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Joined: 11 Jan 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 9,842
Location: New Zealand

01 Feb 2016, 1:03 am

Aged 11, studying physics. What an interesting piece this is: how a mother rejected the system of special ed and made decisions in her son's best interests. This must have caused apoplexy at Autism Speaks when it was first known about

Update: Jacob is now aged 17 and is a doctoral student


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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 62
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Posts: 21,936
Location: Long Island, New York

01 Feb 2016, 5:05 am

I sm sure they will try and find a way to take credit for his accomplishments

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


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Joined: 28 Sep 2011
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Posts: 3,471
Location: PA, USA

02 Feb 2016, 9:52 pm

Well, he sure is enthused about physics!! Dang, wish I could get that enthusiastic about, say, my garden. Or ANYTHING. Special interest nirvana.

He's clearly learned to talk (lol). As far as fine motor dexterity for things like shoe-tying goes, well, he's smart enough to REINVENT Velcro, never mind using it. We have Velcro for a reason.

I'm glad his mom had the balls to take him out of a program where what he was doing was clearly the antithesis of thriving. Smart, brave lady.

I hope he IS still getting the life skills. Being a physics whiz is great. Awesome. One still has to be able to do things like get up to an alarm clock, operate a stove (or leastways a microwave), and utilize a washing machine. Driving a car is optional-- one can always choose to live where public transportation is available (or, when you're as gifted as this kid, live in your lab).

One still has to be able to feed oneself, keep oneself clean, keep oneself safe, and learn enough communication skills to ask for help, express oneself in a respectful manner if one expects to be taken seriously, and be perceived as treating people with common decency most of the time.

Not saying he can't do those things. Judging by his stage presence (grasp of humor, kindness toward his audience, things like that), I'd say he probably can and probably does. Just that no amount of autistic genius is going to substitute for those skills in living a life.

And no-- therapies and interventions that focus on "must," "can't," "won't," and suchlike, ultimately, do more harm than good (even if they do accomplish compliance and the acquisition of life skills).

"Alas, our dried voices when we whisper together are quiet and meaningless, as wind in dry grass, or rats' feet over broken glass in our dry cellar." --TS Eliot, "The Hollow Men"