Heretofore it was assumed that Somali kids in the Minneapolis area had a higher rate of autism then white kids, but this new study says the difference is slight. Our earlier postings all focused on Somali community activists blaming America for autism that they claim they never had in Africa—like the whole vaccination controversy that has been pretty much debunked in scientific circles. Some families reportedly went back to Africa in disgust.
My unscientific earlier guess centered on the lack of Vitamin D Somali mothers (covered from head to toe in a northern climate) likely received during pregnancy, but these statistics don’t fit that theory well as American blacks do not have the same levels of autism as the Somalis or the white people in the study.
My other theory, also just a guess! is based on the possible genetic affects of in-breeding in polygamous families. Here are all of our previous posts on Somalis and autism.
So why, according to the new study, is it hitting Somali kids harder (not that there are significantly more cases!)—-the Somali kids’ IQs are lower and so the condition manifests itself more starkly than those with higher IQs. This of course raises the question, not answered here: what is the average IQ of the Somali population as a whole compared to the white population? Uh oh!
From the Star Tribune (emphasis mine):
Autism might not be any more prevalent among Somali-heritage children in Minneapolis than it is among white children in the city, but the severity of the developmental disorder appears harsher in this minority group.
In a much-anticipated report released Monday, University of Minnesota researchers found statistically similar rates of autism symptoms among 7- to 9-year-olds in Minneapolis, regardless of whether they were Somali or white. But all of the Somali-heritage children with autism also had related intellectual disorders — defined as scoring 70 or less on IQ tests — compared with a third of autistic children in the study overall.
“Somali children are much more likely to also have an intellectual disability, which means their symptoms, their characteristics, the ways in which autism presents itself in these children are very different,” said Amy Hewitt, the lead author of the study and a senior research associate in the university’s Institute on Community Integration.
Concerns about the prevalence of autism among Somali children surfaced among parents in 2008, and were validated in 2009 when a report from the Minnesota Department of Health found that Somali preschoolers were two to seven times more likely to receive autism services from the Minneapolis public school system.
The U study, released Monday, was an outgrowth of that Health Department report, and is the largest examination ever in the United States of autism prevalence among Somali immigrants’ children.
Rather than counting the number of children signed up for autism services, or even who have received a diagnosis of the developmental disorder, the researchers examined medical records from thousands of participating families and evaluated whether children met the medical criteria for autism — regardless of whether it had been diagnosed.
The net result was that one in 32 Somali children in the study met the diagnostic criteria for autism, compared with one in 36 white children. The rates were notably lower at one in 62 for non-Somali black children in Minneapolis, and one in 80 for Hispanic children. The rates for the Somali and white children were higher than national averages as well.
There is much more, read it all.
It is a good thing we have Obamacare now to pay for all this on-going medical treatment for refugees!
Photo is from this story, one of many, where Somalis were demanding answers about why their kids were afflicted with autism at a higher rate (or so they thought) than white American kids.