On the way home from work tonight, I listened to "Being Autistic, Being Human," the Speaking of Faith podcast where Krista Tippett talks with Paul Collins and Jennifer Elder, parents of an autistic boy named Morgan. If you are at all interested in autism, or in Asperger's syndrome (higher functioning than autism), the show is worth a download.
My half-sister Rebecca is autistic, so I was of course interested in the show. One thing they said was that autistic characteristics seem to be passed through genes, only some people are farther to the edge of the spectrum than others. I've definitely identified with certain of Rebecca's personality traits, like the unusually good memory for details, and the ability to focus so intently on something that the world could end and I wouldn't know it.
The first time I ever learned anything about autism was in the seventh grade, when I read One Child, by Torey Hayden. I vividly remember reading that book--the pity I felt, as well as the horror, the fascination, and the sadness.
The "Speaking of Faith" interview is a good listen. You can download it here.