Child Prodigy with Autism Wows and Inspires

Leading up to April’s Autism Awareness Month, much media attention was given to an incredible young man by the name of Jacob Barnett, a 13-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome who has a tested IQ of 170 (higher than Einstein’s). Deemed a child prodigy, Barnett was attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and taking advanced astrophysics classes as early as 8-years-old.

Jacob made headlines due to a new project where he plans to expand on Einstein’s theory of relativity. And according to The Indianapolis Star, he has also set out to disprove the Big Bang theory.

The stunning revelations have raised a lot of eyebrows, but have not been discounted. A world-renown astrophysics professor has confirmed the authenticity of Jacob’s expanded theory of relativity and says that he will be in line for a Nobel Prize if able to solve.

And asked in an interview about how the earth would have been formed if not for the Big Bang, Barnett said he "was working on that," creating a lot of buzz within the creationism community.

Pretty amazing for a child who didn’t speak until he was 2. In fact, his mom Kristine was quoted as saying, "When he was two, my fear was that he would never be in our world at all." She was also told by doctors to prepare for many challenges over his lifetime due to limited communication skills.

The heartening story and background of Jacob Barnett is yet another example of a long list of individuals on the autism spectrum who have greatly contributed to our society. Some of these people with autism (both confirmed and suspected) include Daryl Hannah, James Durbin, Alexander Graham Bell, Jason McElwain, Daniel Tammet, Albert Einstein, Stephen Wiltshire, Tim Burton, Temple Grandin, John Quincy Adams, Ludwig van Beethoven, Isaac Newton, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Bill Gates, Charles Dickinson, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Friedrich Nietzsche, Nikola Tesla, Henry Thoreau, John Denver, Jim Henson, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hughes, Andy Kaufman, Charles Schulz, Andy Warhol, Bobby Fischer and Leonardo da Vinci — just to name a few.

4 Responses to Child Prodigy with Autism Wows and Inspires

  1. Deborah Duggan says:

    This list of historical figures posthumously diagnosed with autism is total B.S. Emily Dickinson? Mozart? John Denver? Charles Schulz? Who makes up this kind of stuff? It’s reminiscent of the early days of gay empowerment when a new list of historical figures who were “gay,” (e.g. Homer, Julius Caesar, come to think of it, half the people on this list, including Emily Dickinson and Mozart)came out every month. Apparently contemporary figures like Bill Gates and Tim Burton have decided not to dignify the claim that they are ASD by commenting on this kind of amateur diagnoses, but it truly cheapens and makes much more difficult a true celebration of individuals who are on the spectrum and have become contributing members of society and our efforts to include and acknowledge the gifts of all gifted humans.

  2. Michelle Gonzalez says:

    @Deborah You must have missed the caveat stating that the list included both confirmed and suspected individuals — I was not definitively stating that all of them had autism.

    However, given the number of underdiagnosed individuals, even now in 2011, it is not that far of a stretch to conclude that most, if not all of those posthumously listed could have, at the very least, been on the mild end of the spectrum based on their writings and biographical accounts.

    If you do a Google search on those names, you will see there are healthy debates about potential autism-related conditions for each one of them.

    It is called a “spectrum disorder” for a reason and just because someone doesn’t fit the mold of classic autism doesn’t mean we should discount them or the challenges they may have endured during their lives.

  3. larissa says:

    could it be that maybe autism is overdiagnosed???? I dont believe in asds only classical autism.

  4. Malik says:

    How can you not believe in ASDs and believe in Autism, since Autism is an ASD. There are kids who will improve from Autism and end up with Aspergers or PDD-NOS, as I have. I didn’t have enough symptoms to be diagnosed with Classic Autism, thus PDD-NOS. I improved, and was done with IEPs by the time I was in the 3rd grade. But I was told be something I wasn’t. I was constantly bullied, tricked by ‘friends’ into ridicule, people wondering if I were retarded and I grew up with the majority of my childhood/teenage years thinking I was ‘cured’. My own parents didn’t believe i still had it. But you never ‘grow out’ of Autism, or any ASD, for that matter. You learn how to adapt to conceal you eccentricities from the general public. A lot of NTs, including yourself, are so ignorant of what the ASD really is. I feel sorry for you…..

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Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
  • * 1.7 million Americans have some form of autism
  • * 4 out of 5 autistic children are boys

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