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Wednesday, 07 July 2004 12:00

Profile - Source [Autism society of America]

' At age two, Jake Barnett was diagnosed with autism and his future was unclear. Now at age 13, Jake is a college sophomore and a math and science prodigy. Jake says his autism is key to his success. ' 60 minutes reports - Morley Safer

Autism is a spectrum disorder. The symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combination's, from mild to severe. Although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviors in any degree of severity. Two children, both with the same diagnosis, can act very differently from one another and have varying skills. You may hear different terms used for those within the spectrum, such as autistic-like, autistic tendencies, autism spectrum, high-functioning or low-functioning , more-abled or less-abled and Aspegers. More important than the term used is to understand that whatever the diagnosis, autistic does not mean can not learn or function productively . . Approximately 1 in 10 diagnosed with autism will have a savant aptitude which is 10 times the proportion in the general public . In High functioning and Aspergers what has been often been described as a highly visual spatial thinking style has proved beneficial to countless professors , software developers , mathematicians and engineers helping them to reach the very top of there chosen careers . 80 % of those diagnosed with autistic traits are male .


Often society has a human visceral reaction to prodigies . What sets Jake apart is his remarkable memory , which is partly attributed to picturing numbers as shapes , no one wants to hear that Jake was once on the autistic spectrum because all things considered he seems like a normal kid . [Albeit a kid who one day will surely plan world domination !.] It will be pointed out that he is very much the exception , rather than the rule . Undeniably this is true

While understanding of autism has grown tremendously since it was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943, most of the public, including many professionals in the medical, educational, and vocational fields, are still unaware of how autism affects people and how they can effectively work with individuals with autism.

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 July 2013 14:57
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