Child Prodigies the Objective of Term Paper

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(Derek Van der Mewe,

Reasons that children under seventeen years of age should not be allowed to attend a college university educational setting include the fact that all child prodigies enabled to attend universities do not as their outcome stories to tell relating great success and achievement and in one example, the individual, Sufiah Yusof is stated to have: "...fled Oxford University in 2000, aged 15, after her third-year exams. When police found her after a huge hunt, she blamed her parents for too much pressure, never finished her course and became an administrative assistant for a construction firm." (Frean, 2007)

In a separate story related in the work entitled: "Young + Brilliant, Blessed + Cursed" (Hartigan, 2005) writes that a young man of the age of fourteen named Robert Mercer who would: "...easily pass for much older than 14, were it not for his self-conscious giggle and the telltale teenage skin." (Hartigan, 2005) Robert is: "...equally at home discussing Greek history and shoot-'em up video games..." (Hartigan, 2005) the story of Robert relates that this young man from Arlington, Virginia went through a "dark period throughout 2001. He didn't feel normal when he played with children his age in his community, and he noticed that some of his friendships were slipping away, a phenomenon he likens to a rock shearing during an earthquake." (Hartigan, 2005) His mother states that she knew something was terribly amiss when Robert "deliberately flubbed an intelligence test that year." (Hartigan, 2005)

Hartigan states that Robert "is what is known in educational parlance as profoundly gifted, a category defined, by one measure, as having an IQ greater than 180...he decided to throw this particular exam because he didn't want to be gifted anymore." (Hartigan, 2005) it appears that the problem started when September 11, 2001 occurred and Robert, only ten years of age at the time "felt compelled to study the geopolitical reasons for the terrorist attack. Intellectually, Robert understood the conflict as an adult would, but emotionally, he hadn't developed the defense mechanisms to distance himself to the horror. That dissonance nearly pushed him over the edge." (Hartigan, 2005)

While it is clear that these child prodigies cannot be merely ignored or left to while away their fantastic intellect in boring classes that they are far advanced beyond allowing and enabling them to enter a more mature social world than they are prepared for stands to cause irreparable harm due to delayed or disrupted development of these individuals due to over-exposure to mature subject matter.


Arising from the course of the foregoing study are recommendations for future research in the area of child prodigies and the proper educational framework upon which the theoretical basis of child prodigies should rest and furthermore, research in the area of specialized educational classes and training for development of the area of the child's expertise should be researched in combination with the proper level of socio-cultural development to accompany this specialized instruction of the expertise of the child.


While it is clear that it is critically necessary to provide formalized education for child prodigies and that society has a responsibility to ensure that these children have the potential to develop at the rate they are capable and to received stimulating and challenging education it is just as clear that entrance into college by those under the age of seventeen years of age presents far too many ethical, moral and legal considerations therefore making it extremely important that research be applied in this area in order to develop a model upon which formalized educational opportunities exist for the child prodigy population existing around the globe.


Frean, Alexandra (2007) Can the Child Prodigy Work Out if He Should Go to University Aged 7? Times Online 10 Nov. 2007. Online available at

Hartigan, Patti (2005) Young + Brilliant, Blessed + Cursed" News 6 Mar 2005. Online available at

Merwe, Derek van der (nd) Reflections on the Impact of…[continue]

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