This is the first time Minnesota has been a part of the ADDM network, and we are working on expanding our geographic area. The findings in this report reflect a small number of children concentrated in a large metropolitan area. The higher prevalence estimate compared to national estimates is not unanticipated for a large metropolitan area.
In Minnesota, there are differences between the percentage of boys and girls identified, with more boys than girls. This is consistent with previous estimates.
In Minnesota, we identify autism much later than when first concerns are reported. Although 73% of children had developmental concerns documented in their records before age 3, the average age of the first diagnosis was 4 years and 9 months. This lag is concerning due to what we know about the importance of early intervention.
We found varying prevalence rates across racial and ethnic groups in Minnesota. The small number of children in some of these groups makes it difficult to determine whether the rates of children with autism truly are different across groups. Additionally, the confidence intervals around the prevalence estimates are large, and this tells us we should use extreme caution before drawing conclusions about any differences between groups. As the geographic area for MN-ADDM grows and includes more children, we will be better able to judge whether there are true differences in prevalence estimates. If differences are found, it will be important to focus on general health disparities that may influence these differences.
We found that of the children who had IQ information in their records, 28% of children overall had an intellectual disability. When we looked at ethnic groups, we found that 43% of Somali children with autism and 18% of Hmong children with autism also had an intellectual disability. The sample sizes were too small to be able to tell whether this difference was real or whether it occurred by random chance.
While the percentages appear different, there was no significant difference (using a p-value < .01) in presence of intellectual disability in Somali children when compared with non-Somali children with autism.
This website is part of the and EARLY INTERVENTION + ASD program area