I think curiosity looks very different in an autist than in other people. I am curious, but because I’m also cautious, I tend to wait and observe things before I jump in. If I ask a question, I want to know more than an initial answer to it. I tend to think that encyclopedias aren’t nearly long enough on any topic I want to know about. Sometimes I even think that encyclopedias are lying in their pretense that their answers are at all sufficient to the topic at hand. If I know in depth about something, a paragraph or two is not enough. I can talk for hours (and will, if you let me).
I’ve also long suspected that I tend to prefer a deeper dive into knowledge than most people do. I don’t seek quick answers, and am not satisfied by them. So that means that what people call “special interests” for autistic people are, from my point of view, things that I simply find interesting for a long period of time because there is such depth to them when you continue to investigate. My curiosity isn’t easily satisfied, so I keep asking questions.
When I was in school, this was often frustrating for teachers, who (I thought then) didn’t have any depth to their knowledge. I was very judgmental as a child, seeing adults who would pawn off cheap, easy answers and who thought I was being troublesome on purpose for demanding more. They didn’t need more than what they were offering me, and the idea that somehow they were deficient for not offering me was not something they wanted to hear from an upstart kid.