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 +

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Reaction to a child prodigy: Singapore

What I am to describe is only a little thing, but I have never seen its like, before.

As you probably know, we went to NUS High School (the National University of Singapore High School) for Maths and Science, a couple of days ago, with Ainan.

We entered the reception, to enquire for the Principal. A member of staff approached and, as her eyes took in Ainan, she physically flinched. I will repeat that: she actually flinched - her head drew back a little suddenly, in a sharp revelation. It wasn't a huge action but it was there. Her face remained impassive - but she was unable to hide her physical reaction to Ainan. She was actually shocked.

That told me, immediately, that the greatest centre for scientific education in Singapore had never had a child as young as Ainan before - had never had a child even remotely of his youth - otherwise she would not have been shocked. I understood then, that there were no other primary school children in this school.

Everywhere we went, people would stare silently down at Ainan. With him by my side, I became invisible - all eyes were drawn to him, from student and staff alike.

It is only in such moments that I am reacquainted with how unusual Ainan is. I have watched him grow up. I have become accustomed to his every nuance of character and intellect. To me, it is the usual, the normal, the everyday Ainan. Yet, in a school dedicated to scientific excellence, I am suddenly confronted with the first impression of others: that Ainan is an example of something unheard of, someone unparralleled in the history of that school.

Perhaps, as a father, I should remember that perspective, alongside my own understanding of Ainan. Perhaps it can lead me to better prepare him for the world he is soon to become involved in.

(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and three months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, three, and Tiarnan 13 months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, baby genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:22 AM 


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