The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Problem of Genius: how to find a peer group

Every child needs friends. Yet, for those who are gifted, or who have genius-level intelligence, that simple need is hard to meet. How can a child relate to his age peers, when his mind is like that of an adult? In truth, he can't. Some learn to adjust their behaviour to match the kids around "dumbing down", others don't even try, and so pass through school essentially alone. It is not a happy situation.

Ainan Celeste Cawley has friends...and people seem to like him. However, we thought it might help if he had more friends who were "on his level". One possible source that seemed obvious was to call the Singapore branch of Mensa, for we thought that they might have a group of highly intelligent children to interact with.

My wife made the call.

"Hello." She began, "Do you take kids aged six?"

A woman had answered the phone. "No, we don't." she said, somewhat snobbishly.

My wife began to ask another question: "Could..."

"And we DON'T take parents either!", she said, curtly.

That was the end of the call. We were both rather taken aback by this. The world over Mensa is thought of as a social organization for the intelligent. Whoever had answered the phone was certainly one of the least welcoming people we have encountered in Singapore - and distinctly lacking in the social skills department. Perhaps there are others in the organization, here, who are kinder and more generous of spirit - but they weren't answering the phone.

Perhaps other branches of Mensa, in other countries, have better mannered staff. We don't know. However, from our experience, if you live in Singapore, and you are thinking that Mensa might be a good home for your bright child, it would seem better to look elsewhere.

If anyone reading this has suggestions regarding suitable social settings for a bright child, please post a comment. Thanks.

(For further posts on Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, six, go to: )

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:07 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

American Mensa does accept children. I dont see why Singapore wouldnt. Maybe you can check here, or send an email:

And if that doesnt work there are many other high IQ societies you could get them into, a lot of them with much higher IQ standards. I dont know if any of them are located in Singapore, but it may be worth doing the searches to see if there are multiple societies there.

Heres a whole list. Some of these are online and may or may not have meetings:

Maybe searching for "High IQ Society" in the language of your country would get you more specific results.

I dont see how Mensa can afford to answer the phone like that, even if it is an elite organization only accepting 2% of the population. They make money off of testing and membership fees, and would not have any members if it werent for answering phone calls. It must have been a bad day or something.

Maybe the call right before yours was a prank caller and they thought you were him calling back.

Or perhaps you called the wrong number...

Imagine how they might have interpreted that question if it was a pet store? :)

6:11 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I would imagine that the reason Singapore Mensa doesn't accept children until the age of 10 (that is what I later found out), is that everything in Singapore is regulated by the Government: norms are established and adhered to. Perhaps they are under direction not to accept very young children...who knows.

I very much doubt it was the wrong number, but it could have been a bad day. I understand that they hire staff who, of course, may not perform according to the designs of the organization.

Thanks for your tips regarding high IQ societies. From what I have been told, Singapore is not really a good place for such organizations, the Officer from the Gifted Education Branch described a local gifted organization as "Not active".

In the social respect, therefore, we are left to our own resources.

Thanks for your post.

8:46 AM  

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