City of Minneapolis declares April “Autism Awareness Month”

The Minneapolis City Council declared the month of April as “Autism Awareness Month,” issuing a resolution on behalf of Mayor Betsy Hodges and all 13 council members. The designation was made by the City to better inform the public about the nature of autism, to encourage early diagnosis and treatment, and to celebrate the unique talents of individuals – including children – living with autism.

While autism and disorders on the autism spectrum reflect a wide range of disabilities and symptoms affecting more than 1 million Americans, the issue is particularly vexing for Minnesota’s East African community. According to a recent University of Minnesota study, one out of every 32 Americans of Somali descent born in the Twin Cities have autism. The diagnosis of an autistic child is often challenging for parents, especially if they are unsure of how to connect with community and health provider resources.

The City of Minneapolis is partnering with the Somali Parents Autism Network on public information efforts about autism. The nonprofit “boots on the ground” autism organization works to empower Somali families of children with autism in Minnesota through outreach and education, for the purposes of dispelling myths surrounding autism and connecting parents with the resources and services they need for their children.

Parents looking for resources should visit www.spanmn.org.

Published Apr 15, 2016