Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevalence in Immigrant Communities in Minnesota

Poster Presentation
Saturday, May 12, 2018: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
J. Poynter1, E. Hallas-Muchow2, J. A. Hall-Lande3, A. N. Esler2, A. Gulaid2 and A. Hewitt4, (1)Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, (2)University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, (3)UCEDD, University of MN, Minneapolis, MN, (4)U of MN, Minneapolis, MN

Children of immigrants may have higher rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Crafa and Warfa 2015). This appears to be especially pronounced in children from countries with a low human resource index (Barnevik-Olsson et al. 2008; Keen et al. 2010; Magnusson et al. 2012). In our previous ASD surveillance project in Minneapolis, we compared prevalence of autism in Somali children and children from other racial/ethnic groups ages 7-9 years. We found that Somali and white children had a similar prevalence of ASD, which was higher than that of non-Somali black and Hispanic children (Hewitt et al. 2016). Notably, Somali children with ASD were far more likely to have co-occurring intellectual disability (ID) than children with ASD in other racial/ethnic groups.


In this analysis, we will compare ASD prevalence in 8 year olds across racial/ethnic groups using data from the Minnesota site of the CDC Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, with a particular focus on two large racial/ethnic groups in MN: Somali and Hmong. Minnesota is home to the largest population of Somali immigrants, with an estimated 57,000 Somalis, and the second largest population of Hmong, more than 66,000 (American Community Survey 2015). We will also compare the co-occurrence of ID in children with ASD across racial and ethnic groups.


Prevalence calculations will utilize standardized ADDM methods (Christensen et al. 2016; Hewitt et al. 2016) involving systematic record review of health and special education records of 8 year old children within our defined surveillance area. The area includes four school districts in two large urban counties in MN. Population denominators will be obtained from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics vintage 2016 postcensal bridged-race population estimates for 2014 and adjusted to include only children living in the surveillance area. A child is classified as Somali or Hmong based on reported home language in education and health records.


Prevalence estimates will be compared across racial/ethnic groups assuming a Poisson distribution. Chi squared and Fisher’s exact tests will be used to identify differences between populations. We will also compare rates of ASD for children in MN with overall U.S. prevalence reported by the CDC. Finally, we will compare the prevalence of co-occurring ID in children with ASD to compare with previous findings.


Because ASD early identification can improve outcomes, identifying subgroups of children with a higher prevalence or more severe forms of ASD can help inform public health policy and improve outcomes for individuals with ASD and their families. Differences in prevalence by racial/ethnic group may suggest that culturally sensitive methods for outreach and diagnosis are warranted.

See more of: Epidemiology
See more of: Epidemiology