Child prodigy reads, gives medical tips aged three
Boy from near Pisa shows remarkable self-taught talents16 July, 13:42
The boy, Ettore, has also mastered use of the television remote control so he can flick through the TV guide on teletext and make viewing suggestions.
What makes the story even more remarkable is that his parents from the town of Perignano near Pisa say the boy taught himself almost all these skills, just by observing adults. ''We started teaching him the alphabet for fun. We would never have imagined his abilities would develop like this,'' said Ettore's father Francesco Grillo, a 44-year-old artist specialised in portraits and reproductions of famous works.
''Then when he was about two he started to read newspapers and TV guides. Initially we thought he memorised phrases and repeated them parrot-like. But then we realised he was reading for real''.
Experts from the local hospital at the Tuscan town of Pontedera are impressed.
''Usually learning to read is a process that takes place at a much later stage, at school age, and it's a gradual process'' said Dr. Amerigo Celandroni, the head of the hospital's paediatric clinic.
''In Ettore's case though, he had not been taught, and yet he reads fluently''. His parents said they have to be very careful about what they say around Ettore because of his powers of comprehension way beyond his years, as shown in his mysteriously acquired know-how of medical matters.
''One day I was talking to my wife about a health problem I had,'' Francesco told Tuscan daily Corriere Fiorentino. ''Ettore heard and recommended a medicine. I checked up and saw that it was right for my case''. His parents said they were concerned about whether the three-year-old's abilities would continue to flourish when he starts pre-school in September.
''Let's hope it's a good thing, although we are worried'' the father said. ''What if he loses this gift there? ''I don't know what he'll do with these qualities when he's grown up. The important thing is that it's the right thing for him. Maybe one day this fame he's having will come in handy''.
photo: Ettore Grillo.