Easy Answers Elude Autism Researchers

Story by Michelle Alimoradi

The different behaviors that we call “Autism” present a confounding puzzle that doctors, scientists and families are desperate to solve. Children who are delayed in learning to speak and those who don’t make eye contact and are socially withdrawn might be diagnosed with autism, or not. There are many ways autism is expressed.

At Minnesota’s largest autism conference, the Autism Society of Minnesota has brought together experts and scientists from around the country for the event, which is also open to the public.

One of those experts is Dr. Amy Esler of the University of Minnesota. Her speech at the conference today is titled “Culture, Diversity and Identifying Autism.”

Dr. Esler talked with KFAI's Michelle Alimoradi about the challenge of diagnosing a child with ASD, or “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” and about her own education. Studying autism wasn’t her goal, but after graduating from college, Esler got a job as a special education paraprofessional.