Kindergartner Becomes Mensa Member
PHOTO: 5-year-old Gus Dorman has already memorized the periodic table.

5-year-old Gus Dorman has already memorized the periodic table of elements. (Photo courtesy of Robert Dorman)

Most parents believe their child is the smartest kid in the class, but when Robert Dorman says this, he's likely right.

His son, 5-year-old Gus Dorman, with an IQ of 147, became one of the youngest members admitted to Mensa, the exclusive high IQ society.

Now in kindergarten, Gus is already reading such books as "Charlotte's Web," while his classmates work on mastering the ABCs.

For fun, Gus memorizes the periodic table and a world map. And sometimes he corrects his father on geography.

"He got into an argument with me because I told him that the capital of Alaska is Anchorage," said Dorman. "But it's not, it's Juneau."

Dorman first noticed Gus' advanced intelligence when he started to potty train his son at 18-months. Gus started to bring a newspaper to read on the toilet, and was also reading his father's copies of "Wired" magazine.

Since Gus was their first child, Dorman and his wife, Kotomi, simply thought this was how all children acted.

"We didn't realize he was gifted," said Dorman. "We just thought he was like all kids."

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On a camping trip with another family, Gus read the slogan off a fellow camper's clothing. The family friend was stunned that at age 4 Gus could read, even though her 5-year-old daughter was still learning the alphabet.

"She said, 'He can read?' He shouldn't be able to read," recalled Dorman of the family friend's reaction. "I said, 'He reads all the time. We brought books [on the trip.]'"

Dorman decided it was time to take his son to get an IQ test, hoping that he might qualify for an out-of-state gifted program.

Gus scored within the 99 th percentile in nearly all categories of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, which qualified him for Mensa, whose members must have an IQ of at least 135; Gus' IQ was 12 points higher than that.

Despite Gus' high IQ, his father said his son had problems when he started school. Gus would get restless when it came to learning addition or the alphabet. According to Dorman, Gus was already on multiplication and long division.

"He goes to kindergarten, and he likes going to school [but] he gets in trouble," said Dorman. "He really has a hard time sitting there and listening to low-concept stories, because he's used to being able to ask questions and do research."

Dorman has lobbied his school district to provide special advanced education for his son. But Dorman said it's unlikely Gus would receive special treatment.

"I know there's no money for gifted programs in Illinois," he said.

Dorman hopes that Gus will at least qualify for a school for the gifted that provides supplemental online courses through the eighth grade.

"As parents we're lost," said Dorman of Gus' school options. "I don't think homeschooling is the way to go. He needs the camaraderie in the social portion of school. The books are one thing, but you have to have the social part too."

For now Dorman said he's happy to teach his son what he can about Gus' newest interests, black holes and astrophysics.

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