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 +

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Advice for Jena: early speech

Jena posted under First Words Of A Child Prodigy, that her gifted child began to speak at six weeks of age. She has encountered disbelief from her friends when she tells them of this - except for one who has witnessed it. Her account is beneath my post about First Words.

Now, Jena you wanted some advice on how to handle this situation. Firstly, you should expect disbelief to be widespread because people have little experience of early speech, even though it does occur, rarely, in extremely gifted children. It is clear to me, from your account, that your child is actually speaking - just as mine was - by using appropriate words in appropriate circumstances: it is not, therefore, just babbling.

Disbelief is not all you might encounter. According to research the first word of a child of the PG range is typically at nine months - though half will be before this since it is an average. The earliest speech in two groups of such gifted children, totalling 294 kids, was at six months. Therefore your child, Jena, is very much earlier than this. So you may actually encounter open hostility from other gifted parents, if you frequent "gifted community support groups" - since some of them, it seems are far from supportive, more like combatively competitive, jealous, or otherwise negatively oriented. Be careful, therefore, of discussing your child much in such groups until you get a flavour of the group: look for previously hostile or aggressive postings towards other parents, so as to know which ones to avoid. If they are aggressive to one parent, they will be aggressive to others.

It is likely that your gifted child will be very much more gifted than is typical since such early development in one area often goes along with early development in other ways, too. You have other children all of whom spoke between 6 and 9 months: these are early speakers themselves by all accounts. So, clearly, early speech is part of your genetic make-up.

Your child may have educational needs that far outstrip your ability to meet them. If your child has the type of character to enjoy solitude, books may be the answer there. Your child may also not fit in at school. Acceleration would be helpful - or homeschooling.

Remember when you relate to other gifted parents that very few children show this characteristic of early speech - and you may receive a negative reaction because of it. You will have to be strong and realize that many people are simply not nice to each other. Provide a warm environment for your child, encourage them - and strengthen them against the hostility they may receive for their gifts later.

Your child has great potential - such a gift could presage a very good mind to come. Just being being nurturing and kind will go a long way to providing what the child needs to grow up well-adjusted. As long as warmth is coming from somewhere, the sometimes hostile world won't matter so much.

I wish you luck and may post more advice in future. Feel free to comment. I hope you get to see this Jena. Thanks for posting.

(If you would like to read of my scientific child prodigy son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, seven years and three plus weeks, and his gifted brothers, then please go to: I also write of child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:47 AM 


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