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, June 28, 2007

Starting at NUS High

Today, Ainan did his first class at NUS High, in Chemistry.

There is no doubt that Ainan is the youngest student there has ever been at the National University of Singapore High School for Mathematics and Science. Ainan, however, has cultivated an interesting age-blindness.

I asked him:

"How old are the other students in your class?"

He was quiet a moment, then said: "I don't know."

In a way, it seemed he was deciding not to let himself know. By not seeing their age, perhaps he was hoping that they wouldn't see his age - and therefore he would fit in, better. It is an interesting stance on the issue. I feel he doesn't want to get into a conscious awareness of the age issue. He prefers just to focus on the content of the class.

He enjoyed the class and was in a positive mood afterwards, though he did note that the level wasn't as high as he felt he could manage. We will see how the place shapes up over time. It may be that they always lag behind his actual level - or it may be that they will catch up at some point. This is, I feel, always a problem in matching a child of particular gifts with an educational system. Sometimes the system may not respond rapidly enough to the child's changing needs. This is one I will have to watch to see how they adjust, over time.

At least, now, though, he is actually studying science formally. Today was his first theoretical science class. All that he has previously achieved has been outside the context of a school: it has all been homestudy with a book, and with his Dad. We will have to see if NUS High School will bring anything new to the table for him. My hope is that he will learn things there that I could not have taught him myself - but I am not sure if that is a realistic hope. It would be good to think that they could add some unique value to the situation. I will just have to wait and see.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and no months, Tiarnan, seventeen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 4:56 PM 


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