Monthly Archives: May 2016

Comments Off on Open Letter to the Minneapolis School Board – Please Hire Dr. Cassellius as the next MPS Superintendent

Alright – so, One of my favorite state agency commissioners, Dr. Brenda Cassellius of Minnesota Department of Education has applied to be the next Superintendent for Minneapolis Public Schools. While it is sad to lose Commissioner Cassellius at MDE, she will make an amazing leader at MPS. I just send below email to the board asking for their support and hire Dr. Cassellius. She is qualified and has the can do attitude to uplift all kids in the district.

Dear Madam Chair and Minneapolis School Board Members,

My name is Idil Abdull, I am an autism mom and advocate. I am writing this letter to you in support of Dr. Brenda Cassellius to be the next Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent.

I am sure you have a difficult task selecting the best qualified person that will assure not just decreasing racial education gap, but all kids learn to their full potential, all parents listened to and all communities engaged. Dr. Cassellius is the perfect and the right person to accomplish all of that and more.

I have contacted Dr. Cassellius more times than I can count asking help and support for autism. She has always addressed whatever the issue big or small. She has never told me once she was too important to speak with a parent because she was a commissioner for the whole state education department or she was too busy. Dr. Cassellius always made time for everyone in every concern. She is easily approachable and engaging with every parent and community member. Dr. Cassellius looks at every education problem with a compassionate heart, a practical mind and a thoughtful soul.

One perfect example: I went to a workshop that was done by Pacer with funding from Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) few years ago for parents with special needs children. There were many parents and I was the only parent from a minority community. I remember vividly every word the speakers said in educating these families. My favorite part was when they taught the parents how to talk to their child’s teacher and how to advocate for their child’s strengths. I remember thinking “wow”. Imagine if parents from under-served communities also learned this and were able to speak and advocate for their children.

Needless to say, I contacted Commissioner Cassellius and then Assistant Commissioner Elia Bruggeman. Without hesitation or delays, they both met with me and one of our community leaders, Mr. Mohamed Mohamud of Somali American Parent Association. We asked Commissioner Cassellius if MDE can do similar workshop for our community (see attached notice). Without even a blink or delay, she agreed and asked Elia Bruggeman to work with us. In just short few weeks after that MDE sponsored a workshop to educate and empower our community.

Another example: Maybe a year ago or so I contacted Commissioner Cassellius about a child with autism in Harrison Education school in Minneapolis. I think I might’ve contacted the Mpls board as well who also has been very helpful. Commissioner Cassellius contacted Mr. Goar and asked to help this child.

You see – no matter the issue whether it is for one child or a whole community, Dr. Cassellius finds a thoughtful and practical way to address it.

I know she will make a fantastic superintendent in Minneapolis Public Schools. I hope you give Dr. Cassellius the opportunity to use her talents, expertise and background to help all students in Minneapolis public schools.

I thank you so much for your time and consideration.


Idil Abdull – Autism mom and Minority Advocate

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


Category: Autism Policy

Comments Off on Minnesota Autism Center Employee Katie Strong Fails to protect kids with Autism

Alright – so, Minnesota Autism Center who is arguably the biggest ABA therapy provider in Minnesota (not the best though) has again failed to protect children with autism from abuse and neglect.

Katie Strong who is a licensed professional clinical counselor and by law is a mandated reporter has failed to report abuse in MAC Mankato location. Ms. Keri Adams who is the clinical supervisor there has been charged by the Mankato authorities. (finally a prosecutor with the guts to stand up for kids with autism against big bad-ass bully MAC). Ms. Adams claims that she only reported the abuse to the program supervisor which in this case was Ms. Strong. Needless to say and not surprisingly Ms. Adams nor Ms. Strong reported this to the authorities or DHS as required.

MAC Mankato center was given a warning by the Mankato police department before this incident in December of 2015 when they also failed to report a child that hit his head in their center so bad that he was vomiting.

This is exactly why our state needs to license these blood sucking ABA providers. We can’t have children getting hurt and covering up because owners and directors want to bury it. As an autism mom – this pisses me off to my core and as an autism advocate this frustrates me. Why can’t DHS wake the hell up and do something about this. DHS needs to prevent such incidents by holding ABA providers accountable. There must be some kind of statewide policy to protect these vulnerable kids with ASD and DHS needs to take the lead.

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

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: Autism Policy

Comments Off on Ain’t No Mountain High enough, No Valley low enough and No River Wild enough

Alright – so, we probably all heard of this song by Diana Ross. This is how I feel how Lovaas ABA therapy provider treated my son and I. I think Lovaas and the person who runs the Minnesota location – Dr. Larsson are racist pigs. (not a typo and my opinion). I will probably write a book about my experiences in many Minnesota ABA therapy providers, but clearly my least favorite has been Lovaas clinic for their blatant racist and bias tactics.

Back in 2008, when my son was only five years old, I enrolled him after being on a wait list for a long time into Lovaas’ program. They initially told me that I had to take him out of pre-school, speech and occupational therapy because that would be a conflict with their method of teaching. So like an idiot I believed them and took him off everything. Then the clinical supervisor we had who I actually thought was the only sane voice of reason – Ms. Amy N left and we were assigned to a clueless one Ms. Karin Morris who had no behavior certification and was not licensed in any mental health area. In less than couple of months after she was assigned to us – Ms. Morris told me that my son who had non-verbal autism was not “the best outcome” and would be discharged.

Imagine for a minute being a parent and your child’s kinder-garden teacher tells you such cruel words. Your first reaction is WTF – he is only five. He is just starting and what the heck is best outcome. Shouldn’t each child learn to their best ability and their God given potential. I remember I cried endlessly then I begged Ms. Morris, Larsson and even called Scott Wright and his wife Linda Wright who run Lovaas East and West coast. All of these Anglo’s stood together and told me bunch of bleeping lies including – my son was too old for their program. Keep in mind he was only five at the time. Then Mr. Wright said “we usually transfer kids to school by this time”. What time is that I asked and he never responded.

Mrs. Wright seemed to have a little bit more compassion, but she too was powerless or at least didn’t care enough to speak for my son. So, I complained to everyone I can think of and every agency. Sadly, no one could help us. Everyone felt bad and wrote letters to Larsson including my son’s mental health professional, disability law center, the Ombudsman’s office, DHS and everyone in between to no avail.

Larsson was bent on listening to unqualified Morris over logic and reason. He refused to let my son stay in the program and learn. I decided to fight them because there was no mountain high enough, no valley low enough and no river wild enough that was going to keep me from protecting my child as any parent would.

Stay tuned for what happened next!

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

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Minority Advocate

Category: My two cents