PANDAS or autism being targeted as specific groups.
1. an outbreak of autism symptoms almongst refugees.
2. Autism seems to cluster in Somalian refugee groups
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. "
I think ultimately we have to just get on with it. Autistic or not we have a responsibility to look after each other. Morally and actually in the law. And if anyone if finding that difficult because of any protected characteristic, then I would rather not be your friend.
What does it matter is if racial profiling helps or not? There will be another paper to prove or disprove it. Like the one in the UK which says.
"Background In March 2009, researchers in the department of health in Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA reported that the number of Somali children, aged 3 to 4 years, who participated in the ASD special educational programs was significantly higher than for children from other ethnic backgrounds.
A study from Sweden in 2008 estimated the prevalence of autism among Somali children in Stockholm County to be 3-4 times higher than children of other ethnic origin.
In our Borough; Somali families observed higher occurrence of ASD in their children and also relatives living in other countries."
"Conclusion The analysis shows a higher prevalence of autism in Somali, Black African and Black Caribbean children which is at least twice the prevalence in all other ethnic groups in our borough. This supports what has previously been reported by other authorities."
And like good scientists we know that this evidence does not always correlate with other places, except in this case above.
What this information helps with is the diagnosis. And some racist opinions. It also helps more children not face being told that their behaviour is unacceptable/bad/"or because they are black." And for parents who are turned away when they present their child for diagnosis and are told it's a parenting issue, neglect or abuse.
The same work is also being done for women, who are being told they are mentally unwell.
We need to correct for attributes for diagnosis, sometimes it's not done.
You are absolutely right, we need to look after each-other humanely and based on the human rights and equality laws of the land, and indeed based on international law captured in UN conventions about rights of people. I am absolutely with you on this and didn't mean in any way to dismiss the particular challenges of minority communities. Indeed I should have clarified it.
Of course all people need access to diagnosis and to help that is tailored and helpful to them and minority ethnic communities ought to be facing unnecessary additional barriers. So it is great that you are bringing this to our attention here.
There are so many unanswered questions in autism research and prevalence amongst ethic groups is one of them. Given the genetic nature, it is quite possible that some ethnic groups might have higher prevalence. It is known for example that Jewish people of certain ancestry, and indeed certain sub Saharan African groups have a particularly high risk of particular cancers [not meaning to say other people and other cancers don't matter obviously].
All this being said, the point in the last article in OP was that it is not necessarily genetic differences, but differences in access to services and diagnosis, where social disadvantage, racism and cultural barriers could play a role, as well as the social and cultural construct of autism - it is diagnosed based on observations about behavioural differences from the ,norm'. But the 'norm' for a group of people who undergone a traumatic experience of fleeing war and prosecution and are in the circumstances of being refugees or asylum seekers, being disadvantaged in society could be presenting quite differently and could reflect many other factors including PTSD. So essentially this need more research.
What is factually important though is that research demonstrated that in US states where autism screening and diagnosis is highly developed, e.g. Minnesota and New Jersey, the recorder prevalence amongst Somalis and white population is about the same, which might mean many things, as more research is needed, but factually it does show that the prevalence is about the same and is around 1 in 33, so that would be about 3% of the population. This is higher than the prevalence assumed in UK for example. So it could mean that 1) real prevalence in all humans is as high as 3% ,and 2) the differences in diagnosis between the ethnic groups reflect the under-diagnosis, not the real genetic differences, pending specific research.
Autistic traits do tend (at least in my personal experience) to be more prevalent under stress.
Wow. You should do this for a living.
Refugees would be under a lot of stress. You see the objectively you look at it. The more you can infer reasonable debate. It's not a race thing it's a stress thing. Very good point.