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14-Year-Old With Autism May Be Smarter Than Einstein | Liberals Unite

Society & Culture  (tags: aspergers, autism, savant, genius, precociouschild, memory, mathematics, science, astrophysics )

- 1835 days ago -
There is speculation that Jacob Barnett, a 14-year-old with Asperger's Syndrome, may be smarter than Einstein and there is even talk of the possibility of him winning a Nobel Prize one day. He enrolled at the University at the age of 10, is writing a book

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Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Wednesday May 15, 2013, 9:54 pm
There is speculation that Jacob Barnett, a 14-year-old with Aspergerís Syndrome, may be smarter than Einstein and there is even talk of the possibility of him winning a Nobel Prize one day.

Barnett enrolled at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis at the age of 10 and is currently a Masterís student, on his way to earning a PhD in quantum physics. He is a published scientific researcher and his IQ of 170 is believed to be higher than that of Albert Einstein and he asserts that one day he may disprove Einsteinís Theory of Relativity.

All of this flies in the face of early assessments. Diagnosed with moderate to severe autism at the age of 2, his parents were told by doctors that he would likely never learn to talk or read and would forever be unable to manage basic daily activities.

[Also he is writing a book to help kids get rid of "math anxiety"!]

You can watch his interview with 60 minutesí Morley Safer

Roxie H (350)
Wednesday May 15, 2013, 10:01 pm
Ty, I have a 16 year old with this same complex Disorder. He is brilliant. But very complex disorder. And yes, Brilliant. thanks for this article.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 15, 2013, 11:04 pm
Kudos to this boy

Darren Woolsey (218)
Thursday May 16, 2013, 12:32 am
There seems to be plenty of material and evidence to show if one develops faculties in just one aspect of life, that one might become imbalanced as a human being. For example geniuses display extraordinary abilities in certain fields, and yet struggle to, say, engage with people or have other "learning" difficulties... This might explain why atheists, for example, believe so completely in a form of science whilst completely denying/cutting off the possibility of even being able to accept a spiritual realm in reality Similarly those who believe in something, so completely, often refuse to accept rational explanations of some things, even when it can be demonstrated beyond all "reasonable doubt".

Perhaps a genuine taste of reality and ourselves, with all our delights and terrors, is too much for us to bear...

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Thursday May 16, 2013, 1:49 am
"Savants" are people with extraordinary abilities that seem to be INBORN - for example, mathematical abilities, or the EXTRAORDINARY feats of Memory this boy has - they are caused by something in the BRAIN, that the child or person is BORN with. According to the video, about 10% of people with autism, have such abilities.
Then this is associated in the brain, with other factors that make the person tend to withdraw from social contact. This is something in the BRAIN, its chemistry or structure.

I once babysat for a baby that was autistic - it was a spooky experience. She was totally different from any child I've ever seen. No emotion or reaction to human beings! and less than a year old! She was only interested in THINGS, not at all in people - even her sibling! I just carried her around the room so she could look at THINGS. As a mother, not to mention a babysitter for other kids, I can tell you it is VERY SPOOKY to have a kid act LIKE YOU'RE NOT THERE, not smile, not frown, not nothing! You can't "talk to" or interact with such a kid - but this one DID communicate to me, that she wanted me to carry her all around the room! She had a VERY STRONG WILL, I could tell! Her entire attention, was on OBJECTS... I was nothing but a means of transportation, treated like a "machine", another inanimate object, not as a liked or disliked human being. No "cuddling" or leaning in towards me - her entire attention was OUTWARDS, away from me who held her! Like holding a stick, not a baby - but somehow she "communicated" with her wide-open eyes and the direction her body pointed. I will never forget that experience!
I never saw that baby again, and have no idea how she turned out!
{At that time, which was quite long ago, little was known about Autism - I felt like saying to the parents, Do you know your child is different? unusual? But I didn't dare - and they said NOTHING to me!}

There are a lot of accounts WRITTEN now, by people with various degrees of Autism. {Also several websites.} They actually SEE THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY - because their BRAINS are actually DIFFERENTLY-STRUCTURED, PHYSICALLY {in some way that science is still trying to figure out!}.

Rose Becke (141)
Thursday May 16, 2013, 4:32 pm
Good for this boy

Angelika R (143)
Monday May 20, 2013, 6:08 pm
Thanks for this, in many ways "fascinating" story, BT! Yes, in recent years there has been much opening up to this issue when before things dealing with autistic spectrum were widely a taboo zone. I also did a lot of reading on the subject as I believe I once came in online contact with a person I suspected of having a form of Aspergers. Social interaction is indeed the major problem of all forms. 50% of savants are also autistic.
Your own experience with the 1-year old MUST have haunted you, no doubt!

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Monday May 20, 2013, 11:55 pm
Angelika: Another thing that was "haunting" about the experience, was this:
The 1-year-old baby had a sibling, about a year older. And I had to watch the little baby every single second - that's why I ended up holding her and carrying her almost the entire time - because if I relaxed my vigilance for even one second, the older sibling would literally try to KILL the baby! Would attack ferociously and without mercy... as if it sensed this child was "different"...
[I'm sure that's how the European stories of "changelings" came about...]

The parents in taking me on as a babysitter {it might have been from some ad, I don't remember} - they never said a THING about what I was to expect - and never said a THING afterwards, or asked me anything... which also is strange, come to think of it, but they must've been in Denial. I wanted SO MUCH to say something to the mother, but as I said, I didn't dare, you never spoke of such things at that time...
And I never saw that family again. Maybe they just wanted to see what would happen if they hired a sitter?
But, as I said, that baby was totally different from any other I've ever seen. At that time, of course, the words to speak of this were hardly known...
I certainly wished that baby well, I hope the family was not as dysfunctional as it seemed to me to be!

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 4:14 am
BT, I have a sense that family wasn't all that "dysfunctional", just keeping the taboo. They certainly did know, probably also had consulted medical advice, but shy to tell you before or after. And had they mentioned it when hiring in an ad or however, they would never have found a babysitter! ;)
That sibling was too young to deal with the situation, also regarded the baby as a "thing", something strange and sensing a sort of competition I assume.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 8:15 pm
Yes, taboos were enormous in those days.
I once babysat for another child that was "disturbed", but in a different way. Again just once. This child was older - but it cried nonstop for hours, not just when the parent left, which is not unusual, but during the WHOLE time I was there. This child was surrounded by toys that were of the type considered "mentally stimulating", but just ignored them totally, and cried - I got the definite impression that there was something going on there. Expectations and undue pressures of the mother on the child. This mother was a single mother, which was unusual at the time, especially in the Middle Class. It was as if she was determined to try to CREATE a "genius".... and instead, got a wreck... she had even been interviewed in a magazine on the subject! {without the negative stuff being mentioned}.
Adventures in babysitting!
Both those families needed therapy, not un-trained me!
At that time {a long time ago, the 1960's}, I doubt that there even WAS good medical advice to be had! in Seattle, anyway....for these conditions.... there was a lot of mis-understanding, even in books on the subject...
Well those experiences bother me to this day! I certainly coped the best I could.... I didn't do anything I shouldn't have done, it is just that it was IMPOSSIBLE to even THINK of communicating... {That was when Gay kids could never say anything, etc. There was this IMPOSSIBLE "IDEAL" of "Family" to live up to.....or you were "bad"...}
Thank goodness we've come a ways away from those kinds of attitudes!
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