I'm pleased to read the Huffington Post's very own article on Jacob Barnett's first steps on the road from mute inability to speak to a place on Indiana University's campus, an I.Q. rating of at least 170, a cutting-edge understanding of quantum physics and the publication of research papers which are leading to speculation that the world may well have another Einstein on its hands.
I'm very pleased for Jacob, but may I sound a note of caution?
Jacob, like me, has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
He is 14 whereas I am 48, and although I openly admit I was born in another era when autism was much less understood, I fear the road to realizing an Asperger's true potential (in my case, creative writing, I can't add up for toffee) will be neither simple nor straightforward.
Among other things, I endured a journalist's training course so badly-run it nearly made me commit suicide, and a manager who had "taken a course" in autism but who said, when I complained to him about a blaring radio:
"Why can't you just block it out?"
Because I've got autism, you clot, but you don't want to know...
Then there was the nice old lady who, when I tried to explain broad spectrum disorders to her, just kept saying "everyone's a bit like that...", and the whole gamut of awful interview experiences where (I rather suspect) I kept coming in a glorious second because some sociably-adept neuro-typical always, always had the edge on me.
If this seems like a whinge, please take note that I did get there in the end and fulful my potential. I also acknowledge that society has changed a little since my younger days.
But it wasn't easy. Life is still hard and it remains unfair.
I hope Jacob Barnett doesn't have to go through the ordeals I did.
I hope that if he does, he will be able to learn from them, rebuild himself if necessary and move on.
But I cannot know for sure what the future will bring, and I pray to God he does not fall foul of Darwin's harshest law.
Good luck, Jacob. Don't try to run before you can walk.
James Christie is the author of Dear Miss Landau. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, at the age of 37 in 2002. He lives and works in Glasgow.Suggest a correction