The Spark:A Mother's Story Of Nurturing Genius
Kristine Barnett's son Jacob is today, at age twelve, working on extending Einstein's theory of relativity. His story is remarkable, and all the more so because his prodigious mind and talents were almost lost after he was diagnosed with autism at age three. An extraordinary true story of what it is like to live with an exceptional child, Scattered Skills is a testimony to the power of hope, and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we keep our minds open and learn how to fuel the potential that exists in every child.
"Every parent and teacher should read this fabulous book!"
--Temple Grandin, author of "Thinking in Pictures" and co-author of "The Autistic Brain"
""The Spark" describes in glowing terms the profound intensity with which a mother can love her child."
--Andrew Solomon, author of "The Noonday Demon" and "Far From the Tree"
"After author Kristine Barnett's son, Jacob, is diagnosed with autism, she makes a simple but radical discovery: that his innate interests are the key to freeing him. By facing down the experts' assumptions about him--including a teacher who tells her to put away the alphabet cards because he will never learn to read--with the inspired decision to follow him where his mind longs to go, she is able to ignite his passions, and his genius. Jacob's growth from the silent confines of his early autism diagnosis to his explosive understanding of astronomy, physics and math is thrilling, not only because his mind is so compelling but because Barnett herself thinks like a renegade, and a generous one. As the owner of a daycare center, she is able to apply her theory to numerous children, many who are brought long distances by their parents in order to bask in her unique vision, with startling results. This is a galloping story, full of the wonderfully messy complications of special needs, genius and Barnett-family life, full of heart. Anyone who has children or works with them, or simply wants to know an intrinsic truth about how we learn, will get something from "The Spark"."
--Maria Mutch, author of the forthcoming memoir "Know the Night"
"[A] compelling memoir...Jake is unusual, but so is his superhuman mom."
KRISTINE BARNETT is the mother of Jacob Barnett and his 3 younger siblings. She runs a daycare that includes both typical and special-needs children. She is also the founder of MyJacobsPlace, a nonprofit organization designed to help children with autism, as well as an award-winning sports league for autistic children.