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Intelligence and Aspberger Syndrome

In a rare interview with The New York Times in 1982, Professor Kupperman said his memories of being a national sensation were painful. “Being a bright child among your peers was not the best way to grow up in America,” he said. ...
Originally broadcast from Chicago and sponsored by Alka-Seltzer and One A Day vitamins, “The Quiz Kids” aired every Sunday night. For a while Joel was the youngest and, because of his lisp, the most adorable of its contestants, precocious boys and girls who fielded questions about math, literature, sports and history, all sent in by listeners. ...
The show moved to television after the war, and the cameras did not favor a maturing Joel, who stayed on until he was 16, the dutiful son to a controlling stage mother, Michael Kupperman said.
Though the producers brought in younger and cuter children to field questions, Joel’s hand was always up, sometimes blocking the faces of the smaller children, which didn’t make for riveting TV, as Michael put it — a spectacle made only worse by Joel’s robotic demeanor, which made him seem priggish. ...
“All of us on the program experienced to some degree ‘child star letdown,’ but we remembered the actual experience fondly,” Richard L. Williams, the show’s other math whiz, now a retired diplomat, said in a phone interview. “It was a high for us. But Joel said it destroyed his childhood. When he was 6, I was 11. The program put stress on the smallest kids. They got the most attention and were the least equipped to deal with it.”

He added: “Once the show went on television they kept Joel, because he was so well known, but the general age got lower and lower. I’m guessing that experience was pretty sour for him. No real competition and no real comradeship.”
Joel was bullied at the University of Chicago, which he entered at 16. He studied math and was introduced to Asian philosophy and found a mentor in a visiting professor, who told him, as Karen Kupperman said, “You need to leave the country.”
Professor Kupperman earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Cambridge in England.... ...
“When we were dating that first summer, if a store clerk heard his name, they would invariably say, ‘I hated you when I was a kid,’” Ms. Kupperman said. ...
Professor Kupperman told his son, “There’s this weird notion that intelligence is a single thing, but people can be smart in some ways and stupid in others.”
- Penelope Green, Joel Kupperman, Scarred by Success as a ‘Quiz Kid,’ Dies at 83, NYT, May 13, 2020





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