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, November 14, 2006

A triumph over teacher bullying

Often what is said in comments gets lost, so I am going to draw your attention to a success story here. Anna Stanton is a parent, from England, of a gifted child, who has posted a comment a few times about her child's situation. Her son Jack, was not being treated well by his reception class teacher. Jack is six. His teacher had even resorted to destroying his creative work, shouting at him and isolating him from the rest of the class, face against the wall. These are all signs of bullying.

Among the many possible solutions I suggested, was the one adopted: speaking to the Principal regarding moving class. That was done. The move was allowed - and now Jack is much happier, being taught by a teacher who is himself gifted. This is the best solution of all: a teacher who knows giftedness by possession of it. His new teacher accepts him for who he is, sets ability appropriate work - and rewards him for the signs of creative production he shows. I am happy for Jack - and his mother.

Thus, if your child is not happy in school...don't let the situation continue: act, for action brings rewards, when done carefully.

The beginnings of this story is found as a comment under The Confederacy of Dunces at:

and continued at Are you the parent of a gifted child? at:

If you would like to learn about my scientific child prodigy son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, six, and his gifted brothers, go to: I also write of child genius, adult genius, prodigy, savant, and gifted children in general. Thanks.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:15 PM 


Blogger Punn Siwabutr said...

Punn's K1 teacher when he was three couldn't understand why he made huge black scratch marks all over his coloring of a flower.

Two things came to mind, one, why make a 'boy' color a 'flower'. Or, he had made the scratches because he was really frustrated and being a perfectionist doesn't help! I recalled many, many rough papers thrown to the bins at home when he couldn't get a drawing or sketching exactly right.

Well, his teacher called to meet parents, we were asked whether he was having any 'stress' at home (which of course, there was none)! At this teacher's recommendation, he was sent for 'assessment' for 'special needs'.

That led to his assessment report (by an education psychologist with 20 years' experience on giftedness) at 4 years 2 months that he was gifted.

It was fortunate we found out early and confirmed our suspicion. Since then, we have carved out and learned along the way, the strategy of providing full education/ mentoring at home to supplement school which for us was meant for him to learn to 'socialise' with age peers.

This was not an ideal situation, as most of the time, his peers couldn't understand him. His class contributions during many lessons were equally shot down by misinformed teachers and friends.

The most he was acknowledged with as expressed in school reports was that he had vocabulary beyond his years, was the 'walking encyclopedia' for the class and that friends really benefited when he contributed his vast knowledge and insights.

The school does not cater to gifted 'at all' but we did have some good teachers along the way, which has enabled us to keep him at school.

One teacher who first spotted him as being 'gifted' herself had two grown gifted children. One of them was able to spend some time over the summer with Punn and act as his first 'mentor' at Year 1, when he was five.

We kept up the 'mentoring' program ever since as school cannot cater for his quest for knowledge and to provide him the self-assurance he much needed. We hope with this, he can find peace with himself and be able to co-exist with his classmates.

As I mentioned earlier, adjustment came easier with age. Now that he's going to nine and understands how the world works for him, he's taking things in his stride, more or less.

Whether he has fulfilled his full potential, who knows? We as parents have to be on the lookout to provide all that he needs.

So far, he has been exposed to high school science and vast scientific knowledge through various media. He has learned to draw 3-D animation of own-designed jets flying over a desert (of course!) using an advanced computer program. He has published four comic books with 12-13 years old friends on the Internet (Internet Writers Inc. - his chosen company name). He has built (with help) and programmed his first robot. He’s also a history expert on World War Two.

We do have to be kind to the teachers and believe they take the child’s interest at heart. But there’s so much they can do with limited time and resources at school, so outside supplement is vital!

Punn’s latest read happens to be Sherlock Holmes, so he may learn to be detective of life, and uncover clues along his journey. Good luck, Punn! Well, he’s off to a swim party tomorrow – life’s gotta have some fun, right??


3:46 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Pook

Thanks for sharing, once more, about Punn.

Teachers will only understand a gifted child if they have personal experience of giftedness: otherwise the misunderstandings can be grave.

It is good that one teacher, at least, has seen Punn for what he is.

I am happy that Punn has mentors. Few gifted children have those. They usually just have incomprehension and fair amounts of solitude, instead.

I think you are creating a balanced life for Punn - which is not easy. Well done.

Best wishes

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

I remember such a situation well. You pretty much described my entire school life. It happened at my first secondary school, and it got worse at my second secondary school. In those times, places in schools were allocated by place of residence. Today there are many more options available to parents and (gifted) students.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I hope my post helped you in some way, then, Maria.

Best wishes.

8:52 AM  

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