An outbreak of autism amongst refugees.

Parents
  • Another way to look at this is to ask are refugees more prone to autism or are autistic people more prone to being refugees? The data in these articles actually say prevalence found amongst Somali refugees is the same as amongst white population, so there doesn't seem to be an outbreak, apart from media hype.

    Is this NYT one of those alarmist sensationalist hysteria promoted by hate groups that parents should be 'terrified' of autism like of pestilence and pedalling all that sentiment in emotionally exhibitionist way, how much a 'tragedy' the existence of autistic people is for non autistic people.

    'Somali refugee community is terrified of autism'... this is redirecting anxiety and attention from real problems towards discrimination against autism, surely they have much more pressing and immediate things to be terrified of?

    There is not even evidence in the article that they are autistic. This is just PR for the cure lobby. They could lust have PTSD.

    The second article doesn't even mention autism, the prevalence of 'social' amongst learning problems in Table 5 is 0.6%...The conclusion from researchers focuses on trauma, discrimination, hardship etc. as main drivers. 

    The third article is not about autism science but about social science, specifically about 'theories of embodied health movements', whatever that is. It describes more of the diverting attention and focalizing problems on autism as 'a western disease' and attributing it to one particular autism theory from the scientists promoting the theories of gut bacteria ... it is the promotional infomercial material for gut bacteria cures. The article does not provide or quote any actual data, but just describes from the 'community' thinks about autism, which is :

    "Somalies in North America call autism the "Western disease" ... because many believe it does not exist in Somalia. In Toronto, Somali parents have forged an "epistemic community," united around a coherent theory of the development of autism, its defining features, and most successful therapies. They work together with researchers to support the theory that gut bacteria is a causal factor for the development of autism. They argue that it is the diet and medical environment in North America (including the use of preservatives, genetically-modified processing, and antibiotics in both health care and food production) that explains the high rates of autism within the Somali diaspora.'

    'The paper argues that race and nationality have been under explored in theories of embodied health movements. I argue that Somali parents' organizing pushes theories of health social movements in new directions, by suggesting that experiences of forced migration and racial exclusion, as well as non-Western cultural ontologies of health, are important for understanding embodied experiences of illness and the forging of "politicized collective illness identities" that challenge mainstream scientific understandings of autism."

    Do I get it right that it is suggested that 'the scientific understanding of autism' should be that autism is the thing to blame for forced migration, trauma, hardship, discrimination, social disadvantage and cultural differences?

    The last article discusses how rates of diagnosis vary across various communities, probably reflecting cultural attitudes (a 'curse') and differences in access to dx. It states :

    "Based on data from 2010, the department estimated that 1 in 32 Somali children in Minneapolis had autism. This number is not much different  than the estimated 1 in 36 white children with autism in the city." 

    So basically when you screen and diagnose a community properly, the prevalence is about the same in various ethnic groups and quite high - note 1 in 32-36, not 1 in 100. I've seen the number 1:35 in a study about New Jersey as well.

    Another thing the last article says it that autism in children could be linked to trauma and stress of migration in pregnant mothers.

    "..Dheeraj Rai, a psychiatrist at the University of Bristol in the U.K. “This makes us question whether it’s just ethnicity,” Rai says, “or if there’s a role for migration and, particularly, stressful migration.”

    The first and only large-scale attempt to dig into the link between migration and autism in the U.S. also implicates a role for maternal stress in autism. That 2014 study was based on data from more than 1.6 million children born in Los Angeles County between 1995 and 2006. It found that children born to women from current or former war zones might be particularly vulnerable to autism. "

Reply
  • Another way to look at this is to ask are refugees more prone to autism or are autistic people more prone to being refugees? The data in these articles actually say prevalence found amongst Somali refugees is the same as amongst white population, so there doesn't seem to be an outbreak, apart from media hype.

    Is this NYT one of those alarmist sensationalist hysteria promoted by hate groups that parents should be 'terrified' of autism like of pestilence and pedalling all that sentiment in emotionally exhibitionist way, how much a 'tragedy' the existence of autistic people is for non autistic people.

    'Somali refugee community is terrified of autism'... this is redirecting anxiety and attention from real problems towards discrimination against autism, surely they have much more pressing and immediate things to be terrified of?

    There is not even evidence in the article that they are autistic. This is just PR for the cure lobby. They could lust have PTSD.

    The second article doesn't even mention autism, the prevalence of 'social' amongst learning problems in Table 5 is 0.6%...The conclusion from researchers focuses on trauma, discrimination, hardship etc. as main drivers. 

    The third article is not about autism science but about social science, specifically about 'theories of embodied health movements', whatever that is. It describes more of the diverting attention and focalizing problems on autism as 'a western disease' and attributing it to one particular autism theory from the scientists promoting the theories of gut bacteria ... it is the promotional infomercial material for gut bacteria cures. The article does not provide or quote any actual data, but just describes from the 'community' thinks about autism, which is :

    "Somalies in North America call autism the "Western disease" ... because many believe it does not exist in Somalia. In Toronto, Somali parents have forged an "epistemic community," united around a coherent theory of the development of autism, its defining features, and most successful therapies. They work together with researchers to support the theory that gut bacteria is a causal factor for the development of autism. They argue that it is the diet and medical environment in North America (including the use of preservatives, genetically-modified processing, and antibiotics in both health care and food production) that explains the high rates of autism within the Somali diaspora.'

    'The paper argues that race and nationality have been under explored in theories of embodied health movements. I argue that Somali parents' organizing pushes theories of health social movements in new directions, by suggesting that experiences of forced migration and racial exclusion, as well as non-Western cultural ontologies of health, are important for understanding embodied experiences of illness and the forging of "politicized collective illness identities" that challenge mainstream scientific understandings of autism."

    Do I get it right that it is suggested that 'the scientific understanding of autism' should be that autism is the thing to blame for forced migration, trauma, hardship, discrimination, social disadvantage and cultural differences?

    The last article discusses how rates of diagnosis vary across various communities, probably reflecting cultural attitudes (a 'curse') and differences in access to dx. It states :

    "Based on data from 2010, the department estimated that 1 in 32 Somali children in Minneapolis had autism. This number is not much different  than the estimated 1 in 36 white children with autism in the city." 

    So basically when you screen and diagnose a community properly, the prevalence is about the same in various ethnic groups and quite high - note 1 in 32-36, not 1 in 100. I've seen the number 1:35 in a study about New Jersey as well.

    Another thing the last article says it that autism in children could be linked to trauma and stress of migration in pregnant mothers.

    "..Dheeraj Rai, a psychiatrist at the University of Bristol in the U.K. “This makes us question whether it’s just ethnicity,” Rai says, “or if there’s a role for migration and, particularly, stressful migration.”

    The first and only large-scale attempt to dig into the link between migration and autism in the U.S. also implicates a role for maternal stress in autism. That 2014 study was based on data from more than 1.6 million children born in Los Angeles County between 1995 and 2006. It found that children born to women from current or former war zones might be particularly vulnerable to autism. "

Children