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Girl Becomes the Youngest Member of Mensa

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the village-of-the-damned dept.

Idle 31

Two-year-old Elise Tan-Roberts has become the youngest member of Mensa. With an estimated IQ of 156, Elise is in the top 0.2 per cent of children her age. At 5 months she could talk, she could recognize her written name before she was 1 and she will be ruling the world at 11. Her father says, "Our main aim is to make sure she keeps learning at an advanced pace. We don't want to make her have to dumb down and stop learning just to fit in. But she's still my baby. I just want her to be happy and enjoy herself."

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31 comments

I've got a question about this story (1)

mikecardii (978929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27779489)

How does one estimate someone's IQ at the age of 2?

Re:I've got a question about this story (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27779619)

If a child hits the 3-year-old milestones at age 2, the child's IQ is at least 150.

Re:I've got a question about this story (1)

Rosy At Random (820255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794183)

The development curve of young children is so variable that such precision makes no sense. There are a hell of a lot of late bloomers out there that turn out just fine.

Re:I've got a question about this story (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 5 years ago | (#27801311)

That's the news here isn't it. Mensa let an early tester in which is known to be in-precise. I'm guessing that Mensa doesn't expect more than about a 15 point gain from other children. 156-138 = 18, if you expect other kids to catch up a bit, a fifteen point difference between her child and adult IQs would leave a few points difference for good measure.

Re:I've got a question about this story (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 5 years ago | (#27801399)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_IQ_society [wikipedia.org]

sorry mensa's requirement is 132

a neat article.

http://www.audiblox.com/iq_scores.htm [audiblox.com]

Re:I've got a question about this story (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27802673)

That's odd, I got a 136 on their test and that was only in the 94 percentile, thus no mensa membership. Maybe data differs for us Europeans ...

Depends on the test... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27803411)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International#Membership [wikipedia.org]

the minimum accepted score on the Stanford-Binet is 132, while for the Cattell it is 148.

Re:Depends on the test... (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27803441)

Oh well, guess they were using the Cattell one then. Didn't really expect to get in anyway, was just curious :P

Re:I've got a question about this story (1)

ifeelswine (1546221) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810771)

If a child hits the 3-year-old milestones at age 2, the child's IQ is at least 150.

not always. there are actual conditions which cause milestones to be met early. one example that comes into mind is aspergers syndrome. kids with aspergers read exceptionally early, and often the parents are elated that their kid is some kind of genius because they are reading at such a young age. only to find they become socially awkward and are issued a slashdot account at age 12.

I feel sorry for her (1, Flamebait)

erayd (1131355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27781743)

Judging by the father's comments, she's all set to have a pretty lousy childhood. By all means allow her to learn stuff that challenges her, but not at the expense of doing all the things children should have the opportunity to do (like playing, socialising with friends etc).

"Our main aim is to make sure she keeps learning at an advanced pace."

Any father who has that as his primary aim shouldn't be a parent in my opinion.

Re:I feel sorry for her (1)

Ekhymosis (949557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27781987)

I have to agree with you. I don't know if these baby geniuses really can look fondly back on their childhood and say 'yeah, I had a great time.' without the shadow of their parents flogging them with 'you must learn this!' or 'you must do that!'
While their parents may mean well, the old adage of 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions' will no doubt ring true in this situation as well. Yes, give your child the best possible, but leave them to enjoy life rather than go blind reading and studying subjects that could very well be useless to what they end up choosing in the long run.
If she were my daughter, I would no doubt encourage a healthy education but mix it up with other activities. Much like the old fighting between the Confucianists and the Taoists of books vs. nature, there needs to be a balance that the child chooses, not the parents. Take her out, apply what she learned in those books in the real world. Have fun with gravity, blow up stuff with chemistry, launch a brick into the neighbor's window with physics, have her kick her cousin's ass with applied kinesthetics of martial arts, etc. Then when she's old enough to think and understand for herself she can use what she learned in her earlier years to choose whatever the hell she wants to do and I as her parent would continue encouraging and supporting her. Hopefully her father will ease up before she breaks.

Re:I feel sorry for her (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27789521)

How do you feel when everyone around you is wrong? They argue with you constantly over the simplest things and come up with the most desperate justifications for their work, because they worked hard on it (even if it is wrong). I don't think it's fair to say that she should not be smart just so she fits in. Those flash cards might not be as fun as going to the park, but the fact is that she is at risk of spending her entire adult life working with people that are about half as smart as she is. I don't think she should spend more time studying than any other child. But the fact that she does a higher level of work does not mean she is living a miserable life. The problem is that the most readily available education people have for her is geared towards older children. (stressful, but it's likely less stressful for her, not having to waste her days/years on simple problems.) Some smart people just wind up hating people cause they are all idiots and they run the show. Let her run her show and she will be much happier in the long run. Give her a supervisor with an IQ of 100 and she might suffer a nervous breakdown.

Re:I feel sorry for her (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27791143)

It's worth pointing out that it is important for her to learn how to work with normal people. But, the sophisticated relationship where she agrees with something that is not 100% sound AND where she realizes that sometimes she will be wrong and everyone else will be right is not going to develop in kindergarten/grade school. Nobody would put Michael Jordan on a High school basket ball team and expect everyone to get the most out of the situation.

I don't feel sorry for her (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795607)

On the other hand, if you give her a supervisor of average intelligence and a lot of experience that will at some point reach parity with the intelligent rookie. Another way to put it is "experience often trumps talent". Then there's someone with real talent that comes along. She's smart enough that she passed right through Mensa's requirement IQ. I think what scares you is placing her under too many expectations. A very valid concern for someone who is gifted (or anyone for that matter, average, below or above). In this case it seems both the parents and the schools they looked into are trying to do what's best right now for the child. It just so happens that the best thing on this path is to wait. What scares me, is the politics she might face.

But, one day she may face the experience of thinking she is smarter than she actually is. Which gives way to being properly challenged.

I think people just have to fail or struggle sometimes - it builds character.

Later in life everyone that's below average in one area understands the struggle. If you're above average the struggle comes from facing off with peers that approximate your average.

But this is all just my opinion. I'm by no means an expert. I am a computer tech by trade.

Future Geek? (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27797563)

Her education, if you should call it that, should include a wide variety of subjects. Certainly she should learn to excel at whatever her natural talents are, but her educators should also ensure that learns social skills, and other skills that would keep her out of her mother's basement submitting articles and stories to slashdot. And she should certainly learn makeup and dressing and all those other wonderful skills normal girls get to learn.

Re:Future Geek? (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 5 years ago | (#27800941)

That's the rub, though isn't it? If she's twelve and half way through HS, she will be intellectually capable of competing with her peers, but not emotionally. How much make up do you let a twelve year old wear if she's attending High School? You could say the same for athletics and possibly public performance.

Re:Future Geek? (2, Interesting)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812003)

Maybe she shouldn't go to High School until she's physically and emotionally ready. It's doable. All she has to do is sit jin the back of her Middle School Life Science or PreAlgebra class and attend Biology and Calculus via laptop and earbuds. In fact, her stupider but physically mature classmates who should have been held back to elementary school could avoid that stigma by telecommuting to third grade versions of the same courses.

I disagree. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27782237)

Having been in almost exactly the same boat, and having studied the issue to no small degree.

To make matters worse, I was young for my grade to start with, due to a quirk of when my birthday fell. Then, school officials decided that they wanted to skip me up a grade. My parents told them "no"... that I should be kept with people of my own age so I could "socialize" with "normal" people.

Both my own experience and studies agree: this is a bad thing to do. Certainly you should not force-teach children, but holding them back from learning what their minds crave, in the name of "socialization", does not work. In the first place, they will be alienated from people their own age, because their minds are working at a completely different level (156 is a pretty big difference... this is not just your typical "advanced" child). They will feel that they are being punished for being different. And second, they will feel stifled and bored because they are not learning up to their ability (and wants).

Recent studies show that it is preferable to allow a child to associate with people whose mental abilities are simillar to their own, with less regard for age. While they may feel somewhat out of place (as will others) because of their age, they will actually fit in better, and adjust to a more "mature" lifestyle better than they will adopt the lifestyles of their age-peers.

I am aware that this is counter-intuitive. However, I have been exposed to a great deal of research in this area, in part through local Mensa proctors, and even just general discussions and articles in Mensa literature.

Also, I should point out... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27782381)

that given a Standard Deviation of 16 (which if not exact is pretty close), this child is NOT in the upper 0.2% of the population (99.8 percentile). She is in the upper .005% of the population (99.95 percentile).

Doing the actual calclulations... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27782497)

I get an even bigger result. She is in the top .0002 % of the population... or 99.9998 percentile.

Re:Also, I should point out... (1)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27783411)

Otherwise every 500th kid would get articles written about them. That's a lot of journalism.

Re:Also, I should point out... (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27797577)

this article is about her age, not her IQ. Plenty of people are that smart, it's just that most parents don't gave them evaluated for Mensa at such a young age, and then go stick her face all over the web. That's what's unusual, the parents, not the kid.

Re:Also, I should point out... (1)

killertime (961322) | more than 5 years ago | (#27792203)

I get that if she's in the upper .005% she has to be in the upper 0.2% too.

Re:Also, I should point out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27793957)

Way to misuse statistics Jane!

As it says -- she is top 0.2% FOR HER AGE. IQ is a QUOTIENT dependent on age.

You're also blindly assuming a normal distribution.

Re:I disagree. (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27784065)

I agree with the parent.
Due to my birth-date and some weird Greek law I started school 1 year earlier than my peers...
Although, I never recall having any problems in school.
Other than my rebellious nature and my problem with elementary school teachers acting like rulers of the galaxy just because they have some power over 9 year olds...
Anyway that's not my point.
According to some on-line IQ tests I rank at 100, exactly at the middle of the IQ curve.
Despite that fact, on high school I could do 3-4 degree derivates in my head. For some reason I thought that that part of calculus was fun so I faced it with a different attitude.
Which leads me to my point which is....if you WANT to learn or be good at something you probably can be and with practice you will be...

Sorry if my thoughts were incoherent as I wrote them but I haven't slept for some 30+ hours.

Re:I disagree. (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788733)

I agree completely. While I don't have an IQ of 156, it's high enough that most of my school career (where I was not allowed to skip ahead) felt exactly like a pointless menial job that I didn't even get paid for. Imagine an adult whose job is to circle the shape that doesn't belong for 6 hours a day and they're not legally entitled to even try to get a better job.

NOT providing opportunity for her to be out of the mainstream is what would set her up for misery. The key is to recognize that her chronological, intellectual, and emotional age may not match up at all and their relation to each other will vary over time. The most sure constant is that her intellectual age will be greater than the chronological.

For those who advocate keeping her with her age group, consider that due to reduced ability to relate to her peers intellectually, she will lag behind emotionally and socially anyway. That lag might be smaller if she is advanced in school so that she has at least somewhat better ability to relate to her peer group.

Re:I disagree. (1)

Rosy At Random (820255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794245)

I think my experience shows that it gets rather complicated: due to my... shall we say, somewhat awkward social skills, I know a lot of people thought I was a bit of an idiot when I was young. And many still do. The general response when, at the age of 14, I scored 171 on my IQ test result was of disbelief and cynicism.

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27796351)

I have Dyslexia, and after finding that I had it they had me take an IQ test. My IQ is in the upper 160's, so I was perfectly capable of joining Mensa. The reason I didn't is because I found Mensa to be an opinionated bunch of jerkoffs who use their IQs to substantiate their opinions. High IQ doesn't mean you can be smart, it is only supposed to mean you are capable of a higher load of cognition than other people. However, ones ability to cognate is reliant upon a whole slew of other factors, including things like how much sleep they got, what they ate, their emotional status, weather or not they have a rash that's bugging them, and if the music playing on the radio is of a variety they like and is not distracting. In other words IQ is nothing more than a number that in and of itself proves little to nothing. A child's ability to learn is more dependent on their motivation to learn, how they have been taught to learn (experimentation, analysis, research, and other techniques), and how they view learning as a method of bettering themselves. If you teach your child how to learn for themselves, and instill in them a dream and a concept of a future them doing magnificent things then your child will be as "smart" as they need to be.

However, pushing your child into learning, forcing them to learn, increasing their education time too much, and depriving them of social experiences with children their own age is a dis-service to them and will not make them "smart". They need to want to do it themselves, from themselves, and they need to find it entertaining. If you push your child too much, or force them to with people of greater age because you believe people their own age are of a lower level, or keep them away from their own lives your children will end up hating learning and hating you.

Oh, and I minored in cognitive and developmental psychology at Stanford. Your Mensa proctors can suck my dick. Make your kid happy, show them how entertaining physics can be, go outside and engineer stuff with them, view legos and erectors as a learning aid, let them play video games that allow them to create their hearts content, provide them with anything that can help them create or imagine or learn or acquire skills and take every opportunity you can to teach them anything about anything. The rest is up to them.

Re:I feel sorry for her (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27783029)

I like her parent's attitude. Give her every opprtunity to learn and hopefully keep her away from the jackals^H^H^H^H^H^Hother children who will persecute her in the name of "socialization." I hope she graduates college by the time she turns 18. I wish I had.

Please, not at the expense of her childhood! (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788253)

As long as her parents don't push her to study instead of being a kid, I'm all for advancing her schooling. When the neighbor's kid knocks on the door asking if she can go out and play, don't deny her that and tell her she has 2 more hours of flash cards to study.

Kids, smart or not, are still kids. I'd hate to see her lose out on her childhood.

Re:Please, not at the expense of her childhood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27805583)

Yes, for God's sake, let's think of the children!!!

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