ARIZONA – Millions have read recently about the 3-year-old toddler with an IQ estimated to be equivalent to Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Charles Darwin.
The story about young Alexis Martin went viral across North America through the mainstream media and social media and picked up by almost every news outlet there is. However, no one has talked about the fact that Alexis is a registered member of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory through her father, Ian and Grandmother Dale, of First Line Road.
Ian and his American wife Jackie first started noticing Alexis’s precociousness when, at around 18-months of age, she would recite the bedtime stories that her dad had told the night before, the next day, and do so verbatim. She could also remember word-for-word 20-25 page children’s books she would read.
Alexis, who turns four in May, started reading at the age of two and is now reading at a Grade 5 level and can out-read 10-12 year olds without really trying.
Amazingly, she has recently taught herself to become fluent in Spanish – a little side project she took on using a program on her dad’s iPad.
The Two Row Times spoke to former CKRZ Radio personality, Ian Martin, at his Arizona home last week. He is a proud Lower Mohawk of the Bear Clan, presently the enrolment officer for Grand Canyon University, a private Christian school in Arizona.
Alexis is the youngest member of the Arizona chapter of the MENSA, an exclusive worldwide organization for people gifted with above average intelligence. Only about 2% of the world’s population qualifies for a Mensa membership card.
While most of us score an average of 100 on the IQ scale, young Alexis tops 160, and even that may be low. Her doctor, Dr. David Prince, says it could be higher, but at this age it’s hard to tell.
“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Prince,” said Ian. “He has worked with gifted children for a long time and we lean on him for support.”
Being widely recognized as “gifted” is not an easy road for the child or the parents. It singles out the child when all they really want is to blend in and be “normal”.
“It’s kinda the trick for us now to figure out what to do next,” says Martin. “Even day to days are tough. We are finding that if we don’t keep her stimulated on a bunch of different levels, she will get bored pretty quickly.”
Alexis cannot attend a regular school since it won’t be challenging enough to keep her engaged. She will be placed in a school with other highly intellectual children to help make her feel more like everyone else, but also with a curriculum intense enough to keep her challenged.
From what professionals tell Ian and Jackie, along with heightened intelligence will also come heightening of other emotions.
“We’ve noticed heightened sensitivity, heightened behavioral issues, and things like that,” says Ian. “She is very sensitive to loud noises and even her sense of touch is heightened.”
As proud as Alexis’ parents are of their little girl, they are equally concerned about how to balance her social upbringing with her obvious above average intellect.
“We still want her to be three,” Ian says. “It’s a challenge to mentally stimulate her in the things she wants, when she wants.”
To keep a sense of normality in her life, Ian and Jackie make sure that Alexis still goes to gymnastics class and dance class, ice-skating and all those normal things girls do.
“It’s not that she really sticks out in a crowd,” Ian says. “And if you were to just talk with her for a while, with her 3 year-old voice, or watch her with other kids, you would never notice how special she really is.”
MENSA is a great resource for not only the gifted child, but for the parents as well, and the Martin’s will be using this resource a lot, especially as Alexis grows through those phases all kids go through. Part of what MENSA does is to offer social activities for gifted children and their parents to link up with other families of special kids, and to create ways to share with each other what they find works or don’t work in bringing up a gifted child.
“We are noticing already that even using any typical form of discipline that you would think normal for kids her age, don’t exactly work sometimes,” says Martin.
Right now, they are dealing with the typical three-year-old’s curiosity of why things work the way they do, but they can’t offer any typical three-year-olds answer.
“I was hoping to put off those answers for a while,” says Ian. “And you can’t just offer some fluff answer. That’s not good enough for her. We have to be creative to find what works for her, no different than you do with any kid I guess.”
Ian admits that he and Jackie are in for an interesting life as parents to such a gifted child.
“It’s a doubled edged sword,” says Martin. “Although we are very happy she is who she is, at the same time we know there is going to be a lot of work ahead of us too.”
Alexis’ Grandmother, Dale Martin will be leaving for Arizona soon to spend time with Ian, Jackie, Alexis and her one year old little brother Wyatt, who, so far anyway has not shown any signs of unusual intelligence. But then, he is only one.