Jake Barnett is one in 10 million. The Indianapolis 13-year-old has been acing college math and science courses since he was eight years old. Now Jake is a college sophomore taking honors classes in math and physics, while also doing scientific research and tutoring fellow students. No one could have predicted that Jake would even make it to college. At age two, Jake began to regress - he stopped speaking and making eye contact. The diagnosis: autism. Jake is proud of his autism. "That, I believe, is the reason why I am in college and I am so successful," he tells Morley Safer. ...
No one could have predicted that Jake would even make it to college. Just before his second birthday he began to regress, stopped speaking and making eye contact. After consulting with several doctors the diagnosis was autism.
Michael Barnett: We went through speech therapy, physical therapy, developmental therapy, occupational therapy. Therapists came to the home.
Kristine Barnett: He was going further and further from our world into a world of his own. And I really was just baffled at how we were going to get him back out of that world.
Safer: And how did you get him, back out of that world?
Kristine Barnett: We realized that Jacob was not happy unless he was doing something he loved.
Which even as a three-year-old was math and science. His parents say the more he focused on the subjects he loved the more he began to communicate.
The psychiatrists are redefining autism as autism spectrum, and broadening the concept so that it can be diagnosed based on stereotyped behaviors, as well as mental retardation. Many states have now passed laws requiring insurance coverage, even tho there is no known effective treatment.
On TV, Jake seems like just an unusually smart boy with no obvious disorders. He just has what the shrinks derisively call stereotyped behaviors.
The psychiatrists are doing something sinister here by pathologizing harmless behaviors, particularly male behaviors. Millions of dollars are being drained from our medical system to fund useless therapies. They conflate smart kids with retarded kids. I think that their pseudo-scientific opinions about autism will ultimately be considered more offensive and wrong than their previous stances on homosexuals.