Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius by Kristine Barnett

To be honest, I requested this book because my little cousin is autistic, and more recently, my brother has been diagnosed with autism too. I didn't expect this book to be so engaging, and more than that, encouraging. (And I googled him, this story is true)

The Spark follows Kristine's journey to stop her son Jake's autism from taking him away. And her method is unconventional - stop therapy and let him do what he likes. This not only let him come out of his shell, but helped him develop academically. He's apparently working on a completely original theory that will put him in line for a Nobel Prize.

Here's a video of Jake himself; give it a look!

But if you ask me, the real hero is his mom. She didn't just blindly trust what the experts tell her, she went with what she thought was best with her son. Instead of focusing on what he couldn't do, she focused on what he could. And that has made all the difference (credit goes to Robert Frost for crafting such a beautiful sentence).

And she didn't just stop at her son - she went on to help as many other autistic children as possible. Apart from organising a free class for autistic children, she also tried her best to build a place where they could feel like they belong. To me, she's a role model for Christian charity.

To me, reading this book reminded me to just let my brother be. Of course, we have to make sure he has basic manners, but other than that, we should let him develop his talents as far as possible. He's no genius like Jake, but he's definitely talented in things like math, science and even art. What am I saying, he's good at English too! (He used the world "compromise" correctly at age 5). Ok, big-sister-bragging will stop now.

I recommend this book to everyone. Whether you need something encouraging, or just something engrossing to read, I think you'll like this book a lot. And if you have an autistic child/sibling/relative, you may find this book to be more important than you first thought.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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