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 18, 2007

Tiarnan knows his animals

Yesterday, Tiarnan, thirteen months, saw a wild cat on TV.

As soon as the cat came on TV, he said, quite clearly: "Cheetah".

Now, oddly enough, it was a Cheetah, and not any other kind of cat.

Where had he learnt which cat this was? We have no idea...but it is quite telling that, at his tender age, he is able to make this distinction between cats. At a young age, it is more common for children to lump all animals together and give them one word as a broad category. It is rare to see a baby actually make fine distinctions between them: they are usually unable to see the differences between them, in a way which allows them to make a categorization. They usually can't express a label for the difference, either.

Later, he saw a Cheetah in a book and said the same thing: "Cheetah."

This ability to recognize animals and distinguish between them, is something he shares with his elder brother Fintan, three. There is a common thread, at work.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:47 PM 


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