Alright – so, if you live in Minnesota and have a child with autism – you’ve probably heard of Minnesota Autism Center (MAC). They are arguably the biggest Applied Behavior Analysis therapy provider in Minnesota – not the best, just the biggest. MAC also serves the most Somali Autism children partly due to myself and two other autism parents that few years ago enrolled over 25 Somali autism families and some of them had multiple children with autism. My guess is those 25 families probably told another 25 families to take their children to MAC centers which are located throughout the state of Minnesota. Sound all good, right. What is wrong when an ABA provider wants to take minority children given that they usually either discharge our kids at age 5, never take them or just ignore our community.
Well – as they say it is all in the pudding. It turns out MAC is simply just greedy and cruel in how many Somali autism families are treated including myself. We are often told “you better bring your child to our center for 8 hours a day irrespective of if your child is 2, 10 or 18 or hit the road”. We are told “you can’t observe your own child learn in a publicly funded program unless you make an appointment weeks a head of time”. We are told “your child is being discharged this afternoon – come pick him up now”. We are told “don’t bother bringing your child back tomorrow”. Our kids are neglected and abused in their Woodbury center and probably other centers. Most of our kids are ordered and dictated to go to their Woodbury location which is supervised by a high school graduate Camille Heyman. Our kids in centers hardly learn any skills yet they have been doing 8 hours a day for years and years. And any parent that God forbid asks questions about their child’s treatment – guess what they are labeled….wait for it…it is original …..not really……that is right “angry emotional Black parent”.
All of this happens under the approval of the state Medicaid agency DHS. Even worse, we are told “they are too big to fail”. I think …..no I know they are not too big to fail. They are too greedy by demanding 40 hours a week for every child and too cruel to survive. Our kids who are just as red blooded Americans are too important to fail and to be neglected or abused by MAC. Yet, DHS who closes Somali owned child care centers faster than a NY minute seems to drag its feet, crawls or pretends to be deaf and blind when it comes to protecting vulnerable children with autism. WTF?
No therapy is better than bad therapy where children are neglected, abused, abandoned and parents harassed and intimidated. I have seen even MAC staff that pee in their pants when they hear the name of the owners of MAC Ms. Marshall and Ron Carey because of the heartache they went through there. I have seen staff that say they had premature babies due to the stress that Marshall and Carey have put on them. I have seen parents cry for weeks and months because of how their children were treated by Marshall and Carey, I have seen despair and frustration beyond belief and DHS still does not blink. WTF? Icing on the cake is when Minnesota’s ABA lobbying group denied MAC to join them. I have always wondered about that. It turns out many of their members said if MAC joins we are leaving. Let’s put this into a more understandable context – the lobbying group that was advising the red t-shirt wearing gang that I advocated against for years at the state Capitol for low income ABA coverage thought MAC was too cruel for them. Still don’t get that analogy – well let’s add some comedy. Remember when the nut job Trump made those demeaning and cruel statements about Mexican immigrants and other things…well Bill O’Reilly from FOX thought he was a nut job. Get it, the king of nut jobs O’Reilly thinks Trump is more nuttier.
The better question now is – Why is it that DHS can site any wrong doing in Somali child care centers – some even when the kids were still there and for some reason MAC is too big to fail. They are not too big to fail – our kids are too important to be abused, neglected and abandoned. Why can’t DHS say like they should “our responsibility is to protect vulnerable children with autism”. Why does DHS allow a fake Eagan MAC school lie to parents who think that is a public school, but it is just another ABA center. Why can’t MDE (the state education dept) make sure a school is a school is a school. There are a lot of questions and hardly any answers from both DHS or MDE.
I have seen many parents that just give up and say Ms. Marshall and Ron Carey are too high powered people for anything to change and Kevin Goodno who was previous DHS commissioner is now their lobbyist. Ms. Marshall is a local attorney and Mr. Carey was the chair of the Minnesota Republican Party who have friends in high places. My response – so bleeping what? our kids with autism are more important than any lawyer, lobbyist or politician. Shouldn’t our kids be protected by the current governor who is in charge now Dayton and his current commissioner of DHS Jesson? Why should they care if xyz is a high powered BS. I don’t give a flying hoot and no other parent cares.
We want…..no – we demand DHS and Gov Dayton do something and stop this abuse, neglect and abandonment of our children with autism by MAC. There ain’t no buts, ifs and BS about it. Our kids with autism deserve a good quality ABA therapy where parents have a say in their own children’s treatment plan, where children are never abused and where their therapist are actually trained, not some high school diploma holder. If you ever wondered why Minnesota has one of the highest racial disparity in the country. Wonder no more…MAC is the perfect example.
I ask DHS to wake the heck up, stop crawling and protect all kids with disabilities including autism or this will be another Jensen case. Actually even worse, because these are children not adults and if DHS can’t protect vulnerable children then what the heck is it for?
Commissioner Jesson – I have been advocating in your corner since you were on this position for four days back in 2010, quite frankly I am tired of asking to please assure the health and safety of autism kids. If one more person at DHS tells me to be patient or if you assign me to one more person – I am going to scream. The buck stops with you and you need to take action. No more talking, let your actions speak for you. Our kids are too important to fail and DHS is failing them miserably. The notion that all kids must do 8 hours of ABA a day is not based on science nor research. It is based on greed and their audacity to bully families in a publicly funded program that you oversee and regulate is simply shameful and cruel. Autism by itself is challenging enough, adding greed and cruelty makes it unbearable. You must do something about this because we are not going to be silenced nor bullied and intimated by Ms. Marshall or Mr. Carey anymore.
Above words do not reflect any candidate, agency or committee.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate