The Spark: A Mother's Story Of Nurturing, Genius, And Autism

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The Spark: A Mother's Story Of Nurturing, Genius, And Autism

by Kristine Barnett
Read by Kathe Mazur

Random House Audio Publishing Group | April 9, 2013 | Audio Book (CD) |

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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.

Format: Audio Book (CD)

Dimensions: 4.72 × 5.51 × 0.79 in

Published: April 9, 2013

Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0449009629

ISBN - 13: 9780449009628

Found in: Biography and Memoir
Every mother teaches her children they shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but few mothers have had to live that lesson like Kristine Barnett. When, at the age of two, her son Jake received diagnoses that progressed from Asperger’s to autism, doctors, teachers and therapists saw only the autism. Not Kristine. She saw a beautiful little boy and she simply could not accept the bleak life of limitations being projected for Jake. The Spark is a moving, terrifying and inspirational story of her courageous journey with Jake, a journey that is a testament to the ferocity of a mother’s love. Where others saw bizarre behaviour and emotional withdrawal, Barnett saw a spark in her son, an intelligence that just didn’t know how to talk to the world. Over the course of ten years she nurtured that spark with unwavering faith and a tenacity, that is, in the truest sense of the word, awesome. And the child, who therapists said shouldn't bother trying to learn the alphabet or tie his shoes, is now researching quantum physics at Indiana University, giving engaging interviews on TV and inspiring students to stop learning and start thinking. He is just 14. But this beautiful, joyful book is so much more than the story of an exceptional mother and her genius son. In a voice that could be your neighbour, your sister, or your best friend, Barnett shows us how to see children, whether those with autism or their non-spectrum friends, as she does – as unique people with infinite potential. She shows us that every child has a spark waiting to be discovered. If you are a mother, or have a child in your life, The Spark is simply the most compelling book you will read this year.

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– More About This Product –

The Spark: A Mother's Story Of Nurturing, Genius, And Autism

The Spark: A Mother's Story Of Nurturing, Genius, And Autism

by Kristine Barnett
Read by Kathe Mazur

Format: Audio Book (CD)

Dimensions: 4.72 × 5.51 × 0.79 in

Published: April 9, 2013

Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0449009629

ISBN - 13: 9780449009628

Read from the Book

An Inch, or Ten Thousand Miles November 2001 JAKE, AGE THREE "Mrs. Barnett, I''d like to talk to you about the alphabet cards you''ve been sending to school with Jacob." Jake and I were sitting with his special ed teacher in our living room during her monthly, state-mandated visit to our home. He loved those brightly colored flash cards more than anything in the world, as attached to them as other children were to love-worn teddy bears or threadbare security blankets. The cards were sold at the front of the SuperTarget where I did my shopping. Other children snuck boxes of cereal or candy bars into their mothers'' shopping carts, while the only items that ever mysteriously appeared in mine were yet more packs of Jake''s favorite alphabet cards. "Oh, I don''t send the cards; Jake grabs them on his way out the door. I have to pry them out of his hands to get his shirt on. He even takes them to bed with him!" Jake''s teacher shifted uncomfortably on the couch. "I wonder if you might need to adjust your expectations for Jacob, Mrs. Barnett. Ours is a life skills program. We''re focusing on things like helping him learn to get dressed by himself someday." Her voice was gentle, but she was determined to be clear. "Oh, of course, I know that. We''re working on those skills at home, too. But he just loves his cards . . ." "I''m sorry, Mrs. Barnett. What I''m saying is that we don''t think you''re going to need to worry about the alphabet with Jacob." Finally--finally--I understood wh
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From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

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.

Editorial Reviews

"[An] amazing memoir . . . compulsive reading."-The Washington Post
 
"The Spark is about the transformative power of unconditional love. If you have a child who's 'different'-and who doesn't?-you won't be able to put it down."-Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind
 
"Love, illness, faith, tragedy and triumph-it's all here. . . . Jake Barnett's story contains wisdom for every parent."-Newsday
 
"This eloquent memoir about an extraordinary boy and a resilient and remarkable mother will be of interest to every parent and/or educator hoping to nurture a child's authentic 'spark.'"-Publishers Weekly
 
"Compelling . . . Jake is unusual, but so is his superhuman mom."-Booklist
 
"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

"An invigorating, encouraging read."-Kirkus Reviews
 
"Every parent and teacher should read this fabulous book!"-Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and co-author of The Autistic Brain


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