Author(s): Kristine BarnettDownload
Kristine Barnett’s son Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s, a photographic memory, and he taught himself calculus in two weeks. At nine he started working on an original theory in astrophysics that experts believe may someday put him in line for a Nobel Prize, and at age twelve he became a paid researcher in quantum physics. But the story of Kristine’s journey with Jake is all the more remarkable because his extraordinary mind was almost lost to autism. At age two, when Jake was diagnosed, Kristine was told he might never be able to tie his own shoes. The Spark is a remarkable memoir of mother and son. Surrounded by “experts” at home and in special ed who tried to focus on Jake’s most basic skills and curtail his distracting interests—moving shadows on the wall, stars, plaid patterns on sofa fabric—Jake made no progress, withdrew more and more into his own world, and eventually stopped talking completely. Kristine knew in her heart that she had to make a change. Against the advice of her husband, Michael, and the developmental specialists, Kristine followed her instincts, pulled Jake out of special ed, and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own. Relying on the insights she developed at the daycare center she runs out of the garage in her home, Kristine resolved to follow Jacob’s “spark”—his passionate interests. Why concentrate on what he couldn’t do? Why not focus on what he could? This basic philosophy, along with her belief in the power of ordinary childhood experiences (softball, picnics, s’mores around the campfire) and the importance of play, helped Kristine overcome huge odds. The Barnetts were not wealthy people, and in addition to financial hardship, Kristine herself faced serious health issues. But through hard work and determination on behalf of Jake and his two younger brothers, as well as an undying faith in their community, friends, and family, Kristine and Michael prevailed. The results were beyond anything anyone could have imagined. Dramatic, inspiring, and transformative, The Spark is about the power of love and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we learn how to tap the true potential that lies within every child, and in all of us.
Some Reviews: 1090 in Goodreads.com
This book turned out to be so much more than I thought it would be … not just about an autistic child prodigy, but about life and loss, struggle and triumph. This book takes following a ‘mother’s gut’ to a whole new level. I will definitely look at my children in a different light, and in the future I plan to find ways to guide them that may not necessarily be ‘mainstream.’ With America’s education system in dire straits, ‘mainstream’ is exactly what we don’t need. I just hope I can find the right teachers to play along.
I loved this book. It was not perfectly written and sometimes it went off on a tangent to places I was not sure I wanted to go, but I love the message that no-one is a lost cause … in fact it can be the extreme opposite for those who seem the most unlikely. It has casued me to look at my autsitic son in a different way and think of noew ways of helping him. I wish I had the author’s energy and support.
I was a goodreads First Reads Winner of this book.The Spark:A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius.Was A wonderful read.Kristine Barnett wrote this about her son Jake. Her son was diagnosed with Autism at two years old. It was not much longer that they noticed that Jake had a very high aptitude in Science and Math.After tests over the years Jake was shown to be a genius. his aptitude in Astronomy, math, science were proved to be “off the charts” at three he was attending seminars at the college on astrology and could understand concepts at and beyond college level. by ten Jake was pulled from elementary school and attended college classes.
Jakes mom Kristine impressed me with her dedication to her son and other kids in the autistic spectrum.she opened up her own home to kids who also had autism for a workshop that took notice of each child’s interest. Eventually she opened up a building named “Jakes Place” that helped special needs kids in Indiana. I wish I could have had the chance to know Kristine and Jake. On a personal note I understand because I am the mother of a son with high functioning autism. Our son is now 25 smart as a whip, graduated form high school with honors and made the deans list in community college.
I hope a lot of people read this book. it is a great education on looking for a child’s talents and capabilities. I wish Our own family could have benefited from programs that Kristine Barnett created. I was glad I got the opportunity to read this wonderful book. I wish the very best for Jake and his family.
I really enjoyed this amazing story of a mother pulling out all of the stops to create a nurturing environment for not only her autistic son but for other special needs children in her community. Kristine Barnett seems to me to be a truly gifted woman. Her love of children and her ability to see into their hearts and minds was inspiring to me. As a stay-at-home-mom who sometimes has to struggle for energy and inspiration to keep feeding the hungry minds of my two sons, it is nice to read about a mother who is so talented at keeping the important things as the top priorities even as she faces challenges that I pray I will never have to face. This book inspires me to never put limits on what my children can do. Maybe I can get my 18-month-old to start doing the laundry… 🙂
Wow!!! A must-read for just about everyone!
The Barnetts’ story is a page-turner right from the beginning as Kristine conveys the emotions of joy, confusion, fear, heartbreak, rebellion, faith, exhaustion, shock, serendipity, and awe. Her son Jake, seemingly so healthy at birth and well-advanced in toddlerhood, stopped developing to the point where professionals presumed him permanently lost to the world of Autism. Going against the prescribed treatments of the time, Kristine modified her daycare program into a haven for kids with Autism Spectrum disorders and pulled out all the stops in an effort to help Jake and others like him regain contact with the rest of the world. Day by painful day, Kristine worked to connect with her son until the fateful day when she discovered what worked for him, and the rest is history. Jake still may not tie his shoes, but he spends his thoughts and energy on more important things like astrophysics!
Worldview: implicitly Christian
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