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Comments Off on The Power of Somali State Legislators in Minnesota – 2023 is Simply Unparalleled

Alright – so, by now we have established Somalis are politically savvy abroad. If you ever went to any Somali coffee shop or Starbucks, you will see Somalis drinking cappuccinos and talking about politics. Some of them have turned this niche into a political career. Although there are many Somali elected officials in Minnesota, it is also happening all over the world, from Canada to Europe to Africa. 

Let’s concentrate on Minnesota for this blog and autism of course because that is MY niche.

There are five state-elected officials in Minnesota, Mohamud, Hodan, Zaynab, Omar, and Samakab. Three are house representatives and two are senators. Two in the House – Hodan and Mohamud are extremely important committee chairs – human services and economic development. Hodan’s committee is new and did not exist before. Usually, Dflers make up more committees. The speaker must’ve made this one up. But Mohamud’s committee is extremely relevant to our community – Human Services Finance which is where DHS is under. I wish someone would put DHS under me; I would have them for lunch by breakfast. This is the agency that has screwed with more Somalis than Siad Barre.

In the Senate, Omar is in charge of all things higher education that includes all state colleges and universities. Imagine, being in charge of where UMN gets its funding from. That is one bias university, especially the ICI dept.

So what gives? out of 5, three are in charge of a big portion of the state’s budget. Plus in the state senate, the GOPs have 33 senators and Dflers have 34. This means the two Somali senators literally can shape what passes and what does not pass. In other words, anything that passed or will pass this year in Minnesota is because a Somali person voted for it, and allowed it. Imagine that. This includes anything that is good or bad for our community.

They say the proof is in the budding; when the rubber meets the road, and when it is all said and done. If after May of 2023, our community is still struggling, our kids with autism are still being screwed by DHS or the counties, our students are failing in schools, and our businesses are trying to make ends meet because DHS has us for lunch by breakfast and our elders are not better off than before, then we can and should elect different leaders. Electing the same people and expecting different policies is the definition of insanity. Further, I hope none of them think they are where they are without us. It is the Somali community that has put these 5 on the map and in the powerful positions they have by campaigning for them, donating to them, and everything in between.

Ha iloobinina meeshaad ka timaadeen iyo dadkii idin soo shaac bixiyay. Ha noqonina lax bacaad lagu lisay. Dadkiina wax tara.

Additionally, I am simply dizzy by the level of minority and women leadership this year in the state legislature. I remember when there were two blacks – Jeff and Bobby, that was it.

The House speaker is Melissa; well she has been there before and ugh I am not a fan of her. She has always thrown us under the bus and over the bridge when it came to education discipline disparities. Next to her is Athena who is black. She will brown nose Melissa and has said time and time again she would protect the teachers instead of the students. I almost miss her predecessor John L whom we campaigned against because he was against charter schools.

Senate – Kari is the majority leader. She represents NE Mpls which we know has lots of autism families. In my humble opinion, I find her to be fair and approachable. Her staff before were yucky. She now has a Somali LA which is a pleasant surprise. The Senate president is an African American – Bobby. I have seen him way back when he was a House Rep. He usually does not do much about autism, but he has worked very hard for his community’s issues which is needed. Good for him. He does a lot with voting rights, giving grants, etc.

There are a lot more Somali elected officials in Minnesota and in the US from the school board, city council, county commissioners, mayor, etc. I am incredibly proud of them. The sky is not even the limit for you, but please do not forget where you came from and who you are. Do not become to go along to get along. Stand up for your community. 

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

Idil – Somali Autism Mom and Retiring Advocate.

UMN Sues Ucare – Why Should We Care?

Comments Off on UMN Sues Ucare – Why Should We Care?

Alright – so, you’ve probably heard that the University of Minnesota (UMN) which is a state agency, and funded by the state as one sued UCare – a health plan. What do the two have to do with each other and why should we really give a flying hoot about it.

Well, it turns out that UMN is sort of in charge of Ucare. What really? Why? I guess it was funded, was part of its inception, and is the majority of their board. Ucare then tried to limit the UMN authority within its board so that it can partner with others such as Sanford. Who the heck is Sanford? some old white dude who owns a bunch of rural health systems and is headquartered outside of MN.

Then that is when all hell broke loose. Every white person I know was against it this merger. They complained to the attorney general, to the media, and to their legislators. What happened then? miracles started flying and heads turned. I asked a few Somalis about this. Most had no idea, a couple said Ucare and UMN can both go to hell and leave Minnesota. What does this have to do with autism? nada. So, why am I writing about it?

Let me line it up. Have you ever read this author’s work. She makes the point about having an international women’s day. If women were equal to men, there would be no special for them. You have never heard of international men’s day, have you? There is black history month, why? If blacks were equal to whites in America, there would be no special month for them. When I advocate as a black woman, I am called – angry, rude so on and so forth. When a white autism mom advocates, she is passionate and cares for her child and others like her. You see there is this subtle yet persistent and hurtful double standard.

This merger and all that it produced reminds me of what it is like to be a black, woman, and Muslim advocate. As a result of the white folks who were upset about this merger and sided with UMN, heads turned. The media wrote about it. The governor heard and changed his tune and is apparently now against the merger. The attorney general who was neutral before is now hesitant and the best part is legislators who represent some of these people started writing legislation that would prohibit state-funded anything going to another state. Imagine that. Imagine when black and brown folks complain about something if the same heads turned. Imagine if the legislators who represent us actually started writing legislation that would address our needs and concerns. Imagine if black and brown-owned media outlets started writing about the issues proactively. Imagine that.

Instead, we are called angry black people, difficult, wrong, abrasive, yada yada, and more yada.

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

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

Comments Off on 2023 MN State Legislature Committee Chairs – What does it mean for Autism, Equity & Equality?

Alright – so, the MN state legislature session has started, yay! Not really. The dflers are in complete control. You know what that means. More disparity, more Minnesota nice racism, and more inequalities. Ugh.

Let’s dig in and see who is chairing what committee and what that all means for autism and our community.

The House:

Human services policy is chaired by Rep. Fischer 

Human services finance is chaired by a Somali this year. Does this mean DHS will finally do the right thing. Nope, let’s not hold our breath. Hell would have to freeze first. It is sooooo frustrating when they look like us but do not address our community’s needs.

Senate: It is even worse in the Senate. First, crying that Sen. Abeler is not in charge. Second, Sen. Melissa W is chairing the health and human main one. She is by far one of the worse elected officials I have ever met in Minnesota. She is your typical Minnesota nice grass snake. She represents Bloomington, you know the area with some of the worst racial disparities in the state, including the school district. Sen. Melissa will not do anything good for autism at all – period. Can’t we find someone to run against her and defeat her at the polls? Ugh.

Then there is the human services committee chaired by Sen. Hoffman. Well, what can I say about him. He is charming, charismatic, and smiles all the time. He reminds me of those cold sunny days in Minnesota that we see in Jan. What is that called – fake sun. The sun that shines but never warms anything. That is Hoffman in a nutshell. He will use and say the right words like disability, mental health, equity, and disparity, but he doesn’t mean any of them. He will only make you think he cares. He does not. Sadly, this is the  Senator that DHS uses when they wanna push salty EIDBI policies and laws down our throats. Now he is in charge – yay! Not really. Ugh.

My goal was to advocate for EAA and county accountability, I just do not see success with all privileged white dflers in charge.

The only good news here in health is that the Minnesota Department of Health’s commissioner Jan M left. Goodbye and good riddance. She was useless and could care less about autism research or support. If One Minn Hoax Gov Walz was to do the right thing, he will hire Dr. Nathan C to lead MDH. I doubt that. MDH now has a black commissioner. We will have to see what she accomplishes. I hope it is not for decoration. Even MDE – the education department now has a black commissioner. I have to say I was not expecting this from One Hoax Minn Gov, Walz. There are two scenarios for this. Either, he is starting to come around and has appointed diverse commissioners who will change the trajectory of education and health disparities in Minnesota or they are the black liberals of Clarence Thomas. Time will tell.

Education – The talk of the town for a minute there was that MDE was going to be led by retired rep Davnie. While he is charming and pleasant in committees, he is and will always be in the pockets of unions and never in the corner of students and families. Do you know how many useless and meaningless hearings he gave discipline disparities and education gap? None of which produced any fruits. He always smiled and then screwed with us. It seems that Gov Walz hired an African American person to lead MDE. I do not know this one and could not write anything good or bad just yet. Let’s see what he does and how he manages to decrease discipline disparities and the education gap for students with disabilities and black/brown kids.

So, who will be leading the House and Senate committees in Education?

Senate – the policy is in the pockets of the teacher’s union. I have seen him here for years with no progress.

The finance is Sen. Kunesh. She is native American in name only. Ever since I have been advocating in the education system, Sen Kunesh has been in opposition to increasing teachers of color, reducing, and eliminating racial discipline disparities, and getting rid of the education gap.

This is my last legislative session as I will be retiring in May of 2023. Don’t worry, I will write a blog on this and tell myself, wait for it…. Drum roll pls…. Goodbye and good riddance. Yes, I know so many in Minnesota agencies and legislatures will be saying that. Maybe even a few federal agencies will too. I am ok with that. You see the idea of policy advocacy is to change policies and laws. That means people who benefit from current policies and laws won’t be happy. I have always said, I did not become an advocate to join Paris Hiltons’ BFF show.

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

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

Comments Off on What Passed for EIDBI in 2022 Legislative Session? – Good stuff!

Alright – so, I have decided to retire from autism advocacy in May 2023. The last session was the last time that I will advocate for any EIDBI policy changes. I wanted to make sure that at least autism parents and other stakeholders have a say in whatever DHS or others try to change within EIDBI law.

From start to finish, Sen. Abeler who has been there for us from day one to the end of my journey ensured this and added this simple language that I requested. The EIDBI provisions go from line 167.13 to 173.6. The part I was interested in was ensuring that stakeholders including autism parents were at the table. This meant DHS can not just use their controlled ASD advisory council. That is a not public committee the public has access to. Here is the HHS Omnibus 

Here is the language I wanted which passed and is now a law.

169.22    Sec. 41. Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 256B.0949, subdivision 8, is amended to read:
169.23    Subd. 8. Refining the benefit with stakeholders. Before making revisions to the EIDBI
169.24benefit or proposing statutory changes to this section, the commissioner must refine the
169.25details of the benefit in consultation consult with stakeholders and consider recommendations
169.26from the Department of Human Services Early Intensive Developmental and Behavioral
169.27Intervention Advisory Council, the early intensive developmental and behavioral intervention
169.28learning collaborative, and the Departments of Health, Education, Employment and Economic
169.29Development, and Human Services. The details must Revisions and proposed statutory
169.30changes subject to this subdivision include, but are not limited to, the following components:
169.31(1) a definition of the qualifications, standards, and roles of the treatment team, including
169.32recommendations after stakeholder consultation on whether board-certified behavior analysts
170.1and other professionals certified in other treatment approaches recognized by the department
170.2or trained in ASD or a related condition and child development should be added as
170.3professionals qualified to provide EIDBI clinical supervision or other functions under
170.4medical assistance;

As always, I can not thank enough Sen. Abeler – the chair of the Senate Human Services Reform, Finance and Policy Committee.

From what I understand, DHS is supposed to update the public sometime in August. All good things must come to an end. I have one more session to advocate and it will not be EIDBI. I really do hope another autism parent who is interested in policy advocacy rises and continues this important work.

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

Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom and Advocate

Comments Off on MN Medicaid State Agency Medical Director – Dr. Nathan Chomilo – suky suky suky

Alright – so, Dr. Chomilo is the state Medicaid agency’s medical director. He is an African American whose parents are from Africa. I tell you he is all kinds of goodness poured into a cup of tea. Oh please, get your mind out of the gutter; I have shoes older than him. Kidding aside, I first heard this guy testifying in MN House Health and Finance Committee several weeks ago about Minnesota’s health disparities. At first, I thought – oh great it must be an election year. Tell us again how bad black and brown Minnesotans are doing. What would an election year be for democrats to not mention how bad things are. Oh wait, they have been in charge and have done nada, but they always come back to tell us this time it will be different. Because this time they will (Sally Field) really really really like us.

We have seen this movie and we know how it ends – no change; just take our votes for granted. Then I listened to him and watched his body language and tone. There is something real and authentic about this guy. I do not think he is faking it like so many in state government especially dflers do. He seems and sounds like he actually cares about the health and well-being of black Minnesotans. Time will tell. In my humble opinion, and if One Minnesota Hoax Gov Walz cares about health equity he would have hired him as the commissioner of the HEALTH department. You know, the do-nothing about autism nor health equity state agency headed by out of touch Jan M.

I hope he stays genuine and pure. I hope he accomplishes tangible results and fruitful outcomes for black Minnesotan’s health and wellbeing. The notion that DHS cares about health equity, especially under Gov Walz is an oxymoron, but I guess we will see how his efforts play out.

More about him, read here and here. 

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

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocae

Comments Off on MN OLA Releases its long awaited report on Minnesota’s education gap & MDE’s role

Alright – so, the Minnesota office of legislative auditor (OLA) released a report that many of us have been waiting for that was about education gap in this state and what the education department has been doing about it. To no one’s surprise, MDE sucks in this area and in so many others. The auditor shared their report with the House education finance committee this week. I listened and thought it was really good. I am sad they did not add suspension to the reasons education gap exists. They said they only looked at the four areas that are in the law which I guess makes sense.

The commissioner of the state education department spoke after the OLA office and as usual, was defensive and refused to take any ownership of MDE’s failure in addressing the state’s horrible education disparities. This was the best opportunity to own mistakes, come up with corrective actions and apologize to the thousands of Minnesota families who have endured education gap.

What was interesting in this report was that there is not a definition of what an education gap is in law. Interesting. I guess one could say by third grade all children black, white and brown should be able to read, write and do basic math is a good way to measure.

I hope legislatures come up with some laws and policies to not just define what the heck education gap is but to decrease and eliminate it. Education is the key to life’s success and/or failures. If we are failing our kids then we are failing our success and future.

You can read the full report here if you like.

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

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

Comments Off on Dozens of Minnesota Group Homes are closing in a few days – oh my goodness

Alright- so, while I was cleaning – I was watching Minn Human Services Reform Finance & Policy Committee (Sen. Abeler’s). Yes, I know who does that? most people listen to music or watch a show or something. I relax by watching legislature committees, weird.

Ok, let’s not get excited; I only watch committees when there is some autism bill or language going through. On this day (2.24.22), the committee had a language of taking out the QSP being present for coordinated care conferences which is a good idea. I then stumbled into them talking about group homes closing. Sen. Nelson gave an impassionate speech and asked what we (all of us) can do to keep these vulnerable people in their homes. Not surprisingly, the current MN department of human services commissioner (Jodi Harspstead) was there and gave – oh what is the word….what is the word that describes her demeanor…yes, I got it… disconnected.

Let’s digest this for a moment. The HUMAN services department leader did not display any emotion, empathy, or care for people with disabilities losing their homes in 8 days. This is so depressing.

It was interesting to see the faces and body language of the GOP members who in my humble opinion displayed empathy and compassion then the DFLers (Murphy) said something about something, oh who can ever remember what she says. Remember, she was against Medicaid paying for autism services for the poor when she was in the house. Yeah, let’s not ever forget that. Then Sen Hoffman spoke. He praised the governor’s solution then praised Abeler’s views just to brown-nose. It was a canceling message. I am never amazed at how much he talks without saying any meaningful words. I am not a fan of him and can’t actually see how he wins elections. He was also against kids with disabilities not being suspended by school districts. Why, you ask – because he was a school board member. I know Abeler likes him and I respect and like Abeler more than I can ever express.

Anyway, I think at least for me – I want to help these people especially any group home that have individuals with autism. I hope you all contact DHS or your county and ask how you can help. The problem seems to be people who work in these group homes are not and were not ever making a living wage. With the pandemic, things have gotten even worse. I suggest we invest in ensuring these amazing and wonderful care professionals get the rate they deserve and the thanks we all owe them.

Abeler discussing this.

The link to this hearing.

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

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

Comments Off on Background Checks Needed for EIDBI Services in Minnesota – Autistic Kids Must be Protected

In Minnesota, any Jack or Jane can have access to children with autism via early intensive developmental and behavior intervention (EIDBI) therapy. While DHS tries its best, it is not required; only recommended. This is wrong; children with autism must be protected. MN Dept of Human Services put this in their budget this year and I have been trying to advocate in both the senate and house to ensure it finally passes this legislative session. For the record, I was the sole person who testified for this provision in the house and senate. A flashback to how it was only us (Somali autism parents and community leaders) who testified and pushed EIDBI, but as usual DHS neglected and denied to give credit where credit is due. Lovely. Gee, I wonder why racial disparity is so high here.

Note: I can’t wait which wasp person DHS gives credit for pushing this.

Minnesota State Senate
Human Services Reform Finance & Policy Committee
Chair – Sen. Abeler

Dear Mr. Chair and Members, many thanks for the opportunity to share my written testimony regarding the governor’s budget for DHS. My name is Idil Abdull; I am a Somali Autism Mom & Advocate.

I would like to first thank all the legislators in this committee who helped and supported us pass the Early Intensive Developmental & Behavior Intervention (EIDBI) benefit so many years ago. Because of your efforts and hard work, so many children with autism and their families are able to receive the therapy and services they need.
Unfortunately, at that time, we were all so eager to get this bill pass that we did not think about requiring background study for providers who would be providing the therapy. As you know, autism is a developmental disability. Often children with autism may remember word for word a movie they saw a year ago but may not be able to describe what happened to them that morning. It is imperative that we protect these vulnerable children by ensuring anyone who has access to them has had their background checked.

Currently, there is no state law requiring this. Some of the EIDBI providers do it voluntarily and some do not as it is only a recommendation. I understand it will cost around $42.00 for each applicant, but the health and safety of our children should be priceless. We all know about the Jensen case and I really hope Minnesota is proactive this time and protects the kids, rather than be reactive and wait until (God Forbid) something horrible happens.

As always, I thank you for your time and hope you will include requiring a background study in EIDBI.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom

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


Comments Off on Funding Broken Arm while Neglecting Bleeding Head in Minnesota Education System

Minnesota Senate Education Finance & Policy Committee

March 1st, 2021 @ 3pm

Chair: Sen. Chamberlain

Re: SF – 321       

Dear Mr. Chair and Members, many thanks for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Idil Abdull, I am an autism mom whose son was suspended by a union-protected teacher Kelly Morris and lobbyist-protected principal Jaysen Anderson.

First, I would like to state that MacPhail offers boundless opportunities for children including those with autism. My son received music therapy when he was younger. As you may know, America is known for its music and performing arts. I mean, who does not know Michael Jackson or Bruce Springsteen. This country has produced impeccable singers and artists without a doubt.

It pains me to oppose this bill that has a fiscal note of hundreds of thousands of dollars for this reason alone. Imagine two exact (in color, race, height, weight, etc.) males walk-in into an emergency room. One has a broken leg, and one has a bleeding head. The ER doctor is ethically, morally, and professionally obligated to tend to the patient with the bleeding head.

I think giving money to MacPhail is like treating the broken leg patient while neglecting the bleeding head patient which in this case is the suspension and education gap in Minnesota, where we are often told “unfunded mandate and no money”.

I respectfully as that we fund and make suspension and education gap a funded mandate with resources that hold teachers and administrators accountable. We can no longer keep funding the broken leg while the bleeding head is ignored.

As always, I thank you for your time and hope that my testimony at least made you think and prioritize what is important in Minnesota’s education system.

Re: SF 706

While I respect and admire Sen. Nelson’s work in both education and health, I must say I am disappointed in the sheer amount of money she is asking for this bill, while decreasing and eliminating suspensions and the education gap has been neglected.

We cannot keep saying no money again to the bleeding head while the broken leg keeps getting millions of dollars. This type of differential treatment is how we got this shameful and horrible discipline and education gap in the first place.

Again, thanks for your time and I hope we put kids first.

With gratitude,

Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom


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

Idil – Somali Autism Mom

Comments Off on 2020 – GoodBye and Good Riddance From Around the Globe

Alright – so, 2020 has been a bad-ass year for everyone in the whole world. No one could’ve imagined a pandemic that would rock all of us to our core in unimaginable ways. 2020 has been hard for all of us, but especially kids and adults with autism. Social communication and social skills are core deficits for individuals with autism. We (parents, caregivers, teachers, therapists, etc.) work hard teaching social skills and social communication to autistic individuals. Then with Carona, that was out the window, social distancing and masks became the norm.

Look me in the eye, say what I say, do what I do, give a hug, smile, touch blue, touch car, etc. and etc. were skills our kids needed and were taught. 2020 made all of these impossible. I remember it took months to teach my son to look people in the eye or give a hug. Now all of the sudden, we had to say no hugs, don’t get close and how do you even teach verbal imitation when your mouth is covered with a mask. How do you teach any skill to an autistic kid through a computer or online. It is impossible.

2020 has been specially difficult for autism families because it demanded the opposite of everything we worked so hard to achieve.

So, like a bad politician; I say to 2020 – goodbye and good riddance. May 2021 be a year full of happiness, health and prosperity for autistic children and their families.

Above words do not reflect any candidate, agency or committee

Idil – Somali Autism Mom