By Julie Moult And Tamara Cohen
While other two-year-olds are discovering the joy of playgrounds, Oscar Wrigley would rather be learning about wildlife or the history of Ancient Rome.
He has recently taken to conducting classical music as he listens in the back of the car and identifies the different instruments.
So his parents were not surprised when, at the ripe old age of two years, five months and 11 days, he became the youngest boy in Britain to be accepted by Mensa.
With an IQ of at least 160, he has the same score as the likes of Einstein and Stephen Hawking.
‘Oscar was recently telling my wife about the reproductive cycle of penguins,’ said his father Joe, 29, an IT specialist from Reading in Berkshire.
‘He is always asking questions. Every parent likes to think their child was special but we knew there was something particularly remarkable about Oscar.
‘I’m fully expecting the day to come when he turns around and tells me I’m an idiot.’
Assessors at the Gifted Children’s Information Centre in Solihull said Oscar, an only child, is one of the brightest youngsters they have ever come across.
His intelligence is literally off the scale with the 45-minute Stanford-Binet test being unable to measure higher than 160.
Dr Peter Congdon ranked the toddler in the 99.99th percentile, meaning he is one in 100,000 in terms of his intelligence.
He will need to be tested further in the years to come to establish his exact score.
‘Oscar is a child of very superior intelligence,’ said Dr Congdon.
‘His abilities fall well within the range sometimes referred to as intellectually gifted. He demonstrated outstanding ability.’
Oscar’s parents say he started talking at nine months and by 18 months he was reciting the alphabet in the bath.
By the time he turned two he had a vocabulary stretching to thousands of words while most children his age would have mastered only 50 or so.
Mr and Mrs Wrigley say they encourage him to follow any activity in which he shows interest.
He is already showing a gift for music and has asked for a saxophone for Christmas despite the fact he is far too small to be able to play.
‘He will sit in the back of the car listening to the Indiana Jones soundtrack and he’ll be conducting with his fingers,’ said Mr Wrigley.
‘Then he’ll say, “Here comes the brass with the French horn” and then “Here come the strings”.’
Both Oscar’s parents have normal IQs although his maternal uncle, Jonathan Masters, was a child prodigy who began a university degree in computing aged just 13 in 1995.
His mother Hannah, 26, a housewife, said: ‘He amazes everyone. We knew at 12 weeks he was extremely bright. He was unusually alert.
At four months I would hold up two items of clothing and he would pick out which he wanted to wear.
‘Recently a friend was sitting in our garden and saw a bird and said to Oscar, “Is that a tweet-tweet?” and he replied, “No, it’s a blue tit.”
‘His vocabulary is amazing. He’s able to construct complex sentences.
‘The other day he said to me, “Mummy, sausages are like a party in my mouth”.’
But being gifted also brings its difficulties with how best to educate Oscar being a major concern to his parents.
His mother is battling with Reading Borough Council to give him a school place two years early.
A spokesman for Mensa confirmed he was the youngest boy to join the society, which requires a minimum IQ of 148.
Chief executive John Stevenage said: ‘Oscar shows great potential. Converting that potential to achievement is the challenge for his parents and we are delighted that they have chosen to join the Mensa network for support.’
The previous youngest boy to join Mensa was Ben Woods, who was two years and ten months in 1995.
The youngest child is Elise Tan Roberts, from Edmonton, North London, at two years four months and 14 days. She joined with an IQ of 154 earlier this year.
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