I read on https://www.wired.com/2016/10/president-obama-mit-joi-ito-interview (mirror):

And if we were able to eliminate autism and make everyone neuro-­normal, I bet a whole slew of MIT kids would not be the way they are.

Is autism more prevalent amongst students in well-ranked universities (vs. all universities)?

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    That's probably a very hard question to answer, if for no other reason than those statistics are likely hard to come by. You'd have to look for some sort of national survey of universities' "Services for Students with Disabilities" offices. Maybe there's some form of reporting that is part of the Americans with Disabilities Act? – tonysdg Oct 14 '16 at 1:00
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    (I understand why the tags "health issues" and "disability" were added, though I wouldn't call it this way) – Franck Dernoncourt Oct 14 '16 at 4:25
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    I agree that this may be a very difficult question to answer. With that said, surely the issue is going to be much less high vs. low ranked universities, and more about subject areas. I'd strongly suspect that students in the sciences are more like to have autism than those in the arts and humanities. Where an institution, as a whole, has a particular prevalence of autism it may say more about the balance of arts/humanities vs. science in their composition than about their prestige (of course prestige may in turn correlate with that composition) – Ian_Fin Oct 14 '16 at 8:08
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    For several reasons (including lack of diagnosis) it is a question hard to answer. However, there are several mental illnesses (eg. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) that seem to be more common to professionals, and there are a lot of studies on the correlation between intelligence and autism, too. – Greg Oct 14 '16 at 11:56

There is research to suggest that the general belief (or stereotype) is accurate relative to subject area - specifically, some (but not all) areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) have a greater amount of autism prevalence than would be expected by pure chance. There is no research I can find that considers rank of University comparatively, but there is research that compares the prevalence of autism spectrum signs/symptoms/behaviors/classifications between various fields.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Participation Among College Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Findings suggest that students with an ASD had the highest STEM participation rates although their college enrollment rate was the third lowest among 11 disability categories and students in the general population. Disproportionate postsecondary enrollment and STEM participation by gender, family income, and mental functioning skills were found for young adults with an ASD.

Selected quotes:

Young adults with an ASD had a higher proportion of majoring in STEM related fields (34.31 %) than any other disability groups. The difference was significant for seven out of the 10 pair-wise comparisons. When we broke down the STEM related fields into computer science, engineering, math, and science, we found that the high STEM participation rates among young adults with an ASD was mainly driven by a high concentration in science or computer science majors. Young adults with an ASD were significantly more likely to major in science (12.12 %) than their peers with LD (4.72 %), SLI (4.71 %), ID (5.40 %), HI (4.80 %), OI (1.45 %), OHI (4.55 %), TBI, or MD.1 These young adults with an ASD were also significantly more likely to major in computer science (16.22 %) than those with LD (4.06 %), SLI (5.90 %), or OHI (5.19 %). However, the high prevalence in STEM majors for young adults with an ASD was not found in non-STEM majors, such as health science (7.64 %) or social sciences (9.52 %)...

When focusing on STEM majors, the odds of STEM majoring were 13 times higher among males with an ASD than females...

These results provide the first national picture of postsecondary enrollment and STEM participation for young adults with an ASD as well as their peers in 10 other disability categories. Our analyses suggest that young adults with an ASD who attend college are most likely to pursue STEM majors. However, they also have one of the lowest overall college enrollment rates...

Despite a previous lack of national evidence, the idea that people with autism might be predisposed to choosing and succeeding in STEM-related majors and jobs has gained a footing in popular press stories and among advocacy groups (Moore 2006; Morton 2001; Ross 2006; Safer 2012). Our findings confirm that individuals with an ASD are more likely than the general population and other disabilities groups to gravitate toward STEM. The STEM major rate (34.31 %) for young adults with an ASD was not only higher than their peers in all 10 other disability categories, but also higher than the 22.80 % of students in the general population that declared a major in STEM-related fields in postsecondary education (Chen and Weko 2009). In addition, this study found that young adults with an ASD in STEM fields were more likely than the general population to concentrate in science [12.12 vs. 8.3 % (Chen and Weko 2009)] and computer science [16.22 vs. 6.6 % (Chen and Weko 2009)].

Note that this indicates that people on the autism spectrum are more likely to choose certain fields, such as computer science and engineering, than is the general population - but people on the autism spectrum are also less likely to enter college at all compared to the general population.

This study links to many related studies, but only notes one other similar study in a single United Kingdom university that showed a correlation between autism and mathematical skill. All studies in total still make it impossible to compare higher and lower ranked institutions.

Finally, note that the mention of MIT is notable not simply because it's high ranked and famous - but because it is famous for a specific set of technological developments, related to AI (the topic of much of the interview in the OP), as well as engineering and computer science generally.

You can go about this in a rather sideways manner, however, from this one note from the above study:

Young adults with an ASD were less likely to enroll in a 2-year community college (27.66 %) or a 4-year college (14.95 %) than all other disability groups except intellectual disabilities (ID) or multiple disabilities (MD) (Table 3).

This shows that autism is less prevalent at unranked/low-ranked institutions period, so you could roughly infer that those with ASD who choose to go to college at all do so primarily at institutions which are more likely to be ranked (or ranked relatively highly). This is a rather weak argument, but it's about all we seem to have to go on.

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