At an alarming rate there appears to be an increase over the last decade in the number of children diagnosed with severely delayed or otherwise disturbed developmental disorders. Perhaps the most extreme and well known of these is autism, which is characterized by speech difficulties, an inability to develop normal social relationships leading to isolation, compulsive and ritualistic behaviors, and usually an abnormal intelligence.

It was once assumed that because persons suffering with autism generally have poor capacity to communicate and many unusual behaviors their intelligence was subnormal. While some autistics clearly are mentally disabled, this notion largely has been dispelled with the recognition that many autistic persons have quite the opposite: unusually keen intelligence and tremendous creative and/or mental capabilities.