By David Moye
Photograph: Solent News
In many ways, Heidi Hankins is like many other 4-year-old girls: She likes her Barbies and Legos and snuggling up with her favorite book.
But she’s a little different in other ways, such as her I.Q. The little girl’s score is a whopping 159, just below acknowledged eggheads like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, and way above the 100 score that is considered average.
With that remarkable score, she’s just been admitted into Mensa, an organization that only allows people whose I.Q.s rank in the top two percent of the population. Now the preschooler from Winchester, U.K., has the opportunity to participate in parties and cultural events with fellow brainiacs including sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov, Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis and former porn star Asia Carrera.
There are also younger members such as Oscar Rigley, who joined in 2009 when he was under 2-and-a-half years old, and Elise Tan Roberts, who joined that same year at 3.
But it wasn’t Heidi’s bright idea to join Mensa. Her father, Matthew Hankins, 46, a lecturer at the University of Southampton, came up with that one.
“We always thought Heidi was pretty bright because she was reading early,” he told the Hampshire Chronicle. “I happen to specialize in measuring I.Q.s in children, and I was curious about her and the results were off the scale.”
Hankins had a good idea his daughter was gifted from a young age. He said Heidi was drawing princesses and animals at 14 months and taught herself to read using a computer when she was 18 months old, according to the Daily Mail.
“Heidi has really flourished quicker than other children –- academically, artistically and physically,” Hankins told the paper.
Heidi is very intelligent by all accounts, but learning experts like cognitive psychologist (and Huffington Post blogger) Scott Barry Kaufman aren’t ready to hand her a Nobel Prize or a Pulitzer just yet.
“What we must understand is that Heidi can be extremely high in this one dimension but be a normal, average young girl on many other dimensions, including social and emotional development,” he wrote on The Huffington Post. “To become a genius takes so much more than just being high on one trait. It takes many, many factors coming together, such as drive, imagination, opportunity, perseverance, and just plain luck.”
Heidi’s parents are now looking at schools for her and are considering skipping a school year to make sure she is challenged by her work. It might not be easy considering she is already solving addition and subtraction problems, drawing figures of people and writing in sentences.