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She is 2 and a half years old.  She took an IQ test and just received her Mensa membership card.


Isla McNabb scored in the 99th percentile on an IQ test in May.

Isla McNabb of Crestwood, Kentucky, holds her Mensa membership card. (Photo courtesy of Amanda McNabb.)

Shortly after their daughter Isla turned 2, Amanda and Jason McNabb began spotting strange patterns of multicolored plastic toy letters around their home in a suburb of Louisville.

Next to a chair: CHAIR

Near the sofa: SOFA

And next to the Amazon Fire Stick remote: TV

Even Booger did not escape identification. Alongside the family tabby cat, the McNabbs found another set of now-familiar capital letters, this time spelling CAT.

The culprit: their toddler. Isla’s colorful captions prompted her parents to have her IQ tested in May as she approached 2 1/2, the McNabbs told The Washington Post. At the end of the month, they got the results: Isla had scored in the top 1% of the population. Her performance qualified her to become a member of Mensa, an organization of people who score the top 2% on IQ tests.

This makes her one of the youngest Mensa members in the country. In 2019, American Mensa spokesperson Charles Brown, while speaking about a 2-year-old Texas child who became a member of the organization, said the boy was one of three members under the age of 4. and one of 56 under 6 years old.

“It’s out of 50,000 members,” Brown told the WFAA.

As for Isla, her father, Jason McNabb, 43, said there were a few times in the early years of his daughter’s life that the hair on the back of her neck stood up – which he called ‘scary moments’ that made him think something. exceptional was happening.

But they became more than fleeting moments and gut feelings by the time she turned 2 in November. Isla had an affinity for the alphabet and had sounded out the letters on her own. So her mom and dad — an auditor and a dentist, respectively — gave her a tablet as a birthday present. After writing a few letters, Jason showed Isla how to sound them out. Wondering if she could piece those letters together, he wrote down the word “red.”

“She probed him and said, ‘Red,'” Jason said.

The McNabbs tried ‘blue’, followed by ‘yellow’ then ‘purple’. Isla has them all. Then her mother thought of the one she was sure would crush her daughter: “orange”.

“There’s no way,” Amanda, 38, told The Post, recalling what she was thinking at the time.

Isla also had orange.

“Everything we threw at her, it just seemed like she picked it up right away,” Jason said. “It was amazing.”

After that, the McNabbs continued to teach him new words. Almost always, she could pronounce the letters phonetically until she was able to read the word. His parents started keeping a list. When they started, Isla’s vocabulary was around 100 words. It quickly went to 200. They stopped counting at 500.

“Now she can just read,” Amanda said.

During a doctor’s appointment for the past two months, the McNabbs told the pediatrician that Isla could read. The doctor assumed they meant that she had memorized stories that her parents had repeatedly told her. Jason and Amanda then directed Isla to a poster in the doctor’s office about the danger of leaving babies alone on an exam table. Isla read every word.

“Oh! She can read,” the pediatrician said.

Isla’s learning wasn’t limited to reading, which most children start doing around age 6 or 7. She started counting, then suddenly started counting backwards. She can do simple calculations, including subtraction. One day, Amanda kept Isla busy by giving her crayons and an empty Amazon box. She noticed that Isla had written MOM – or a solid approximation, given her lack of motor skills. Reading had evolved into writing.

Amanda researched psychologists who administered IQ tests and found one in Lexington, just over an hour’s drive from their home. He told her that he normally does not test children under 4 years old. But, intrigued by her claims, he made an exception. Isla’s results on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, which were reviewed by The Post, rank her as “superior” or “very superior” in all categories.

She ranked in the 99th percentile.

Although she is smart, Isla is also a normal little girl. She loves “Bluey,” an Australian cartoon about a blue-heeled cattle dog, and “Blippi,” a children’s YouTube show, which her dad described as a “modern-day Pee-wee Herman.” Last month she started going to nursery school and became obsessed with making friends and with her teacher, Miss Abigail. She also enjoys doing puzzles and playing outside.

“Normal kid stuff,” her mom said, adding that Isla is, of course, a fan of reading and the library.

Some of Isla’s favorite books: the Pete the Cat series and “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” which teaches kids the alphabet. He does this by telling the story of a coconut tree that collapses after the 26 letters climb over it.

Isla recreates the climax of the book by stuffing her capital letters into Booger’s cat tree, then flipping it over so the letters scatter, her parents said. “We do this several times a day,” Amanda added with the exasperated tone and look of a parent of toddlers.

His parents are, well, tired. Initially worried that Isla wasn’t getting enough sleep, the psychologist who tested her informed the McNabbs that it’s normal for highly intelligent children to sleep less. They were relieved that their daughter was healthy but not excited that she was still waking them up at 4am.

“It’s a little disheartening for us,” her mother said.

Amanda said she was sure of one thing. While she was eager to get her daughter tested and excited about the results, she won’t follow suit. “I tell people I’m not going to get tested,” she said.

“I can’t let her know she’s smarter than me.”


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