My long-time best friend, Adrian, is an E.A. and music teacher at Lionsgate Academy in Crystal, Mn. Lionsgate is a public high school and junior high designed for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, which is to say- the only school of its kind in MN. I've had the distinct pleasure of volunteering with, guest speaking to, performing for and hanging with the students Lionsgate. They are amazing. The ways that they process information, communicate and interact are so peculiar (albeit fascinating) when compared to what we think of as "normal." Many of the students fidget (Stereotypy), some don't speak at all and others fixate on specific subjects (Restricted Behavior) for example: one boy is an expert on the subject of Gibson and Fender electric guitars. He knows the history, place and process of manufacture, how to take care of the guitars- all of this, but he has no interest in playing a guitar. If you ask him about anything else in the world he relates it to electric guitars.
The list above was the most striking observation from my time spent at the school; the range of behaviour and social development from student to student in terms of how far those characteristics deviated from what many of us take for granted- and this is one of the reasons that management (or 'treatment') is often difficult. There are different schools of thought about which types of treatment and therapy are most effective, but as of now there doesn't seem to be any definitive answer. Therapies range from psychoactive drugs, to dietary supplements, music therapy, behavioural therapy and beyond. In the end it seems like Lionsgate is the best possible solution- a place where children and adolescents can grow and develop and receive different combinations of the above therapies and- all the while do the things that other "normal" children and adolescents want to do.