Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Lisa VanGetson APRN, DNP, FNP-C

Second Advisor

Susan Cutshall APRN, DNP, CNS

Third Advisor

Joyce P. Miller DNP, RN


Autism spectrum disorder has become more prevalent in recent years, especially in the Somali community in Minneapolis. Early detection, diagnosis and interventions are essential for children with this disorder. A recent study on the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder in Minneapolis, Minnesota reported that Somali children not only have the highest prevalence of this disorder among all races and ethnicity but also receive late diagnosis and interventions. A comprehensive literature review identified lack of awareness, cultural stigma, and difficulty to access services as barriers for early diagnosis and interventions for Somali children. The literature also supported the importance of early diagnosis and interventions for children with autism and the effects autism spectrum disorder diagnosis can have on the family. The purpose of this project is to increase awareness of autism in the Somali community which can lead to early diagnosis and intervention. In addition, this project aims to support Somali parents of children with autism through education, advocacy, and support. The theoretical framework for this project is Leininger’s Culture Care Theory because of its emphasis on culture and care. This project utilized participation-observation as methodology. Five Somali parents of children with autism living in Minneapolis, Minnesota participated in this project. The project outcomes identified unfamiliarity with autism, fear of cultural stigma, barriers to access services, acceptance, support and strong faith as themes. Finally, this project discusses the significance and implications to nursing and how the doctor in nursing practice-family nurse practitioner can educate, support and advocate for this population.


SC 11.DNP.2020.Ahmed.S