Finding strength through structure and discipline
Newfoundland brings new opportunity, yet some strength for autistic athlete
Jackie Barrett became the “Halifax Hercules” by establishing himself as one of the premier powerlifters in the world. It could very well have been for the strength he and his family possessed in life.
Barrett was a healthy baby until the age of two, when things drastically changed.
His constant tantrums made him almost impossible to be around and he didn’t show normal intellectual development.
Doctors eventually recommended his parents, Bob and Jeanne, to prepare to place him in an institution.
He was eventually diagnosed with autism and a learning disorder, and his parents said they were informed by medical personnel Jackie was “never going to be anything.” His mother accepted the diagnosis, but not the reality. She set out to provide him with the best opportunity she could - quitting her job, enrolling him in school, and implementing a lifelong program committed to his development. Structure and discipline would be the staple of his youth.
“ I just said,‘ no way, this is not happening,’” Jeanne said, while sitting in her living room with a view overlooking the Bay of Islands and the Blow Me Down Mountains in the background. “ ... I knew I would have to work with him, I couldn’t expect