Megan Roberts, a professor in communication sciences and disorders at Northwestern. (Credit: Medill)

With $3 million in federal funding, researchers are studying how to expand the types of professionals who can issue a diagnosis. Currently in Illinois, only physicians and clinical psychologists can do so.

Elvis Sanchez works in a produce farm program through Urban Autism Solutions. (WTTW News)

Urban Autism Solutions, an organization on the West Side, is working to empower young adults on the autism spectrum to learn life skills. The 1.2- acre produce farm is a hands-on program teaching young adults the basics of farming with a goal of enhancing their social and vocational skills.

Founder Liza Curiel says there is a place for everyone to contribute in the Unique Sweets kitchen. (WTTW News)

According to a Drexel University study, 42% of young adults with autism never worked for pay in their 20s. We meet a Chicago woman has cooked up a way for those young adults to develop crucial social and work skills while contributing their own unique flavors to the business.

A screenshot from a Red Kite Camp meeting via Zoom. (Courtesy Chicago Children’s Theatre)

Described as a unique learning experience with theater as the focal point, The Red Kite Project specifically works with children on the autism spectrum.

(Don Harder / Flickr)

A school district in northwestern Indiana has issued an apology after a special needs teacher awarded an 11-year-old autistic student a trophy naming him the “most annoying male” of the school year.

We visit a local nonprofit that offers free scuba training to adults and children with special needs.

Tommy Shimoda (Courtesy of Special Olympics Chicago)

Tommy Shimoda, 24, won gold and bronze medals in speed skating at the Special Olympics World Winter Games this year in Austria. This week, he was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame, becoming the first Special Olympics athlete to receive the honor. 

A still image from the documentary “Life, Animated.”

Cornelia Suskind tell us about her son Owen, the subject of a new documentary film.

Pediatric occupational therapist and author Stacey Glorioso wants to teach children how to become dragon slayers. In her book, “Joshua’s Dragon,” the story’s namesake character leads the way and shows how he defeats his dragon—overcoming his fear of loud noises.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated one in 68 American children has Autism Spectrum Disorder. A new book tells the story of some of those parents as it takes a look back at autism’s dark history of institutionalization, questionable therapies and plain bad science. 


A new drug shows promise in the treatment of social withdrawal for people with Fragile X syndrome, and potentially for autism patients.

Autism rates have dramatically increased over the past 10 years. Why the jump? And why are boys more susceptible to autism? We take a look.

One man's diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome actually improved his marriage -- and he wrote a book all about it. He joins us.