London: A four-year-old British Sikh girl has become one of the youngest in the UK to be accepted into the elite Mensa membership club of children with a high intelligence quotient (IQ).
Dayaal Kaur, who lives with her family in Birmingham, displayed exceptional learning abilities from very early on and had mastered the entire English alphabet by the time she was just 14 months old.
She expressed an enthusiasm to appear for the Mensa test, conducted online from home due to the coronavirus lockdown, and achieved an IQ score of 145, which puts her in the top one per cent of the UK’s population in the “very gifted or highly advanced” category.
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“We are delighted to welcome Dayaal to Mensa, where she joins a community of about 2,000 junior and teen members,” said John Stevenage, British Mensa’s chief executive.
“Her family can make use of the supportive parents’ network that has developed and we hope that as she grows up, Dayaal makes many lifelong friends and experiences some of the many learning and network opportunities that Mensa offers,” he said.
The journey to this recognition has not been an easy one for the family as they struggled to convince local experts that Dayaal needed access to the gifted intelligence programme within the education system.
Her father, Sarbjit Singh, himself a teacher as a Health, Well-being and Pastoral Lead, persisted to prove that his daughter indeed was gifted.
“Now there is official documentation that proves that she is way beyond her level. As parents, it is natural for us to consider our child is special, but in this case there is actual proof that she is one in a million,” said Singh.
“There is a big debate to be had about how we cultivate our youth and provide the right kind of support and education so that we don’t lose future inventors and high achievers,” he said.
Dayaal, whose dream for now is to become an astronaut and also to have a stable full of horses, took the test just before her fourth birthday in October last year.
Her parents explained what the online process would involve and she readily agreed in her usual spirit of “coming alive” in any kind of learning scenario.
In her assessment, expert Lyn Kendall recommended that Dayaal’s “ability and maturity” meant that it would be worth considering accelerating her beyond her peer group in a classroom setting.
“I am so glad we persisted because otherwise Dayaal would have been lost in the system and got frustrated when she didn’t feel like she was being challenged enough to learn new things constantly,” said her proud father, who was born and raised in Birmingham and whose family traces its roots back to Hoshiarpur in Punjab.
“Dayaal is equally enthusiastic when we are reading about Sikh history and has a fascination for icons such as Banda Singh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh so we try and do our best to make that learning fun. She hasn’t yet been to India, but we hope to go as a family someday post-lockdown,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dayaal has been celebrating her big achievement with her father, one-year-old sister Kalyaan and solicitor mother Rajvinder Kaur as she has worked out that she is a “genius now”.
As with most families, the Covid-19 lockdown has been tough because she has had to curb her sociable side but can’t wait to return to nursery and play with her friends again.