Unusual Invite Gives Gifted Boy A Chance To Belong

Unusual Invite Gives Gifted Boy A Chance To Belong
Unusual Invite Gives Gifted Boy A Chance To Belong

They are amused by his presence, but also inspired. Young Noah, meanwhile, is content, though a little nervous to be taking part in a workshop usually reserved for medical students, not for precocious eighth-graders.

He is here because he was invited, because the director of the summer program at the Indiana University Northwest medical school saw something in this young man – perhaps a bit of the boy he himself once was, a kid who also liked reading and studying more than sports.

“I’m technically a nerd, and I hang out with other people who are technically nerds,” Noah will tell you. He says it in a matter-of-fact, Dr. Spock kind of way.

The invitation came at a good time. “He was losing his optimistic outlook,” says his mother, Cindy Egler, who worries that school has become too little a challenge for her son.

Also, some of his peers have been increasingly giving him a hard time. They aren’t always sure what to make of this quirky but good-natured boy who was diagnosed when young with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that Noah talks about freely.

There’ve been signs of it since he was a baby, when his father would put him in a backpack carrier and mow the lawn, just to get him to take a nap. The noise, they say, drowned out the distractions for a mind that, even then, was curious and difficult to settle.

They are amused by his presence, but also inspired. Young Noah, meanwhile, is content, though a little nervous to be taking part in a workshop usually reserved for medical students, not for precocious eighth-graders.

He is here because he was invited, because the director of the summer program at the Indiana University Northwest medical school saw something in this young man – perhaps a bit of the boy he himself once was, a kid who also liked reading and studying more than sports.

“I’m technically a nerd, and I hang out with other people who are technically nerds,” Noah will tell you. He says it in a matter-of-fact, Dr. Spock kind of way.

The invitation came at a good time. “He was losing his optimistic outlook,” says his mother, Cindy Egler, who worries that school has become too little a challenge for her son.

Also, some of his peers have been increasingly giving him a hard time. They aren’t always sure what to make of this quirky but good-natured boy who was diagnosed when young with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that Noah talks about freely.

There’ve been signs of it since he was a baby, when his father would put him in a backpack carrier and mow the lawn, just to get him to take a nap. The noise, they say, drowned out the distractions for a mind that, even then, was curious and difficult to settle.