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 +

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kim Peek, Mega-Savant, dies.

Kim Peek, the internationally renowned mega-savant, has died of a heart attack. He was only 58.

Though he had a massive heart attack on Saturday morning, his death was not announced until today.

Now, I was rather surprised by his death - not because 58 year olds don't die - but because our lives had crossed, peripherally and so he seemed, therefore, so much more alive than he otherwise would have been.

Kim Peek appeared in the ITV show Superhuman Genius, along with my son, Ainan. Now, the two never met, their filming being in different continents, but they did appear in the same show. That fact gave me an awareness of Kim Peek, his life and his particular special qualities beyond that of the casual reader.

It is a far from gentle reminder of the fragility and unpredictabilty of life that Kim Peek should die the year following the TV show.

Kim Peek was primarily known for his phenomenally retentive memory and, by the end of his life, he had mastered fifteen areas, including history, geography, music, sports and literature. Though highly gifted in some ways, he was disabled in others, having poor motor skills, being unable to dress himself and having been born with a separation of both sides of his brain.

He was most famed for being the inspiration behind "Rain Man" - yet I think the real life Kim was far more interesting than the fictional character he inspired.

The world has lost a unique individual, who overcame great personal difficulties, to live a life that touched many people. He made a habit of travelling the world, to talk to large audiences and show them his gifts. In doing so, he helped change people's attitudes towards the disabled.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight 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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals. If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at:

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use Only with Permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:52 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good day Mr. Cawley. My name's Jesse (22, USA) and I'm an avid reader of your blog and I've learned SO MUCH. :)

You know, a kind of deja vu hit me while I was reading, "Tiarnan's morning toast", one of your blogs today.

When you mentioned your son's phrasing, "Another episode of Tiarnan (LOL)", and spoke about his energy, I suddenly understood that you really do think the WORLD of your kids and family. This particular blog got me wondering if my parents ever wrote in a journal or anything...something I could read about my [our] past and a time capsule.

As a son, it propelled me to think about my Mother's love and also about how she is so drawn to me. I have never really had to work for it. If I chose her for a Mother before I was born, I thank GOD for the choice because the kind of perfect love she's shown [like you show towards your family] has allowed me to grow into EXACTLY who I wanted and NEEDED to be and more.

I've started to try my hardest to reciprocate her love making breakfast here and there, studying thoroughly like she's wanted me to and showing her family-oriented JDrama movies when I see she's depressed, angry or sad.

This isn't exactly a CRITICAL response to your topic of choice, but I figured it might put a smile on your face to know that your daily observations & insight as a Father jump-started a really nice acknowledgement of blessings for me in my own life.

You and your family have a BLESSED and Happy Holiday Season!!

1:33 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your kind words and well wishes. If I have inspired a better appreciation in you, for what you have from your mother, then I have made a good change in two lives - and that is a happy thing to hear.

I think, too often, people take for granted what they are blessed with and don't see it clearly, until, perhaps, it is no longer there. The time to show appreciation, is when people are around to receive it.

Have a great Christmas...and send my own best wishes to your own family. (They seem blessed by a thoughtful offspring!)

By the way, what, in particular, have you learned from my blog? That would be interesting to read.

Kind regards

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

Thank you for your entry, Valentine.

I only find out now through your blog that Kim has died. I am saddened and surprised to hear that. I remember from Superhuman Genius that Kim's father was afraid of dying first and leaving his son alone. They were very close.

Kind regards,

6:07 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Maria. I was struck too by the particular poignancy that his father, Fran, should have been so concerned not to leave him alone. Sadly, he got his wish (not to leave his son alone) by surviving him.

His death is all the more sad because of his uniqueness. There has never been a savant quite like Kim Peek - and there are so few prodigious savants in the world (I have seen estimates that there about 50 alive, right now...which is pitifully few).

Thank you for your comment.

11:01 AM  

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