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Child With Autism Turns Astrophysicist

15-Year-Old With Autism Thrives as Astrophysicist, Thanks to Mom

A 15-year-old boy who doctors all but gave up hope for is now thriving and pursuing a Ph.D. in physics, thanks to his mom's perseverance, Good Morning America reports.

According to Indiana mom Kristine Barnett, her son Jacob was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism when he was 2 and lost his ability to speak. He began seeing a developmental therapist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist. But she believed all those hours spent with specialists were taking time away from what he should be doing — being a kid.

"We were forgetting his childhood. His spirit was being crushed by the opinion that everything was wrong," she said. 

Resolved to give her son back his childhood, one night she took him outside, put Louis Armstrong on, and laid on the hood of her car to look at the stars. Stargazing refreshed the light in his eyes, he started taking trips to the planetarium, and he regained his speech. Kristine now realizes that whenever Jacob seemed "lost," he simply was bored. For instance, grade schools wouldn't indulge him by teaching him algebra in first grade, so the family now feels fortunate that Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has accepted him at an earlier-than-usual age so he can pursue advanced studies at an "accelerated pace."

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KeiciaBassGoodman KeiciaBassGoodman 2 years
This is awesome!
jonidaniels11014 jonidaniels11014 2 years
That is awsome. What a wonderful mother. I have a 3 yr old son with mild/moderate case of autism he was diagnosed at the age of 2 1/2. He is so smart. He doesn't talk anymore stopped saying words at the age of about 12 1/2 months old. He is fascinated with tress and the sky as well. Maybe one night I should take him out to lay and look @ the stars. My husband doesn't believe that speech therpy will help he thinks he will talk when he has something to say. I have heard full sentences from him twice within the past 6 months,so I know my little guy has words he just doesn't think he needs to use them. I love hearing about children with autism thrive. Thanks for sharing keep the stories coming.
KatherineJaconello KatherineJaconello 2 years
I had a brilliant child and home schooled him. He was a handful but no one ever got around to labelling him. I did the same thing as this Mom - I showed him some stars. I even painted the cosmos on our ceiling. Now he is 27, dancing full time for the Mannheim National Ballet and writes music for dancers. He wrote the score of "Dump the Physical Memory" for Alberta Ballet. Take a pass on the rotten-to-the core school system, I say, and play, study Romalda Spalding's Method "The Writing Road to Reading" and do Saxon Math. Then follow your dreams. Congratulations to Kristine and Jacob for being innovators!
Pamela72540 Pamela72540 2 years
OH MY STARS! That mom should get an award. Kids should be kids, and smarter than average kids should be allowed to study at their own pace. Makes me even more thrilled that I was homeschooled as a child. Allowed me to learn at my own pace, instead of having to slow down so I stayed with kids my age.
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