happens when that does not happen and it happens often in ABA centers. For example, two or three children are assigned to one therapist due to vacations, staff turnover, firings, quitting, vacations, etc.  Should that be notated, parents notified and DHS aware.

Above words do not represent any agency, candidate or agency.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Autism Policy

Comments Off on Update from CDC Regarding Dr. Thompson, Autism and MMR

Boy, this has been an emotional few weeks after Dr. Thompson said all of those things via Dr. Wakefield’s released video. I have spoken with everyone I can think of regarding this from both sides of this issue.  I also got a response from the director of CDC’s disability area which I will post it here.

And, this is just my take after reading all of the information I got and my advice to my fellow Somali autism parents. First, as I have said in my previous posts, Dr. Allsopp is a lot of things but a race traitor is not one of them. Dr. Allsopp is a trend setter and an amazing autism researcher. As an African American doctor in CDC – she probably worked harder than anyone to get where she is and as a Black autism mom – I respect, admire and trust her judgment. Fellow IACC member and friend Matt Carey from Left Brain Right Brain autism blog also wrote about Dr. Allsopp and all of the barriers she had to break to get to where she is today. I can’t even imagine during that time in the south – the land of George Wallace for a Black woman to do what she did. She is truly an amazing person.

I don’t know everyone at CDC, but those that I know such as Dr. Boyle and Dr. Wiggins are equally amazing and I trust their research with no hesitation and no reservation as an autism mom.

So, what does this mean now? after I got the response, I called NIMH and CDC and looked back the University of Minnesota Somali autism study and the number’s ain’t adding up. Let’s start with the facts, but please remember – I am no researcher nor like to play one. In fact, I get a headache and would rather take a nap & would rather concentrate on autism services policy. CDC told me they counted all of the children that had birth certificates because those without one, they did not know if they were born in another state or in another country. Birth certificates gave them more information on the mother and the child which makes sense. They also said anyone can re-analyze that data to see if they get the same results.

Now, this was 10 years ago so let’s assume if CDC counted all of those kids – there would have been more Black boys diagnosed with autism. Wouldn’t we see more autism diagnoses in Black children now? For example, the UMN study said autism in Minneapolis for Somalis was 1 in32, for Whites 1 in 36, for Blacks non Somali 1 in 62 and for Hispanics 1 in 80. In other words while Somali American kids had the highest rate, the Black kids whose parents were not Somali had much lower rate. Yes, I know Mpls is more White than Atlanta and epidemiology is not an exact science, but the rate was not even close like the White kids,  instead it was African American kids had a chance of two times less likely to get autism than Somali kids and White kids. Plus, if you look at the current ADDM system in all of the states that have it – the rate of White children with autism is usually higher than the rate of Black and Hispanic children.

Yes, some might say well that is because most Black kids are not diagnosed properly or given the wrong diagnoses or mis-diagnosed. So, personally I rather work and advocate on how to assure Black kids get the right diagnoses at the right time, get access to early behavior intervention and equal access to other treatments and therapies. I think our energy is better spent on that than picking and insulting one of our few CDC minority researchers.

Plus, my advice to those that have been saying CDC is racist would be how diverse is your agency, your blog contributors, your autism organization such as Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, Dr. Wakefield’s media channel – how many people work there, in a position of leadership reflect the African American community in this country. How many of them actually advocate for our minority kids to get early therapy such as ABA intervention and equal opportunity.

I think doing this very emotional Tuskegee video is both cruel and cheap attempt to take our eyes and mind of what is important and that is making sure our Black autistic children get access to equal intensive ABA therapy on time and fairly. Personally, I rather advocate and concentrate on that disparity.

Finally, my other thought here is why did Dr. Thompson wait for 10 years to speak up and why not just re-do the study with others and see if the results are the same. I mean research should always be repeated and replicated to assure its validity. Instead he started a fire and is now hiding without explaining his words. If he could not explain and defend his words, then he should’ve kept his mouth shut and not scare parents.

Below is the letter I got from CDC;

September 2, 2014

Dear Ms. Abdull:

Thank you for reaching out to us to question the validity of this report. CDC’s study about age at first Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccination and autism, published in Pediatrics in 2004, included boys and girls from different ethnic groups, including black children. The manuscript presented the results on two sets of children:

1) All children who were initially recruited for the study, and

2) the subset of children who had a Georgia birth certificate.

Access to the information on the birth certificates allowed researchers to assess more complete information on race as well as other important characteristics, including possible risk factors for autism such as the child’s birth weight, and mother’s age and education. This information was not available for the children without birth certificates; hence CDC study did not present data by race on Black, White, or Other race children from the whole study sample. It presented the results on Black and White/Other race children from the group with birth certificates.

The study looked at different age groups: children vaccinated by 18 months, 24 months, and 36 months. The findings revealed that vaccination between 24 and 36 months was slightly more common among children with autism, and that association was strongest among children 3-5 years of age. The authors reported this finding was most likely a result of immunization requirements for preschool special education program attendance in children with autism.

The data CDC collected for this study continue to be available for analysis by others. CDC welcomes analysis by others that can be submitted for peer-review and publication. For more information on how to access this public-use dataset please go to the CDC website.

Additional studies and a more recent rigorous review by the Institute of Medicine have found that MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of autism.

Vaccines protect the health of children in the United States so well that most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences of diseases now stopped by vaccines.

However, this year a record number of U.S. children has suffered from measles. We do not want to lose any opportunity to protect all of our children when we have the means to do so.


I would like re-iterate my support for CDC and my disappoinment for Minn dept of health who insteaad of telling scared and frustrated parents how to help their children, they keep saying stupid things like Autism existed in Somalia.  As CDC states Measles is a real problem, it happened in Mpls by parents scared of autism and the best MDH can do is preach bunch of useless words. C’mon MDH do your charge of assessment and assurance. I ask Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to find a way to help minority parents to learn the signs of autism so they can act early and get early intensive intervention which is the best road to their best outcome. To me as minority autism mother and advocate, that is the best way to defeat autism racial disparity. It is not comparing Tuskegee experiment to autism. That is not a fair comparison.

As usual, above words do not represent any agency, committee or candidate.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate


Category: My two cents

Comments Off on Minnesota Department of Health Tells Somali Autism Parents – Autism Existed in Somalia and We should just suck it up

Minnesota Department of Health under Commissioner Ehlinger has decided to insult us and tell us (an oral society) that autism existed in Somalia all along and we just did not notice children not talking, not eating more than five foods, being bothered by sensory or children having hours of meltdown. That is right – we were just blind and deaf all along and all of the adults born in Somalia with autism somehow just disappeared.

Think about that for a minute, the agency that is or should be in charge of the health of all Minnesotans decided to just lie and pretend to be stupid or think we are. They have been going around saying to Somali parents that are usually hand selected in order to preach their lies – we should just suck up autism and deal with it. They have no idea how autism has impacted Somali families, some of whom have 1, 2, or even three and four children with autism. Can you imagine that level of disconnect and dismissive attitude.

MDH under previous governor Pawlenty and commissioner Magnan were much kinder and more receptive to listening and validating. They did the first and only Somali autism study, the first and only Somali autism workshop and conference. They changed their website and added autism to the list of medical conditions. What is interesting about that is Gov Pawlenty & Commissioner Magnan never preached equity, never pretended to care or never told us how the other side was the problem. They just did their charge of assurance, assessment and policy. They had a kind and can do attitude.

Under this commissioner – boy can he preach equity this and equity that. Yet, when you look at his policies, they are as cold as the south in 1950’s. His top leadership as diverse as a golf club in Alabama in 1960’s. His words however are as sweet as Sugar Ray Leonard. My take is this, don’t buy the empty words, the empty hype, the empty promises and the empty actions.

As an autism mom and advocate – my advice to Somali autism families and new Somali parents would be “don’t listen to MDH’s words anymore”. They don’t give a rats you know what about your children’s health or your concerns. They will preach one thing and practice another. Never trust their words and go with your gut feeling or find a really good doctor to talk to about autism.

Never listen or do what MDH tells you would be my advice as a Somali autism parent that have begged them to address autism for years in a tangible manner. I have given up asking, the only hope we have now is a change of leadership through our votes. Never believe their useless words and never trust their word because Autism DID NOT exist in Somalia. We are known to be an oral society, yet our children are silent and the state health agency is so clueless and out of touch that it is not worth listening to them anymore.  My advice would be whatever MDH tells you as a parent – do the opposite.

The only hope we have now is if we replace Gov Dayton and Commissioner Ehlinger which hopefully can result in change of those in charge of children’s health at MDH. Leadership in my opinion is doing not talking and giving useless speeches which is exactly what we got from MDH for the last four years. Further, their communication department that had Buddy who communicated with our community very well now has arrogant and rude folks who seem confused on the importance of having good communication skills with various communities.

Here is Commissioner Ehlinger telling African Americans in Minnesota how the good life is for Whites only – yet he has zero African American assistant commissioner or in a position of leadership under him. Basically that is blah blah and more blah – empty words.

Here is how horrible Minnesota racial health disparity is and all Dr. Ehlinger can do is talk and have no action other than tell autism families to suck it up.

Above words do not represent any agency, committee or candidate.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate