I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to that one. I’ve never read of any instance of autism occurring in a Leaver culture, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t. I’ve never read of it occurring in ancient Greece or Rome either.

As for having criteria for diagnosis, the criteria for diagnosis of any disorder only come into existence when it’s DEFINED as a disorder, and autism wasn’t defined as a disorder until about ninety years ago. A similar example is attention-deficit disorder—it’s not a disorder until you SAY it’s a disorder. By examining the remains of someone who died five thousand years ago, forensic anthropologists can tell you the person suffered from arthritis or osteoporosis, but they can’t tell you whether they suffered from autism, attention-deficit disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

ID: 624
updated: 05 Apr 2003