There is no word for “autism” in the Somali language. And yet as many as 1 in 32 Somali children in Minneapolis have been identified with autism.
Recognizing the need, St. David’s Center
for Child & Family Development decided to open an autism day treatment program
in Northeast Minneapolis. There, St. David's is partnering with Somali staff and a Somali day care to help Somali children with autism ages 3 to 4.
The new program, a replica of the existing ADT program at St. David's Minnetonka location, works with children for four hours a day. It uses a mental health approach in a small-group, natural setting to help children improve communication, social interaction, and family support. Treatment plans are customized for each child and subject to parental approval.
The Somali Autism Day Treatment program is accepting enrollment applications now for a four-hour morning program, supported by home visits, for Somali children ages 3 to 4. You can find out more by contacting St. David’s at 952-548-8700.
KFAI’s Sharon Chen spoke with program consultant Mariam Mohamed and St. David’s Senior Director of Autism Services, Beth Fagin.