Friday, May 14, 2010

With Intervention, Wisconsin Student Thrives in School and Music

MADISON, Wis. -- When Christopher Xu turned 2, his mother’s worst fears were confirmed. The other babies at her son’s birthday party babbled, gestured and used simple words as they played and interacted with their parents and each other. But Christopher was different.
“He was locked in his own world,” Sophia Sun recalls. “No eye contact. No pointing. No laughing at cartoons or looking at me when I talk to him.”
Now Christopher is 11, and he will soon graduate from the fifth grade at Madison’s John Muir Elementary to head off to middle school. Thanks to the love and persistence of his family, powerful early training, insightful teachers and accepting classmates, his story has changed dramatically, and his remarkable abilities are increasingly apparent.
He is among Wisconsin’s most gifted math students, recently earning top state honors among 1,477 students in the American Mathematics Competition for grades 8 and under. In another math competition, he placed third against high school students. He is his school’s chess champion. He is an excellent musician with perfect pitch who’s composing his own work with the help of a UW music school doctoral candidate. And he’s a top city speller.

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