New Project Findings--Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Somali and Non-Somali Children in Minneapolis

December 16, 2013

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The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, Autism Speaks, supported the University of Minnesota through a cooperative agreement with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities to conduct the largest project to date looking at the number and characteristics of Somali children with autism spectrum disorder in any U.S. community. Today, the University of Minnesota released key findings from this project:

Based on children who were 7-9 years old and living in Minneapolis in 2010:

  • About 1 in 32 Somali children in Minneapolis was identified as having autism spectrum disorder. This estimate of the number of Somali children with autism spectrum disorder is about the same as White children but higher than Black and Hispanic children in Minneapolis.
  • Somali children with autism spectrum disorder were more likely to have intellectual disability than children with autism spectrum disorder in all other racial and ethnic groups in Minneapolis.  
  • The average age of first autism spectrum disorder diagnosis among Somali children was the same as White, Black, and Hispanic children---about 5 years old. This means that many children in Minneapolis are not being diagnosed as early as they could be.

Visit to read a summary of the key findings from this project.

Visit for to access the UMN Press Release.

To learn more about the Minneapolis Autism Spectrum Disorder Somali Prevalence Project and to access project resources, including materials in Somali, please visit