School & Experts Put Genius Boy In Special Ed. Now He’s Free & On Track For Nobel Prize

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Jacob-BarnettA young genius whose IQ is said said to be  higher than Albert Einstein, is on his way to possibly winning a Nobel Prize after dropping out of elementary school and his special ed programs. From a young age, Jacob Barnett was very interested in Math and Physics. Numbers were his passion and he was getting bored of early grades of elementary school as they did not come close to challenging him. Finally, his parents made the decision to take him out of public school and special ed programs regardless of the fact doctors had diagnosed him with ASD.


“For a parent, it’s terrifying to fly against the advice of the professionals. But I knew in my heart that if Jake stayed in special ed, he would slip away.” Jacob’s mother.

Jacob’s incredible memory and mind allowed him to attend university classes after he taught himself all of high school math in just two weeks.He is currently on track to graduate from college by the age of 14 and it is believed his research into math and physics may begin to challenge some of the established theories in physics. This is an exciting prospect given many have touched on knowledge and devices that currently defy mainstream physics. The implications of such discoveries are endless.

Jacob Barnett is currently studying at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, ON where he and his family now live.[1]

This is just another example of how society can often leave kids behind who don’t fit the ‘mould’ of ‘every other child.’  Kids who are given labels because they don’t fit into the system are actually incredible beings, like everyone else, with the capability to participate entirely in advancing society in many ways. Key point being, you allow them to do what they want to do and are passionate about, and suddenly their “issues” are gone or dissipate drastically. One more reason why educating people in batches and teaching them near useless information is not going to cut it for much longer.


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  1. Pingback: This Is What Happens When A Kid Leaves Traditional Education | Phoenix is Risen

  2. Vi

    From my own experience I can say that his parents made the right decision. I was one of these children that they just kept skipping grades in traditional school. MY IQ was tested in grade 2 at 145. It made me feel isolated because I couldn’t relate to the kids my own age as I wasn’t thinking in the same way. I still played with Barbies and neighborhood kids. Talk about a dichotomy. High school was hell, not because I was years younger, but rather I had no interest in “high school teenage girl” things, most which seemed goofy. This made me an outcast and I got bullied for years. Teachers had difficulty relating to me – and I think they saw me as a PIA since I could read the book in a day, write the test and would challenge them with questions they couldn’t answer. I was curious. I learned at 12 to hide my intelligence, especially when it came to “boys”, a trait carried out throughout my life. It’s not the social thing that causes problems in adult relationships, it’s more that the other person is not thinking on the same wavelength. Let the kid be who he is and do what he does and be respected for who he is…

  3. I love him but thats more than 120 dB

  4. Important recap from what this kid says: People don’t come up with brilliant ideas because they are geniuses, but rather because they stop learning about the field and “become” the field they are passionate about and start creating.

    We are in for a treat on this planet with these evolved young ones coming in!!

  5. Susan McAulay

    I am torn. I am glad that Jacob has the opportunity to excel at what he is good at. A school system, by definition, does not work for everyone, no matter how teachers may want it to (and I am one). However much we may want to differentiate (and how good we are at it), I think there is only so far one can go when you have a class of 30 or more children with different learning styles and needs. That being said, I hope (and wonder) if Jacob is getting the social support that he needs to become a happy human being. It’s true that his brilliance will cause others to give him leeway, even from a social standpoint, ultimately, true happiness requires more than just being able to excel at something. Individuals who are on the spectrum typically need support to be able to in the world, with others. I hope he is getting that on the outside. If he is going to college, with those who are much older than he is, he does not have a peer group to interact with.

    • Greta

      Jacob’s mother said he was “slipping away” at special ed school, and in normal school he would be the juiciest of targets for bullies.

      There is almost never a perfect solution (for any of us) but I suspect Jacob’s parents’ decision would be as good as it gets.

    • Dee Lynn

      For Jacob, other college students are his peers. Kudos to his parents for listening to Jacob instead of experts (who looked at him as a diagnosis instead of as a remarkable individual) and for looking at possibilities instead of absolutes. From following the Macleans link and reading additional articles, Jacob can not only interact with a variety of age groups but instruct and lead. He is an amazing individual and appears to be happy and doing what he loves. It doesn’t get better than that.

    • Sandra

      He seems pretty normal to me. Not everybody needs to be a social butterfly with a bevy of confidants in order to be happy. Beyond high school, peer groups are comprised of people who share our interests, values, etc., and are not limited to physical age. So, I’d say he’s more likely to find a peer group to interact with in college than he would in middle school. Also, I doubt his chosen peer groups in college would be the drunken frats, partiers, or pothead slackers, even if he was 18-22. Finally, he seems to have strong, supportive, and loving family. Don’t write off his happiness so soon, just because he’s 14 and on his way to a Nobel prize. ;)

    • The implicit assumption in your comment, Susan, is that traditional schooling provides the social support that a person on the spectrum requires, at least to a higher degree than anything else (such as home schooling).

      Another assumption is that adequate social support is best achieved from a “peer group”, meaning a group of same-aged children, as opposed to a more diverse group such as can be found at home and in the local community.

      I challenge both assumptions, and invite you to do likewise :)

  6. Debbie

    Many things go into decisions for schooling of all children. It is unfair to characterize all schools as the same. There are laws that mandate certain “hoops” be jumped through in order to maintain funding. If schools were allowed to do what the teachers actually WANT to do, there would be less frustration for students and parents. The parents often request certain things for their child. They often want them to be treated just like the others and yet given special exceptions for their situation. When subbing in these classrooms, there is only so much that a sub is allowed to know, yet is expected to simply allow the student to do as he/she wishes without being able to maintain typical classroom behavior. Different grade levels and different students have different needs. And there isn’t any way for an observer to know exactly what is going on with every single child. Sometimes, in their zealous efforts to protect their child, parents can exacerbate the problem. There are even certain families with a lot of clout who can lead the district by the nose because of threat of lawsuits if their child doesn’t excel in a manner that they wish. YET, we are expected to evaluate and compare students to some magical grading scale. One kid may get a higher grade than another based on the allowances for the first kid. Other kids find it unfair. Some parents think that the only fair thing is that their own child be given every advantage while ignoring the needs of all the others.

    Teaching is a difficult balancing act. It is something that we keep with us 24/7 and through the summer. We care about kids and their future successes.

    I wish parents knew how to become comfortable with the choices that must be made and how much most teachers do care about those students.

    • You’re correct, it’s not the teachers who do not care, it is the institution of schooling itself. Institutions, by their very nature, cannot care about the individual. At best, and in theory, they are designed to satisfy the needs of the highest number of people, at the expense of the outliers. In reality, they mostly satisfy their own needs.

      It’s not helpful to pit parents against teachers on the issue of caring. The truth is that parents should be the ones who care the most about their children’s education, while the education system should only exist to assist the parents in nurturing and facilitating that education. It’s a far cry from what we see today.

  7. Pingback: Former Special Ed Boy Genius Is On Track To Win Nobel Prize In Physics

  8. Woah woah woah, calm down, you don’t get a Nobel Prize for being smart you know?

    • Mai Nakaharu

      Why not? I thought all you needed to do was be black and get elected president. You dont have to do much after that…

      • Linus

        So Mai, clearly you are a conservative, so tell me what has the conservatives done for the average american in the last 20 years… yes just one would suffice? Bush inherited a Surplus but destroyed the economy, Obama brought it back on track. Please be informed and not just opinionated.

        • Synova

          Linus… how does “conservatives haven’t done anything” relate to “Obama didn’t do anything and got a Nobel Prize?” Does one disprove the other? That Obama got his Nobel Prize for doing nothing but getting elected is an objective fact, not a partisan opinion.

  9. Pingback: Green Yatra Blog This Is What Happens When A Kid Leaves Traditional Education - Green Yatra Blog

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  12. Ken

    Traditional education forces us to repeat what we are told without thinking critically about it.History is written by the victors and an alternative view is not considered. Is the constitution even taught in elementary school today? No. Why, is it forbidden knowledge? We must conform or be ostracized. Critical thinking is relegated to post secondary education, if then. Challenge the existing view of physics and just try to get published. Our education system has an agenda, it is not very favorable to new ideas.

    • they probably dont teach the constitution in Canada.

  13. Pingback: This Is What Happens When A Kid Leaves Traditional Education | The Halau

  14. Curious

    What is ASD? Usually when writing an article or paper, you do not initially use abbreviations.

  15. Pingback: School & Experts Put Genius Boy In Special ...

  16. Rich Mehrenberg

    Being “free” of special education suggests the young man was somehow imprisoned by such services. The article implores schools to move beyond a factory mentality, yet ironically this is, by definition, what special education is designed to do. This article also ignores social and emotional challenges that Jacob will face due to his ASD.

    • tucker

      it obviously does a deplorable job in achieving the goal that it is designed to

    • Rich, So your decision would be teach Jacob better study habits and how to use a screw driver, then he would be on a par with his fellow high school students…that’s a goal? Come on, the guy’s special, let him fly, free.

    • anon

      So instead of allowing this kid to explore revolutionary new ideas in math and physics, you say he should be back in school so he can learn to talk to other kids more nicely? What emotional challenges? Do you see the look on his face when asked questions about the astronomy and math? Public school is definitely a prison for the mind. Imagine what this kid, at age 14, would be doing in school. Learning algebra or pre-calc?

      • Christie

        duh! He has autism. They react differently to people. Their reactions are different.

    • I think that was exactly their point, Rich

    • Serge

      Rich… the article says his doctor diagnosed him with ASD… it doesn’t say he has the condition. From inferences in this article, he may well have been diagnosed with ASD as a means to curb his creativity, as is often the case.
      At age 5 (20 years ago now), my nephew could dismantle an computer and reassemble it without loosing one single screw.. that is, not just opening the box, but completely take it apart, put it back fully functioning with every single screw and wire in place.
      When he entered the school system, his school and classes were over crowded and his main teacher didn’t want to deal with a creative and intelligent kid who asked questions, so she herself, without any medical degrees, diagnosed him with ADD and insisted his father (my brother) have him put on Ritalin so it would make her life easier (her words).
      My brother and his wife decided to pull him out and move completely out of that school district into another one, where my nephew actually thrived!
      Now he works for a very big company and manages their high end IT department like nobody’s business.
      Had he been put on Ritalin, all that would have been lost!

  17. Everybody should be given a chance to focus their studies at a early age. I just dont see any progress if specialization comes at a College level. Hell if I had the chance to program games since I was 13 I would not be struggling as much as I am now, instead my head was filled with a loads of useless material that I didnt even cared about.

    • Susan McAulay

      Most young people, in my experience, have no idea what they want to do when they are older and change their minds any number of times. Perhaps you were an exception. Further, there are things that one learns to be a citizen, a human being. One is not only an employee. While it certainly that is a reason for education, it is not the only one. A life is built on culture–music, arts, etc.

      • Synova

        Most young people don’t know what they want to do… but that’s not who we’re talking about is it? We’re talking about those young people who do know, or who think they know, and who are passionate about their interests. If they were being forced by parents that would be different. Being very good at something is empowering and wonderful. Why spend time being forced to do what you hate? Adults don’t put up with that. We do what we must, but we don’t do what we hate just because someone else disapproves of either our solitary habits or our gregarious natures or thinks that our hobbies are odd.

  18. Patricia Smith

    I read the book his mother wrote about his life story…. “The Spark”
    great book. I can’t wait for them to make a movie out of it. Go Jacob. :)

  19. Pingback: School & Experts Put Genius Boy In Special Ed. Now He’s Free & On Track For Nobel Prize - Eye Opening Info | Eye Opening Info

  20. Beyond wow.

  21. Pingback: Universe Explorers | This Is What Happens When A Kid Leaves Traditional Education

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