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Mark Molina

Sydney Australia

Blog: mark-molina-inspire-quotes.tumblr.com

Twitter: @Mark_Molina_

Defy the Experts

A true story.

Jake Barnett received a diagnosis of autism at age 2. At age 3 he was enrolled in “life skills” classes in hopes that he might learn to “tie his own shoes at sixteen.” Jake’s special ed teacher commented: “We don’t think you’re going to need to worry about the alphabet with Jacob.” In other words, she didn’t think Jake would ever learn to read. That was the moment his mother, Kristine Barnett, decided to buck the “experts” – she took Jake out of special ed classes and homeschooled him in an environment that would “lean into his passions.”

Turns out, Jake was a math and science prodigy and had an IQ higher than Einstein’s. At 3, Jake was arranging hundreds of crayons in the order of the color spectrum; a few years later, he memorized pi to the 200th digit and could recite it forward and backward. At 9 he began working on a theory in astrophysics that, according to those who can understand it, may put him in line for the Nobel Prize; at 11 he started college. Last summer, at 12, he became a paid university researcher in quantum physics. And, yes, he could tie his shoes.

Kristine Barnett asks the key question: “Why is it all about what these kids can’t do? Why isn’t anyone looking more closely at what they can do?”

Surely that insight speaks to all types of learning situations.

- Maureen Corrigan, Book review on ‘The Spark A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius’ by Kristine Barnett