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, January 18, 2007

Tiarnan's sensitivity to music

Tiarnan, eleven months, likes music. He seems to understand it on an emotional level and responds to it with attention.

For the past few months, Tiarnan has had the habit of approaching our home entertainment system and selecting the button that would turn on music, and pressing it. It didn't take him long to learn which of the buttons, out of all of those available, would provide the desired result: pleasant sound. Yet there is a problem for him, which is comical to watch. You see to turn on the music, he must come close to the home theatre system. This means that the speakers are very near him. So, each time he does so, he walks up to the machine, reaches out with one pointed, straightened finger, touches the button - then walks backwards as fast as he can out of reach of the speakers. It is a race, as there is a slight delay before the music comes on and he always wants to be far enough away before the speakers come on, so that it is not too loud in his little ears. If he fails to get away far enough, he burst into tears at the sudden volume (though this is unusual since he usually succeeds in getting far enough away).

A couple of weeks ago, he showed an interesting variation on this. The radio was playing in the background, and a haunting piece of music came on - one which could be described as scarey. Tiarnan's response was to hurry over to the radio and switch it off.

I found this interesting, for it showed that he was able to pick up on the emotional meaning of the music - and decide that scarey music was just not for him. It is the only time that he has ever switched the music off, that I have witnessed: usually he likes it on, so I think that the act was a meaningful one.

(If you would like to read more of Tiarnan or his gifted brothers, including Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and one month, please go to: I also write of education, 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 @ 11:03 PM 


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