Phenotypic Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Diverse Sample of Somali and Other Children

Original Paper


The potential for culture to impact diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is high, yet remains largely unstudied. This study examined differences across racial/ethnic groups in ASD symptoms, cognitive and adaptive skills, and related behaviors in children with ASD that included a unique subgroup, children from the Somali diaspora. Somali children were more likely to have ASD with intellectual disability than children from all other racial/ethnic groups. Few differences were found in the presence of specific symptoms and behaviors across groups once IQ was controlled. Results lend support to previous studies that found higher rates of ASD intellectual disability in children of immigrants from low human resource index countries compared to other groups. Implications for future research are discussed.


Autism spectrum disorder Intellectual disability Phenotype Racial-ethnic 

Supplementary material

10803_2017_3232_MOESM1_ESM.docx (61 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 61 KB)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy N. Esler
    • 1
  • Jennifer Hall-Lande
    • 2
  • Amy Hewitt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Institute on Community IntegrationUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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