Salon reports that autism diagnoses are up 78 percent in the last 10 years, but that may be because we’re pathologizing quirky but otherwise healthy behavior, like that of William:
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By age three, William began developing a passionate interest in a range of adult-like topics. After being read a book on Pompeii, he talked endlessly for months afterwards about what he had learned. He pressured Jacqueline to check books out of the library on Pompeii in order to satisfy his need for more detailed knowledge on what Roman life was like before Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the ancient city in ashes. He strove to know more about aqueducts and amphitheaters. He insisted that Jacqueline design a toga for him, which she did. He strutted around the living room not just pretending to be, but believing that he was, a citizen of the Roman Empire, circa AD 79.
Steve, the lovable host of the children’s TV program “Blue’s Clues,” became an idol for William.