A four-year British girl has been hailed as a “child genius'' after being ranked just one point below Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking in IQ.

Heidi Hankins, whose father is a university lecturer and mother an artist, has an IQ of 159 as against the average adult IQ of 100. She has become the second youngest ever child to be accepted into the elite Mensa society for people with high IQs.

The record for the youngest Mensa member remains with Oscar Wrigley who was just two and a half years old when she was accepted into Mensa with an IQ of 160.

British Mensa chief executive John Stevenage said Heidi's parents “correctly identified that she shows great potential” when astonished by her “off-the-scale'' IQ test results they sent them to Mensa for confirmation.

“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,” he said.

Extraordinary intelligence

Heidi's father, Matthew Hankins, who teaches at the University of Southampton, said he detected signs of extraordinary intelligence when she was just two. She taught herself to read and was able to count to 40 at an age when most children struggle with numbers.

“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. The thing is 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 are really proud of her,'' he said.

Heidi's parents decided to test Heidi after her nursery told them they had no activities capable of challenging her. She is one of just 90 children under 10 to be accepted by Mensa UK.

Keywords: child genius

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