All parents are ecstatic when their child says their first word, takes their first step, or learns to count to ten. But what if your child says their first word and then a month later can speak in full sentences, or does not speak at all and then correctly answers a question about Mars’s moons at age four? These are some of the things that have occurred in the lives of some of the world’s brightest young people. Some of them showed mind-boggling cognitive abilities before they even went to school and others were initially deemed mentally incapable of basic tasks due to illness, such as autism. However, one way or another, their gifts became more and more evident until it was clear that they were different from everybody else; that they were in a position of intellectual ability that could be classified as “genius”.
There have been several people identified throughout history that would qualify as geniuses. Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates have all been classified as such. Though many would consider genius-level intelligence a gift, it can be difficult to tell what the outcome of such mental capabilities will be, especially if you are deemed an intellect at a very young age, like the children and teenagers included on this list. They may struggle socially or burn out quickly. However, they have already accomplished some awe-inducing things and hopefully, with a little guidance and minimal pressure, there will be more great things to come.
7 Alexis Martin, 3 years old
6 Sherwyn Sarabi, 4 years old
5 Adam Kirby, 2 years old
4 Elise Tan-Roberts, 7 years old
3 Shrinidhi Prakash, 12 years old
2 Colin J. Carlson, 17
1 Jacob L. Barnett, 15
There was a time in Jacob Barnett’s life where specialists were skeptical that he would ever know his ABCs. His mother was told not to bother with flash cards or any other alternative methods of instruction because Barnett’s learning would be stunted due to his Autism. At the time, Barnett did not even speak so it seemed that these specialists could have been right. Fortunately, his mother didn’t think so and embarked on a unique journey to bring out the best in her son, whatever that may be. As it turns out, it meant that he enrolled as an undergraduate student at age 11 and started work on his master’s degree at age 15 at one of the premier physics schools in the world, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Barnett is expected to complete his master’s in physics this year, which is an incredible feat for anyone, let alone someone who was never thought to be able to master their ABCs.
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