A toddler has become Britain’s youngest Mensa member, aged just three – reading and counting fluently in seven languages.
Teddy Hobbs managed to gain access to the exclusive organization for the intellectual “elite” of barely three years and nine months.
Portishead prodigy Somerset can already count to 100 in six foreign languages including Mandarin, Welsh, French, Spanish and German.
Teddy, now four, taught himself to read when he was just two years and four months old – and can even read Harry Potter books now, if his parents let him.
Teddy Hobbs managed to gain access to the exclusive organization for the intellectual “elite” of barely three years and nine months
The Portishead prodigy, Somerset, can already count to 100 in six foreign languages including Mandarin, Welsh, French, Spanish and German
He even likes to relax – with a word search.
Little Teddy was accepted into Mensa late last year after breaking an IQ test with the group – he scored 139 out of 160 on the Stanford Binet test, shocking his parents, who had no idea how smart he was.
Beth Hobbs, 31, and her husband Will, 41, say they never expected their son, née Theodore, to join the group, and never even planned to even join.
Beth said: ‘We were told that three was the youngest age of anyone they had admitted to MENSA in the UK, although one in the US was two years old.
“Honestly, it’s a total fluke that he got in. We never tried to get him in, and even when we had him assessed it was to help him when he starts school in September – we never intended to get him into MENSA.
“We did an IQ test, where we basically told him he was going to sit and do puzzles with a lady for an hour, and he loved it.
“After he completed it, we were told by the MENSA children’s counselor that he was eligible — so we thought he might as well join.
“We were kind of like ‘Excuse me?’ We knew he could do things his peers couldn’t, but I don’t think we realized how good he was.
“We took him to daycare after that and he had to come home after that because he was so sad he had to stop doing puzzles. He will even do word searches to calm down.
‘He wasn’t even that interested in what MENSA is, but he’s just starting to understand that he can do more than other kids – so when school starts I think he’ll realize more.
‘We’re not sure how he ended up like this, my husband and I aren’t linguists – so we always joke that the embryologist must have slipped a needle or something to make him like that.
“Everyone we’ve spoken to has been fantastic because it’s been really hard to find support, but we have no idea why he’s so smart.
“He doesn’t currently qualify for autism or ADHD diagnoses — and because he’s so far ahead, it’s hard to get help for him with his learning at that age.”
Little Teddy was accepted into Mensa late last year after breaking an IQ test with the group – he scored 139 out of 160 on the Stanford Binet test, shocking his parents, who had no idea how smart he was
Beth Hobbs, 31, and her husband Will, 41, say they never expected their son, née Theodore, to join the group, and never intended to even join
Beth said: ‘We were told that three was the youngest age of anyone they had admitted to MENSA in the UK, although there was someone in the US who was two’
Teddy and his younger sister were IVF or in vitro fertilization babies.
Beth says that Teddy’s brilliance is a blessing and a curse, however, as he shows little interest in some of the more “normal” things a young boy enjoys, such as games and TV.
She said, “It comes with its challenges, my friends can say ‘oh should we have some cake’ and their kids won’t know what they’re saying, but Teddy will spell it right away and want some of it.”
“You can’t get anything past him, he listens to everything. He will remember the conversations you had with him last Christmas.
“When we had our daughter, we bought him a tablet so we could focus on her, but he was never hugely interested in playing games or anything like that.
Instead, he likes to use apps to try and learn how to count to 100 in Mandarin and other languages.
His idea of fun is that he likes to sit down and recite his times tables, and once even got so excited about fractions that he gave himself a nosebleed.
“That seems to be his idiosyncrasy, and we’ll agree, but we try very hard not to make a thing of it.”
The pair say they try to keep him “humble” given his brilliance, to prevent him from developing some sort of “superiority complex.”
However, for now, he is apparently oblivious to his abilities compared to other kids his age.
Beth added: ‘We’re slowly getting to the point now in the nursery where they’re starting to follow a more formal curriculum.
His friends can read a few letters of the alphabet, while he can read Harry Potter.
“I remember taking him to the nursery one day and saying I thought he taught himself to read—and they didn’t really believe me at first.
“Then they had a kindergarten teacher talk to him that day, and they just called me back and said ‘no, you’re right Beth.'”
Teddy, now four, taught himself to read when he was just two years and four months old – and can even read Harry Potter books now, if his parents let him
Mensa is an international high IQ group founded in 1947 that only accepts members above the 98th percentile of IQs worldwide
“Obviously we’re not letting him read Harry Potter – we’re choosing more emotionally appropriate books, but he’s basically at the stage where he can read anything we put in front of him.
“He also has a level of understanding now that makes it difficult at times. For example, on Remembrance Day he asked what war is and what the poppies are for.
“It’s hard to explain that to him when he’s so young, especially when he knows there’s a war in Ukraine — so he asks if that’s why we see the flags of Ukraine.
“He’s just more interested in conversation than what I expect my friends to talk about with their four-year-olds.”
He’s starting to notice though. He’ll look at some friends who have trouble reading and kind of say “how come they can’t” if he can – we’re just trying to make sure he doesn’t develop a superiority complex around it.
“His social and developmental skills are really paramount to us; we spent a lot of time trying to get these kids – so they must be good citizens.
“He has some ideas that he wants to be a doctor one day because he and his friend like to play doctor at the nursery, but if you ask him what he wants to be, he will just say that he wants to focus on being of a teddy bear.’
Mensa is an international group for high IQ individuals, founded in 1947, that only accepts members who are above the 98th percentile of IQs worldwide.