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Parents United Against Autism Appeal: The Somali MN Autism Epidemic

Abdilmalik and dad Managing Editor's Note: We are pleased to welcome Abdulkadir Khalif as our newest Contributing Editor.

By: Abdulkadir Khalif

On the last day of March 2009, the Minnesota Department of Health finally produced a report on the prevalence of autism in the Somali immigrant population of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was obvious from the numbers that the issue of prevalence has finally been settled, and that there definitely is a cluster of autism in Minneapolis. The MDH arrived at these conclusions not from their own investigations but from that of the MN department of Education. These are the very numbers that the MDH initially doubted and which the CDC poured cold water on towards the end of last year. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank the MN Department of Education for leading the way in the fight against autism in Minneapolis and for showing, on their own, that they (the teachers) know better than the healthcare professionals that autism has a cluster in Minneapolis, especially amongst the people of Somali ethnic group. I hope that the MDH together with the CDC will now come down from the ivory tower and start planning on how to confront this epidemic.
Abdilmalik smiling (This is Abdimalik Khalif.)

What do the numbers say? The numbers say that for the 3-4 year age groups alone, the Somali kids are 7 times as likely to seek special education services for autism as compared with the other populations. However the MDH still insists that those numbers alone will not determine the issue of prevalence. In the absence of anything else to show the contrary how can they say that the issue of prevalence has not yet been settled? To make matters worse, the MDH is not coming up with plans to confront the epidemic except to say that they will carry out more investigations. If they doubt the numbers given by the schools, why didn’t they come up with one of their own after six months of promises? I suppose they know that their numbers will show even bigger numbers and they were scared of that. Let me say here and now that the largest number of Somali kids with autism are those older than 4 years of age. Many of those kids are in grade special education classes and are out of range of early diagnoses. Many of them do not speak yet and are not even getting adequate services beyond what little the schools offer them. The medical establishment is absent from their therapies and medication. The families are desperate and poor. Many of them are single parents who have been abandoned by their spouses because of the stresses that come with sometimes raising several autistic kids under one roof.

Because of the publicity that this issue is getting, Somali immigrant communities in Sweden, Canada and other parts of the United States are becoming more aware of the prevalence of autism within their own communities. Suffice to say that those countries have a lot in common with the USA and especially Minnesota (climate, healthcare etc.). Is not then fair to say that there are several clusters of autism affecting people of one genetic make-up in the northern hemisphere? Can’t that fact alone excite scientists and governments into thinking that the world may finally be zooming in to the cause and cures of autism? There is no autism in Somalia but autism is ravaging Somali immigrants in the northern hemisphere. What are the differences in lifestyles, foods, medicines etc between Somalia and the northern hemispheric countries where Somalis have settled? I would hope that the answer to this question is the opportunity that we have all been waiting for to answer the autism puzzle. Many months ago, and in my last piece on this site I stated that we might be approaching the solution to this problem, if only we shall accept that there are clusters and that we are prepared to think outside the box. Having said that, I wish to move on to something else.

The Somali immigrant families are now aware that autism is not an isolated case for individual families. It is not a curse that has befallen their particular families. It is not a strange disease that brings stigma to them and that they can share information with their neighbors and relatives about seeking ways and means of helping their children. But they know something else. The MDH has no answers for them, nor do their doctors and politicians. Their insurance will not cover other therapies that they may need. Their children will not recover on their own and their condition could be a lifelong handicap. Yesterday’s report did not give them anything to look forward to-only to expect bigger numbers in the future. The government has no plans at all on how to deal with this epidemic. The few resources in the state are overwhelmed and the waiting list is several years long. There are no adequately trained personnel, nor is there adequate funding. Actually there are talks of cut-backs on certain social programs. They are on their own and they are least prepared for this. We are looking for ideas and help from the general public and friendly organizations and sympathetic individuals everywhere. Our Parents Organization (Parents United Against Autism) is launching an appeal for help for these families. The kinds of help we need are:

• Doctors with experience in autism therapies who could volunteer their time

• Laboratories who could help with testing and analysis as their contribution to the cause

• Individuals and corporations who could help with medicines and other appropriate tools and equipment as a show of solidarity with the stricken families

• Any other appropriate help for the families.

We at PAA would be more than happy to help with establishing contacts with the families and facilitating any and all needs by all sides.

Please help us in this worthy cause. Thanking you in advance.

Abdulkadir Khalif
Khalif8888@hotmail.com   


    

Comments

Randy C

Poor detoxification of mecury --- just one sign -- there are other signs, improvement with antibioitcs eg minocycline. Minocycline with transient improvement means environmental cause has not been removed.
If CDC NIH are hiding anything it is what they know about chronic environmental infections --- tried and tested by DoD
Brucella coxiella, rickettsia, bartonella, legionella, babesia --- all intracelluar infections --- there may be more than one bacterial answer

After 9/11 events --- can we look for the things they wanted to use on humans back in the cold war era -- thats the dirty secret ---bacterial agents that cause
neurocognative dysfunction. Bartonella one real example --- you move into the wrong apartment and your whole family can go through hell. Just like the family before.

Fawzia Abdulkadir

Baba, I read all your columns and I am very proud of what you are doing for Abdulmalik and also how you are the front person in advocating for the somali families with autistic kids. As someone who is planning on studying Psychology, I hope one day I can join force with you and also help families that are affected by autism. I love you.

Beta

It is the same in the UK, look up Camelford e.g. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/poisoned-the-camelford-scandal-474373.html

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS was made-up in 1988 to cover up an epidemic of a neurological disease called ME, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
Read this article, and then read all the comments.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126997.000-mind-over-body.html?full=true

UK psychiatrists recommend that patients are given no medical tests, as doing so would merely encourage their delusion that they are ill. But if you do the right tests, you get a lot of the same results for CFS as you do for autism.

Aisha

I thank you for being a voice for our community. As a Somalian and a parent of two, I follow the autism crisis very closely, I believe that Somalis all over the States are being affected by this horrible disease, but little is known or no one is doing something about it. I live in WA State where we are seeing many cases of autistic children. I know of families that are dealing with it as we speak including two of my family members. Of all the issues we face living in the US; this is by far the hardest challenge yet. Many of the parents with autistic children face limitations because of the language berries and many don't understand the complexity of the disease and don’t know how to deal with it.

I applaud your work Abdikadir, and we need many people like you around the States including my State to bring about awareness (through community outreach and education) of this terrible disease and stop it from spreading further.
Salam

Adriana

Abdulkadir,

Your son is beautiful and it seems that your family is doing remarkable things for him in spite of all the obstacles. You and the effected families in Minnesota have the admiration and support of the vaccine injury community. You're a truly great communicator and it's too bad that the conflicted medical authorities in Minnesota don't recognize what an extraordinary health advocate is among them. They will soon enough, whether they like it or not.

Jake Crosby

And the NDs say there is no real autism epidemic and that the growth in diagnoses is due to "better awareness," ridiculous, as if the Somalis who've immigrated here have suddenly become so much more "aware" of autism than those back in Somalia. Thank you, Mr. Khalif. Your article is a severe blow to neurodiversity and anyone else who denies this epidemic.

Becky Estepp

God Bless you, Mr. Khalif and please keep writing.

jen

Mr. Khalif, I wish your community the very best in dealing with this tragedy. I know that your advocacy and your connecting with other autism groups (such as autism speaks) will help you to this end. At least MN education sounds like they are helping with your fight for recognition and services. Shame on the MN dept. of health and the CDC. You all are in my th0ghts and prayers.

Look out for yourselves

"The government has no plans at all on how to deal with this epidemic. The few resources in the state are overwhelmed and the waiting list is several years long."

It might help everyone if, in addition to treatment, there is first prevention of autism in the first place.

Given that the bio-med autism community knows that its the vaccines that trigger autism, you may want to first save future kids by refusing to have them vaccinated in the first place. There are no resources to help you along if you do indeed get autism.

See if non vaccination of both parents and their kids helps prevent the autism. For the kids that already do have the autism, treat their multiple infections. That's what we are finding in treating our kids - dirty vaccines injected into susceptible immune systems are the culprit. Some examples of the infections - measles, diptheria, strep, mycoplasma, coxsackie, chlamydia pneumoniae, tetanus, rubella, mumps, babesia, bartonella (google ADHD Schaller Florida, apparently the CDC said it was looking into it), ehrlichia. And so on.

There's no mystery to autism, you find out what it is when you begin to treat it and when you share with other parents what you find. You don't need to spend millions of dollars looking for a cause "out there" when you can find it by examining the kids on the autism spectrum. But the high and mighty CDC does NOT look at kids on the autism spectrum. Why not? Because it does not want to, and it never will.

Therefore you need to do what you can to look out for yourselves. No matter how many meetings are held, do not expect an answer from them - it will NEVER come. You need to stop looking for answers from them. You can do this by yourselves alongwith other parents treating autism. Advocate for yourselves. Believe me, its the only way.

nhokkanen

Thank you, Abdulkadir, for gracing these pages with your wise words.

Abdimalik is a such a cute boy! His beautiful smile shows how much his loving father has helped him.

Hopefully you can establish connections within the University of Minnesota or the Minnesota Medical Association.

Working together, we individuals can accomplish great things. Yesterday I received an e-mail from Spain that ended with this signature: "Muchos pocos hacen un mucho." The words are neither Somali nor English, but their meaning is universal.

Anne Dachel

As an American, I'm ashamed reading the account of the unconscionable treatment of the Somalis dealing with autism. I can only say that we share the same situation. The actions of the MDH in dealing with the autism crisis among the Somalis mirrors the way the CDC has treated the autism community for years. Both the CDC and the MDH adamantly refuse to admit that there's been any actual increase in autism. As long as there's no increase, there's no problem. No matter how many Somali children have autism, it's nothing to be alarmed about. If officials recognized that there was a real explosion in autism, they'd have to find the environmental cause, and there are just too many parents ready to point to vaccines.

This is why the CDC lamely lies about "better diagnosing" by doctors and "greater awareness" when they're asked about the epidemic number of kids everywhere with autism. No matter how bad the numbers, they're never anything to worry about. This is the reason why the agency that gets billions of dollars to run health care in the U.S. uses outdated numbers from looking at eight year olds in 2000 and 2002 to come up with the official autism rate of one in 150. The real numbers are so much worse that they refuse to look.

We share the same degrading treatment from health officials. I know that's little comfort, but I can say that the truth will come out--soon. The autism generation is aging fast. For the first time in history, the U.S. will be left to deal with hundreds of thousands of young adults with autism. They will be everywhere. They will each cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and as far as I can see, no one seem aware they're even coming.

When that happens, the lies will be exposed. Plenty of parents will be there telling about what vaccines did to their children. I can't imagine what this will mean for the medical community and for federal health agencies. Everyone will demand to know why officials covered this disaster up and lied to the American people. In the end it will destroy any trust left in doctors or health officials.

Anne Dachel
Media editor

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