The Minnesota-Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (MN-ADDM) is part of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, a group of programs funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to estimate the number of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities living in different areas of the United States. MN-ADDM monitors the prevalence of ASD and intellectual disability in parts of Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

The ADDM Network provides comparable, population-based estimates of ASD and other developmental disabilities across sites over time. The combined data from the various ADDM sites can help inform us about:

  • characteristics of children with ASD,
  • whether ASD is more common in some groups of children than others and if those differences are changing over time, and
  • the impact of ASD and related conditions upon children, families, and communities in the United States.

Goals of MN-ADDM

  • Estimate the prevalence of 8-year-olds with ASD and 8-year-olds with intellectual disabilities in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, and identify other characteristics of those children, such as ethnicity and co-occurring conditions.
  • Identify disparities in prevalence, characteristics and age of diagnosis across demographic groups, including two large racial/ethnic groups unique to the area – Somali and Hmong children.
  • Share findings of the project data to improve services for children with ASD and intellectual disabilities in their communities.

This project builds on earlier ICI work that estimated the prevalence of ASD among Somali and non-Somali children in Minneapolis, which was the largest project to date to look at the number and characteristics of Somali children with ASD in any U.S. community. The findings of that project, published in 2014, showed notable differences in the prevalence of co-occurring intellectual disability with ASD between children from different ethnic groups. This new project looks more closely at some of those differences among children in the broader two county area.

What else does MN-ADDM do besides tracking ASD among 8-year-olds?

MN-ADDM collaborates with a wide variety of community ASD organizations and several Minnesota state agencies including the Minnesota Departments of Education (MDE), Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), and Minnesota Department of Health. MN-ADDM uses an active community advisory board consisting of parents/family members, advocates, researchers, service providers, administrators, faith leaders, educators, clinicians, and community organizers to inform, guide and support the work of MN-ADDM.

MN-ADDM project engages awareness, educational and outreach activities through a variety of platforms including local and national conferences, community sponsored events, television, and online webinars. 

MN-ADDM partnered with the CDC funded "Learn the Signs. Act Early" (LTSAE) project and Help Me Grow MN to conduct outreach and educational activities on early developmental screening and early identification in under-identified communities such as Latino, Hmong, and Somali communities. MN-ADDM together with MN Act Early has translated and customized ASD and LTSAE outreach materials and resources for our local diverse communities. 

A short film series was developed in partnership with MN Department of Human Services to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for local diverse communities (e.g. Somali, Hispanic, Hmong, African American, and American Indian). They are designed to help families access evaluation resources, early intervention services, and ASD supports.