Worlds Smartest Kid
June 12, 2010 Leave a comment
The front door has barely opened before she comes running towards me beaming.
‘What’s this?’ she asks, forming fingers and thumbs into a pointy shape and peering through the gap.
Before I can answer she declares: ‘Equilateral triangle. Three sides the same.’
A lot of learning in a little package: Elise Tan-Roberts who has just become the youngest member of Mensa, with an estimated IQ of 156
Of course it is. I should have known. But then I’m not a child genius with a startlingly high IQ.
And Elise Tan-Roberts – aged two years, four months and two weeks – is.
She has just become the youngest member of Mensa, with an estimated IQ of 156.
That puts her two points higher on the scoreboard than Carol Vorderman, and comfortably in the top 0.2 per cent of children her age.
Here’s the best bit, though. She seems to be a sweet little girl with charming parents who simply want her to be happy.
Elise was little more than five months when she looked her father Edward in the eyes and called him Dada.
She was walking three months later and running two months after that.
Before her first birthday she could recognise her written name and by 16 months she could count to ten. Yesterday she did it again – in Spanish.
‘What’s the capital of Russia?’ asks her mother Louise, 28. ‘Moscow!’ comes the instant reply.
Indonesia? ‘Jakarta!’ It is tempting for outsiders to speculate whether this is a well-rehearsed performance instilled by pushy parents to show off their daughter’s extraordinary talent.
But it seems to have taken Louise and Edward, from North London, as much by surprise as anyone else. Until she started to communicate, all they noticed was a tendency for her to stare at things and at people, as if soaking up information. Later, at her playgroup, a mother gave her a toy animal and told her it was a rhinoceros.
‘That’s not a rhinoceros,’ said Elise. It’s a triceratops.’
Other parents convinced Louise and Edward they should have Elise’s intelligence assessed.
Inspired by the story of Georgia Brown, who also joined Mensa when she was two, they took her last month to see Professor Joan Freeman, a specialist education psychologist.
After subjecting her to a complex, 45-minute IQ test, she concluded in a written report that Elise was’more than very bright and capable – she is gifted’.
Bubbly: Elise and mum Louise. ‘Our main aim is to make sure she keeps learning at an advanced pace,’ says her father, Edward
Bright spark: Carol Vorderman who is also a member of Mensa predicts an exiting future for Elise
She was recommended for Mensa and accepted. Only those with an IQ of 148 and above – the top two percent – qualify. The average IQ is 100.
Professor Freeman concluded that Elise’s ‘superb memory’ was the source for her ‘excellent learning and progress’.
Reassuringly for mum and dad, she added that they were doing everything right.
Yesterday as Elise danced happily in the sunshine at her local park, Edward, a 34-year-old motor consultant and car-buyer, told me: ‘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.’
So what’s next – quantum physics maybe? ‘Give her another couple of weeks.’
Elise was born in London in December 2006 and can boast influences from England, Malaysia, China, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in her background.
There are doctors and lawyers in the couple’s extended family but none was a child genius, as far as anyone knows.
Louise works part time as an account manager for Pickfords removals.
Elise’s love of music and dance has encouraged the couple to put her name down for education in that area.
They have added her to the long waiting list for the Young Actors’ Theatre, formerly the Anna Scher school, which produced a string of celebrated actors; and for Chickenshed, which specialises in music, ballet, mime and dance.
Their major disappointment has been that none of the local state schools they contacted wanted anything to do with Elise until she reaches four and a half.
So what might the future hold? Carol Vorderman told me: ‘If she’s lucky enough to go to a school where she’s encouraged and stretched, she’ll continue to enjoy learning and she’ll have a fantastic time.