It’s a tribute to a mother’s instinct. Doctors know a lot, but they don’t know everything. They certainly don’t know your child like you do.
According to themotherlist.com, that’s what Kristine Barnett discovered after her son Jacob was diagnosed with autism when he was two.
Doctors said Jacob would never speak, teachers told her there was no hope, but Kristine disregarded the “experts” and followed her instincts. The results are nothing short of incredible.
Instead of focusing on what Jacob couldn’t do, Kristine decided to focus on what he could do. She nurtured her son’s passions.
“He liked repetitive behaviors. He would play with a glass and look at the light, twisting it for hours on end. Instead of taking it away, I would give him 50 glasses, fill them with water at different levels and let him explore,” she tells themotherlist.com. “I surrounded him with whatever he loved.”
Kristine noticed a marked improvement in her son. So much so that he defied what doctors had said and spoke to his mom one night. “It was like music … because everybody had said it was an impossible thing … I would tuck him in every night and say, Goodnight, baby Jacob, you’re my baby angel, and I love you very much.’ One night he looked me straight in the eyes and said, Night-night baby bagel.’ All along he must have thought I had been calling him a bagel!”
Jacob, now 15, is a student of theoretical physics at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, with an IQ measured to be higher than Einstein’s. He’s even on track to win a Nobel prize for his work.
Kristine chronicles her son’s incredible journey and breakthrough in her book, The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism.
Her best advice to others who have children on the spectrum, ADHD, learning disorders, or other disabilities: don’t let the label define your child. Focus on what your child is good at and let that define them, let them pursue what they love.
“As parents, we know in our hearts what our kids need,” she says, “and we need to trust that a little more. Even if that goes against what others are saying.”
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