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On Demand

The Western Disease: Autism in the Somali Community

You may earn this many credits: 1.0

Yasmine Moideen, Ph.D., LP |  Andrew Fink, Psy.D., LP
1.0 Hour
Audio and Video


Note: If you attended this session live (April 8, 2021 Virtual Conference) and received credit, you cannot attend the on demand session for additional credit.

There is no word for Autism in Somalia. In the US, Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community, with the majority residing in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In 2008, the Minnesota Department of Health initiated a study to explore the prevalence of Autism in the Somali community. This study was initiated following the concerns expressed by the community about the numbers of preschool children in the Minneapolis Public Schools classified with ASD. Data released in 2013 indicated no statistically significant difference between ASD in the Somali community in MN and Caucasian community in MN. Nonetheless, the Somali community continues to have concerns about high levels of ASD in their community, stating that it did not exist in their community prior to arrival in the US. Given the aforementioned concerns, it is important to examine the cultural limitations to assessment and treatment for the purposes of better serving our clients in the Somali community.

This session is at the intermediate level and is designed for psychologists and other mental health professionals.


  1. Describe prevalence data of Autism in the Somali population in MN and other parts of the world.
  2. Explain how the Somali community may view and describe Autism.
  3. Describe cultural challenges and limitations in the assessment and treatment of Autism in the Somali population.

This session qualifies for 1 continuing education credit. You must attend the full program to receive continuing education credit.

The Minnesota Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Minnesota Psychological Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


Yasmine Moideen, Ph.D., LP's Profile

Yasmine Moideen, Ph.D., LP Related seminars and products

My specialty is in child psychology. I am a developmental psychology nerd, with a goal to understand the ever-changing brain at each stage of life and what this means for behavior and emotional difficulties. A child psychologist needs to have patience, insight, and the ability to intuit underlying fears and distress, because children are not always able to voice these concerns. In this way, a psychologist is a translator of the inner world of the child, someone who can create a bridge to a less chaotic and more joyful home life, school life, and social life. A particular area of interest is helping parents navigate the confusing and, sometimes, stormy world of parenting. I love getting to the bottom of meltdowns, anxiety, irritability, and hurdles in learning. I also love working with adults in individual therapy. The type of therapy I offer includes delving into one's history for the sake of gaining a better sense of self, to find more joy and meaning in your relationships and work. In my work with clients, I am usually described as warm, funny, pragmatic, and solution focused. 

My treatment approaches include cognitive behavioral therapy (assessing and changing environmental triggers and thoughts contributing to a problem), play therapy (using play as a medium for therapy), and family systems therapy (assessing and changing family dynamics). Another area of expertise is psychological testing with children and adolescents in order to assess for ADHD, autism, learning difficulties, and other referral concerns. 

My family consists of my husband, college age twins (boy/girl), and our anxious cat who keeps us on our feet. I was born in India and grew up in Queens, NY and consider myself a midwestern girl at heart. I am a foodie who loves hole in the wall eateries and a warm bowl of ramen filled with perfectly cooked noodles and an underpoached egg. When I am not pretending to be a food critic, you can find me on the tennis court working on perfecting my topspin or hiking through densely forested, unpaved trails. 

The speaker has indicated they do not have any conflicts of interest.

Andrew Fink, Psy.D., LP's Profile

Andrew Fink, Psy.D., LP Related seminars and products

Andrew Fink, Psy.D., LP, Director of Psychological Services, works at the Minnesota Autism Center–in Minnetonka, Minnesota. As a BBHT approved clinical supervisor, he specializes in conducting evaluations to include competency in the ADOS-2, diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Developmental Disorder, and an array of co-morbid disorders; implementing trainings to various Minnesota Autism Center site supervisors on the ADOS-2, co-leading and implementing newly acquired electronic health record information systems, training new clinicians, and supervising assessment practicum students and licensed eligible individuals as well.

The speaker has indicated they do not have any conflicts of interest.