Researchers believe that they caused mice to develop autistic behaviors by deleting a gene in their cerebullums, then cured them by giving them rapamycin. At first I thought the idea of autistic mice was nearly as ridiculous as the idea of autistic fish. But then I read the descriptions of the behaviors they saw in the mice, and realized that many of us are familiar with a mouse who displays all of them.
His name is Mickey. And he has shown all three of traits that the mice in the study showed.
Abnormal social interactions. The mice spent less time with each other and more with inanimate objects, compared to controls.
A couple of years ago, Arthur did this episode with Carl, who has Asperger's syndrome. It's not exactly free of stereotypes, but it's a cartoon, right? And lots of the stereotypes are positive, like being a physics genius.
The wrong planet sequence might be especially helpful in explaining what Aspergers is like to a neurotypical child, and makes me think this might be worth showing in elementary school classes.
Mostly this episode is about having compassion for people who are a little different. And I share Carl's opinion about that creepy giraffe puppet.