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, July 08, 2010

Ainan's uncanny attention to detail.

Ainan has always been observant. Just how observant has become clear in recent conversations.

Ainan has been watching Transformers Revenge of the Fallen. He enjoys this for reasons that are probably quite beyond Michael Bay. Ainan has taken to analyzing the most minor detail of this film: gesture, by gesture, word by word, action by action, frame by frame, he comments on it...from memory. Then he shows me what he means. In doing this he has noticed quite a few errors in the film - even basic continuity errors. He is very perceptive at this: much more so than whoever edited this particular work together. Perhaps he could make a good living, on the side, watching films and then writing a list of all their problems.

What amazes me about all of this is that what Ainan notices often occupies just a few frames of the screen: he picks up on the most minor issues, he notices every flaw, every nuance, every intended effect and every unintended result. In one example, for instance, he pointed out that in one frame, a transformer was beginning to use its right foot to crush an enemy, in the next cut, we see the same robot has just crushed the said enemy with his left foot. Ainan saw this in the rapid blur of the Transformers battles. Anyone who has seen the film will know what I mean when I say "rapid blur". He seems to have an internal view of the film, which he plays back to himself, noticing every little problem. Perhaps he does: perhaps he sees it all in his inner eye and is able to reflect on it. It certainly seems that way when he talks about it: he seems to be seeing it as he speaks.

Of course, this degree of and detail of observation skill are very useful in many more important issues than watching a film. They could make him a very good scientist - or if his interests develop in another way, artist. After all, one of the best observers in history, was no other than Leonardo da Vinci. So, observation skill is not a minor gift, but a very important substrate on which many other achievements can rest.

I can't say at this time what use Ainan might put this observation skill to, but I can say this: whatever he does, I am sure it will astonish people, who actually get the chance to hear him speak and think on his feet. For, in some ways, there is no more surprising a thing, than to just listen to what he actually manages to notice. For me, however, I am used to this kind of thing from him, but to many, who have not, it would be a real shock.

Happy looking at the world, Ainan. I hope you continue to see in it, what others miss. Perhaps that will be one pillar of who you become, one day: actually seeing, truly, what is in the world.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to:

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at:
Ainan's IMDB listing is at
Syahidah's IMDB listing is at

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:45 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Valentine!
I discovered your blog about a week ago and gained much interest. I have been reading about Ainan for about a year now, and I was looking for more information on him. This blog has been very useful.

I began looking at your first post and went forward from there, but eventually I jumped to the current posts because I don't want to fall behind, so I will now be going backwards.

What I didn't expect from this blog was to see many similarities between Ainan and I.

Ainan, first of all, seems very interested in science, as I am, too. Ainan is very advanced, I know that for sure, and although I still don't know if I am gifted, as I have never been tested, I believe I am in an advanced range.

As I went on reading, I found your post on teachers being the bullies. I forget the exact title, but I believe it was some point in 2006 or 2007. That really stood out for me, as I have been ignored by certain teachers, and misunderstood by them. When I was younger, although old enough that all my classmates were able to read, my teacher saw me reading a book, as we were all supposed to be doing, and he got the idea that I wasn't even able to read at the level I should be, possibly even thinking I couldn't read at all, and attempted to read to me.

Even my parents have had doubt in me until very recently. My father recently said that he believes I have been intelligent throughout my entire life, but he has not realized it, which explains to me why many of my teachers seemed to have doubt in my abilities- I was being very secretive in my gifts and interests.

I have gotten some support by my current teacher, as he listens to my ideas, and sometimes even attempts to research them to see if they are in any way possible. For example, although a basic one, there was once a large bird circling around the school. I kept quiet about it, but eventually another student sees it and announces the presence of it. My teacher then stated what type of bird he believed it was. Later on, I attempted to correct him, and he researched the bird I had stated, as he had never heard of it, and said it was a possibility. Just little things like that give me hope for my future.

Ainan, however, has a difference from me that I believe stands out quite well. Ainan, as I believe you have also previously stated, has many questions which he then attempts to find an answer to. I too have many questions, and I do try to find answers, but Ainan's seems to be more specific, and by that I mean he gets very deep into the subject. My questions are far more general, and I sometimes have trouble thinking up questions, while Ainan, as being gifted and a scientific prodigy, of what I have read, seems to constantly have amazing questions that only some of the most intelligent people could think up.

You have also wrote that Ainan will have projects and experiments he enjoys doing, and with his own will. I do this a lot, in fact, it is one of the only things I do. My classmates have joked about it a lot, but I think of it as a good thing that gives many great results. I now just have to try to work on being a bit more social.

To conclude, I appreciate you writing this blog, as it has given me many tips, and also teaches me about Ainan and his brothers, who I have wanted to know much about. :)

10:06 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for sharing your experience of teachers and education. Yes. It is quite possible to be gifted, yet overlooked, particularly if you are introverted as I guess is the case.

Your tendency to question make grow more specific over time, as your knowledge deepens. So I wouldn't worry about it.

I am glad you find both similarity and sustenance in my blog. It is hard to be gifted sometimes particularly if one is misunderstood. So, it helps to glimpse the lives of gifted others, I would think.

It is good that you now have a teacher who engages you. Your experiments too are a good way to nurture your abilities, so I hope you continue with those.

Thanks for writing. Good luck.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I ask how old Ainan and his brothers are at the moment?

7:17 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...


Like it says in the information at the end of each blog post: Ainan is 10. Tiarnan is 4. Only Fintan needs updating, since he turned 7 a few days ago.

Why do you need to know?


9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just curious to know the boys ages. Knowing how intelligent they all are something just made me very curious.

Happy birthday Fintan!

7:45 AM  

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