Gifted child joined Mensa at three and had three GCSEs by the time he was 10

Essex County Standard: Gifted Adithya Shenoy Gifted Adithya Shenoy

WHAT do you like to watch on television, I ask Adithya.

Spongebob Squarepants, he replies, without a moment's hesitation.

A warm smile lights up his face.

Adithya Shenoy is, in some ways, just like any other 11-year-old.

He plays the guitar and the piano and plays them well. But he does not practice as much as he should, according his mum Vasundhara.

However, in other ways, Adithya is far from ordinary.

He sat his Maths GCSE when he was nine and passed with an A*.

When he was ten, he sat his Biology and Chemistry GCSEs and got an A and a B.

I raise an eyebrow in mock disapproval at the B. He smiles again.

Adithya is an extraordinarily gifted child but his parents Vasundhara and Achuth see this as a gift to be nurtured rather than exploited.

They realised he was exceptional when he was a toddler.

Mrs Shenoy said: "We were going past MacDonalds.

"He asked me what the M was. He used to bring books to me and I started to teach him."

By the time he was 18 months old, Adithya knew his alphabet and when he was two he could count to 100.

"Adithya was always interested in learning. He used to take his brother's books and wanted to look at the pictures."

Dr Shenoy, who is a consultant at Colchester General Hospital, said: "When he was at nursery he was getting bored.

"We knew unless we supported him as an individual, it would be difficult for him at school."

Difficult, not because he would struggle, far from it, but because he would become distracted due to a lack of stimulation.

Nursery teachers suggested Adithya should be sent for an educational psychological assessment.

It established he had the reading age of a nine-year-old and the spelling ability of a seven-year-old.

The findings meant he was automatically accepted into Mensa at the age of three-and-a-half - the exclusive clubs only accepts people with the top two per cent of IQs in the country. Adithya falls into the top one per cent.

He doesn't know exactly what his IQ is which is somehow refreshing.

Adithya was put into the Reception class at primary school a year early but when the family moved to Colchester, they came across an obstacle.

Adithya was five now but had completed Year 1.

However, three schools insisted Adithya would only be accepted if he went into Year 1 again in spite of his ability.

The fourth school, Lexden Primary School, however, saw it differently.

The headteacher Carole Farrer had Adithya assessed and agreed to take him into Year 2.

Dr and Mrs Shenoy are, to this day, grateful to her for her support.

Adithya was now six and his talent was blossoming. The school embraced his gift and allowed him to go to the Year 6 Maths lessons.

Mrs Shenoy said: "He was doing maths at home and was doing quite well.

"His brother Aniruddh was doing Maths GCSEs and was helping him. The two are very close.

"I was giving him extra work but only once or twice a week.

"I gave him a GCSE paper to do and he got an A*. I showed it to his head teacher and she contacted the Stanway School. They were all really helpful."

Adithya started going to lessons at Stanway School when he was seven - a tiny boy sat with tall teenagers.

After the Maths, Adithya sat in on some of the lessons for Biology and Chemistry for a year before sitting those exams.

Dr and Mrs Shenoy are grateful to Adithya's science mentor at Stanway School, Roque Vieito, and to his Maths mentor Melanie Lamb for accepting their son and nurturing his innate abilities.

Now just 11, he has started Colchester Royal Grammar School, a year early.

Aniruddh went there too and passed seven A levels - with three A*s and four As - again a year early.

He is 17 now and is studying to be a doctor at Birmingham University.

Dr and Mrs Shenoy are proud of both their sons but insist they have not pushed them.

They watched the Channel 4 programme Child Genius in which highly gifted children were selected to take part in a competition run in association with Mensa.

Disturbing scenes showed reluctant children being at best encouraged, at worst forced, to undertake mental challenges.

Are they like that? Both laugh at the suggestion.

"Absolutely not," said Dr Shenoy. "Our aim has always been to give the children a childhood.

"To be honest, we have never been into competitive parenting.

"We have been fortunate because their teachers have looked after them.

"We are lucky they are intelligent. They are sociable too but not boisterous."

When Adithya grows up, he would like to be a doctor, like his father and brother, or a scientist. He likes science. He is not so keen on geography or history.

Dr and Mrs Shenoy show off his certificates with parental pride, not boastfulness.

In the folder where they are kept, there are also Adithya's first written words. All are cherished equally.

Comments (1)

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2:54pm Thu 12 Dec 13

SAndrewss says...

In contrast, my little boy is 18 months old and can say "No poo"!!!
In contrast, my little boy is 18 months old and can say "No poo"!!! SAndrewss

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