Friday, April 1, 2011

12 Year old boy with Autism developing his own theory of reletivity

Jacob Barnett of Noblesville, Indiana  is studying electromagnetic physics at IUPUI. He has an I.Q. of 170, higher the Albert Einstien. He is 12.  He's astounding university professors by developing his own theory of relativity -- they're lining him up for a Ph.D research role.

When Jake was 8, he jumped from fifth grade to college after teaching himself all the high school math classes -- calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry -- in one week and testing at college-level mathematics, Barnett recalls.

Recently, the boy has embarked on his own expanded version of Einstein's theory of relativity. His mother, Kristine Barnett, sent a video of his theory to the renowned Institute For Advanced Study near Princeton University. By the time Jake was 1 1/2, he was reciting the alphabet backwards and forwards and calculating the volume of his cereal box in his head, she tells ParentDish.But soon after, at 18 months, she says he completely stopped talking and withdrew emotionally. A battery of physicians diagnosed him with autism, and later Asperger's syndrome.

The Barnetts held a small fundraiser in a friend's garage and founded

The Barnetts and MyJacobsPlace supporters have turned a dilapidated building into a recreation center, where children with autism and their families gather for movie nights, parent support groups, social gatherings and other events. The foundation has helped hundreds of families across Indiana and Ohio through its awareness and sports programs.
"We were so afraid Jake would be withdrawn from us forever, and so we set out to find out what was the spark that could light him up," Barnett recalls.

For Jake, that spark turned out to be astronomy. As a 3-year-old, Barnett says, he loved looking at books about stars, and so the family spent a lot of time at a nearby observatory and planetarium.

"He could teach himself to read, but couldn't answer a simple question like 'What did you do today?" she says. "But he loved the planetarium and astronomy, so I knew I had to figure out how to build on that. I called the university and practically begged a professor to let Jake audit a class and sit in the back. I was so afraid that he would lose himself in the autism. I was desperate."

That determination paid off.

So far, Jake is the only member of his immediate family to have these rare abilities, Barnett says.

"But my family and my husband's extended family all are quirky," she tells ParentDish. "My grandpa was an inventor and my sister was a child artistic prodigy, and everyone is entrepreneurial on my side of the family. We've never had normal desk jobs."

Looking ahead, Barnett says she isn't sure what the future holds for Jake, but she has learned some valuable lessons for other parents when it comes to focusing on "what your child can do, instead of what people tell you he can't."

"I'm thankful that Jake has become the person he is and feel that, for all children with autism, we need to find the place where there is a little spark inside them," Barnett says. "If we had listened to all the people that told us our son would always be in special ed, and would probably never escape the isolation of autism, how sad would that be?"
source: Parent Dish