Autism is a developmental disorder that currently affects nine out of every 1,000 American children, a number that has steadily risen since the 1980s. Symptoms usually appear by age three, and often encompass difficulties in communicating within normal developmental and social parameters.
Late Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett is believed by many to have suffered from a form of autism. He lived in virtual seclusion for 30 years after releasing four albums with Pink Floyd and as a solo artist.
The disability remains poorly understood by the general public. Hollywood has a tendency to portray austists as superpowered savants, while commentators like Michael Savage have claimed, "99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out."