Former Shows & Episodes

Parenting With Playdate Planet

Meryl Neiman

Parenting With Playdate Planet – What Important Lessons We All Can Learn From One Mom’s Story About Raising An Autistic Genius

My guest Kristine Barnett, author of The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism, pulled her 3 year old severely autistic son out of his special education pre-school in an attempt to return his childhood and try to re-connect him to the world by nurturing his passion for the stars. HIs special ed teacher thought that he would never learn to read or even communicate very much. Fifteen year old Jacob is now beginning a master’s program in theoretical physics at one of the top universities in the world. Jake happens to be a genius as well as autistic, but Kristine’s experience working with hundreds of children with a broad range of IQs and special needs has convinced her that all kids have a spark. She believes that we need to find and explore that spark to maximize the positive potential of our children. During this remarkable interview, you will hear Kristine’s story and perhaps discover how you can find your child’s spark. After listening to the interview, if you want to learn more about Jacob or Jacob’s Place, the family’s charity devoted to helping children with autism, visit You can also connect with Jacob and Kristine on Jacob’s Facebook Page.

What do you think? Should we be spending more time focusing on what children do well rather than what they can’t do? Could Kristine’s work be a roadmap for reaching children with autism? Are you the parent of an autistic or genius child? Send me your thoughts at