Four-year-old 'genius' girl joins Mensa

Apr 13, 2012, 10:16 IST | Agencies

Heidi Hankins, assessed with an IQ almost as high as physicist Stephen Hawking, stunned examiners with her extraordinary intelligence

A four-year-old girl has been accepted into Mensa with an IQ almost as high as Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. Brainy Heidi Hankins — who hasn’t even started school yet — sat an IQ test after staff at her nursery said she was so intelligent they were struggling to find activities to challenge her.

A little bit special: Four-year-old Heidi Hankins has an IQ of 159, just one point below Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein

The exceptional youngster impressed examiners with a impressive score of 159. The average score for an adult is 100 and for ‘gifted’ individuals is 130. She is only slightly behind scientist Stephen Hawking and legendary physicist Albert Einstein both with IQs of160.
What Heidi can do Heidi — who can already add, subtract, draw figures and write in sentences — was reading books for seven-year-olds when she was just two.

The test she took, is specifically designed for children her age and contains a mixture of problem-solving puzzles and word games. Heidi’s father, Matthew, hopes she can now skip a school year to ensure she is adequately challenged. The University of Southampton public health lecturer, said, “We always thought Heidi was bright because she was reading early. I was curious about her IQ and the results were off the scale. I got her the complete set of the Oxford Reading Tree books when she was two and she read through the whole set of 30 in about an hour. It’s what you would expect a seven-year-old to do.”

“She was using full sentences almost as soon as she started to speak and then taught herself to read using the computer aged 18 months,” he added. He further said, “She is not precocious, she is just a little girl who likes her Barbies and Lego but then you will find her sitting down and reading a book. We don’t push Heidi at all. She has taken up everything herself and teaches herself.” John Stevenage, chief executive of British Mensa, said, “Heidi’s parents correctly identified that she shows great potential. We wish them well and are pleased that they have chosen to join the Mensa network for support.” Mensa said Heidi’s IQ is unlikely to change as she gets older.

What is Mensa?
Mensa is the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. It is a non-profit organisation open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardised, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test.

Did you know?
Hollywood actress Sharon Stone has an IQ of 154. Shakira, the Columbian singer is also a ‘gifted individual’ with an IQ of 140. 

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