Getting the gifted an appropriate education
As many parents of gifted children have found out, getting a gifted child the education they need is often a difficult matter. Schools stonewall. Teachers prove deaf. No-one wants to know. If they do listen, barriers are put up. The "system" often does not want to make an exception. In the midst of all this, the gifted child suffers - from boredom, lack of stimulation, frustrated development and, perhaps, the gradual loss and submergence of their gifts as they lose the will to fight on. It is a sad and all too common occurrence.
Last year we tried speaking to the Vice-Principal of Ainan's school in an effort to secure some sort of assistance with educating him: access to a lab and the like. Nothing came of the conversation, except the statement that the barriers in place were immovable. We had done what we could and didn't try again.
This year, Ainan's school has a new Principal. By chance, his Principal sat down recently and had a chat with Ainan. She asked him about what his interests were. The topic of Science came up and he told her of his interest in Chemistry. They began to talk about it and, in the course of conversation, he drew her a periodic table, up to element 103, from memory, for her. This rather surprised her. The conversation expanded and he began to draw chemical structures on paper. Another teacher came in - a teacher who used to be the best Chemistry student in her school. The conversation broadened out, Ainan wrote chemical equations for her, to illustrate the conversation. By the end of this conversation, Ainan had achieved what a visit from his parents to the Vice-Principal last year could not: a conviction in the school staff that something must be done for Ainan.
We received a phonecall from the Principal in which she told us of the conversation with Ainan and her astonishment at him. She then voiced various ideas about how she might help him receive a more appropriate education. I was buzzing with happiness by the end of the conversation for, in all this time, we have been labouring alone on Ainan's behalf, without the assistance of anyone. Perhaps now things will change and doors will begin to open for Ainan.
It is premature to speak of her suggestions - but if any come off, I will report them here. If any of them come to light, Ainan will be in a much better position to develop his gifts according to his nature and needs. One of her ideas, in particular, is very exciting: something highly appropriate, which has never been done before, in Singapore - but I will only speak of it if it happens.
A chance conversation with the right person - his Principal - may finally allow Ainan to flourish. Let us hope so.
(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and one month, or his gifted brothers, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html I also write of child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted children and gifted adults in general. Thanks.)