Girl, 4, joins Mensa after teaching herself to read

A four-year-old girl has been accepted into Mensa after achieving a score of 159 on an IQ test, just a point less than science genius Stephen Hawking.

Heidi Hankins, who is officially brainier than Carol Vorderman (154), was spotted as being of a “genius level” of intelligence after she taught herself to read, add and subtract and was able to count to 40 at the age of two, having already started using a computer at 18 months.

The average adult’s IQ is 100 and in gifted individuals it is 130.

Her father, Matthew Hankins, 46, from Winchester, Hampshire, who works as a lecturer at the University of Southampton, said she had shown signs of high development from a very early age. He said: “We always thought Heidi was pretty bright because she was reading early. I happen to specialise in measuring IQs in children and I was curious about her, 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 is not precocious, she likes her Barbies and Lego, but then you will find her sitting down and reading a book. We are really proud of her.”

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, where we aim to provide a positive environment for younger members to develop.”

According to Mensa, the signs of a gifted child include an unusual memory, reading at an early age, intolerance of other children and an awareness of world events. A gifted child will also ask questions all of the time.

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