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, May 25, 2008

A child prodigy's acceptance by others

On Friday, 23rd May, Ainan was at Singapore Polytechnic, working the Fragrance Chemistry lab.

As usual, he performed an experimental investigation along with his colleagues. Of course, the unusual thing about this is that these colleagues are two and a half times Ainan's age - or thereabouts. How does he get on with them? Astonishingly well, actually. He jokes with them - and they laugh at his jokes. He talks with them and invents activities as interludes while waiting for reactions to occur - which they join in, with him. He is treated as an equal. It is most reassuring to watch. Yet, sometimes this leads to strange occurrences.

At one point, a female student (who was from outside his normal group), pointed at a gap in Ainan's teeth and asked: "Why don't you have a tooth?"

I looked at her, a little surprised and said, softly: "Because he is of the age when children lose their teeth".

She looked stunned: "Oh...I forgot."

I thought the incident was very telling of how fully Ainan has been accepted by his fellow students. The fact that he is an eight year old has been completely forgotten by some of them. He has become, for them, just another student - though smaller than a typical one. His presence is now so normal for them, that they have come to forget his unique position - he has, therefore, managed to blend in, in a way, despite standing out, so clearly, physically.

I had thought that this situation would take a very long time indeed, to develop. I had thought that acceptance would be long in coming. However, it seems to have been almost immediate. One thing that has helped, I feel, is that Ainan is very comical and jovial. He always gets the other students laughing at his jokes and his observations. I suppose it makes it much easier for them to accept the "little kid" when he also happens to be funny.

This moment, for me, will become, I believe, an emblematic memory of Ainan's acceptance at the Polytechnic. Nothing could be more simple, nor more powerful an indication of his psychological acceptance by others, than that they should puzzle over the loss of one of his milk teeth.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and five months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and ten months, and Tiarnan, twenty-seven months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind, niño, gênio criança, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 1:04 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

well,he is a sagittarian!

6:41 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, he is. I hadn't considered it. So, you made me just go and look up what is normally considered Sagittarian traits. Oddly, one of them is "good conversationalist, humorous...intellectual". Among the ideal careers was listed: "research scientist". How bizarre. Perhaps I should do a post on it.

Thank you for pointing this out. It is fun to notice the inexplicable correspondences.

Incidentally, it said that Sagittarians are most compatible with Aquarians. Guess who is Aquarian? Little old me: how funny.

Best wishes.

7:04 PM  

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