Mensa is the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. Founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a barrister, and Dr Lance Ware, a scientist and lawyer. They had the idea of forming a society for bright people, the only qualification for membership of which was a high IQ.
British Mensa has about 1,700 members under the age of 18 – this means that they all have an IQ of at least 132; the average IQ in the UK is 100. The Mensa Supervised IQ Test is suitable for children aged over 10 and a half years.
Younger children should be assessed by an educational psychologist to find out their IQ score – your local health authority or education authority can help you to find professionals in your area.
10 of the best ways to tell if your child is a Genius
- Reading: Many gifted children learn to read early. However, early reading is not a sign on its own: some gifted children struggle to learn to read, and many early readers aren’t gifted.
- Walking and Talking: Gifted children tend to walk and talk early. They have large vocabularies, and an unusual interest in words.
- Questions, Questions: Asking questions is perhaps the clearest sign of a budding genius. Gifted children are fascinated by how things work. They have an eye for detail, and are quick to spot inconsistencies.
- Arguments: The flipside of their analytical minds is that many gifted children question authority, and argue about every request or instruction. Joe Dennerly is a charming but iconoclastic six-year-old. “He has an answer to everything, including why he shouldn’t go to school, and why he shouldn’t work when he gets there – because he’s so bright, his arguments are always very well considered,” says his mother Shelley.
- Bad Handwriting: So many gifted children have problems with handwriting, the NAGC has produced a special booklet to help parents and teachers. Often, the problem is caused by the child trying to write too fast, but it can also be a sign of a developmental delay such as dysgraphia or dyspraxia.
- Sensitivity: Many gifted children are super-sensitive, physically and emotionally. They empathise readily, and some are oversensitive to environmental factors such as noise, and visual stimulation. This can cause them to react badly or retreat in to themselves in ‘busy’ situations.
- Creative Thinking: Gifted children enjoy an intellectual challenge, particularly puzzles, mazes and strategy games such as chess.
- Energy Level: They have high energy levels: many give up naps early, and as a rule, they’re not great sleepers.
- Experiments: Gifted children love to experiment. They get a real kick out of working things out for themselves.
- Your Job: Finally, you’re more likely to have a gifted child if you or your partner are involved in: engineering or electrical engineering, IT or computing, science, mathematics or music.