The story of Jacob Barnett is yet another proof of the inefficacy of our system. Jacob was diagnosed with autism as a kid, and the therapy he was receiving was actually his major problem.
State therapy specialists said that Jacob would never be able to tie his shoe laces, read or do everything other people do. However, his mom noticed that Jacob could do a lot of things when he wasn’t in therapy.
She knew that Jacob’s therapy was doing more harm than good, and decided to trust her guts. Professionals advised her to keep him on therapy. Instead of trusting the protocol and doing what she was told, the mom surrounded Jacob with things that inspired him. The transformation was magnificent.
You can’t fix what’s not broken
Jacob was diagnosed with autism when he was two. He was subjected to a cookie cutter special education system that “helped” him do the things he couldn’t. Kristine was told that her son would never go beyond learning the most basic life skills.
The educational therapy wasn’t good for Jacob. His mom noticed that he tended to withdraw after the therapy, and the poor boy didn’t even talk to anyone.
Going against professional advice isn’t a good idea, but Kristine knew that she had to do something. Special ed wasn’t good for Jacob, and Kristine didn’t want her son to slip away. She wrote a memoir, The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius.
The great discovery
Kristine and Jacob spent a lot of years in frustration and pain. The mom decided to take Jacob out of school, and did her best to prepare him for kindergarten at home.
What did she do? Jacob was allowed to explore the things he showed interest in – patterns, shadows and stars. They spent a lot of time playing softball and enjoying their picnic.
Kristine followed a concept called “muchness” which is surrounding kids with things they are interested in. Do you know that Jacob entered college and studied condensed matter physics at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis?
Professor Scott Tremaine wrote an email to the family, explaining that Jacob works on the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics. If he solves that, he will be in line for a Nobel Prize.
The autistic boy has an IQ of 170 which is higher than the one Einstein had. Jacob is the youngest astrophysics researcher who has held a speech at a New York TED conference and appeared on 60 Minutes and Time magazine website.
I bet those “professionals” couldn’t even imagine that Jacob would come this far. Let’s hope that the system doesn’t make a similar mistake.