'My Two-Year-Old Has an IQ of 146'

I'm originally from the Bay Area in California and Kashe's dad is from Harlem in New York. He and I met at college through a mutual friend in 2008 and have been together ever since.

We were kind of ready for kids, but we're also both big believers in the idea that whatever is supposed to happen, will happen. Kashe was born in 2018 and from the very first day, she was very alert. If she was awake, she was always looking around. Newborns often have their eyes closed and sleep all day, but Kashe would have her eyes open for two hours at a time. The nurses at the hospital noticed that too.

When she was around 13 months old we got Kashe a shape sorter meant for children of 18 to 24 months and she started sorting the shapes correctly all by herself. That was probably one of the first signs that both her dad and I picked up on. Maybe two or three weeks later she started telling us the colors on the shape sorter. At this stage she should have only been saying around 10 words but she was saying around 20. Our pediatrician actually commented on her strong verbal skills. Around the same time, I was teaching Kashe very simple math using cards with dots on them. She was able to identify the number of dots on each card, simply by counting the dots. There were no numbers written on the cards. By 17 or 18 months she knew all her colors, shapes and letters. A lot of these are skills that are worked on in pre-kindergarten.

Now, she is speaking in sentences that are pretty elaborate for a 2-year-old, so you can tell she is processing information. For example, we have taught her about how to share, but also how to explain that you are using something. So she does say phrases like "that's unavailable" and "I'll let you know when you can have it!" She also says her affirmations every night: "I'm strong, I am brave and I'm unstoppable. I'm caring and kind. My Black and brown skin is beautiful." Eventually as she grows up she will understand that a little bit more.

In Focus

Kashe Quest has an IQ of 146

Kashe Quest is the youngest member of Mensa in the U.S. and, at 2 years old, has an IQ of 146.
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Kashe can also identify numbers one to 100 and all 50 U.S. states from pictures and pediatricians who have seen her have said that she is really bright. So, we wanted to get her IQ tested to know if there was anything we could be looking out for in order to be better parents. Because it is a challenge. Of course every child is a challenge, but we are working at such an accelerated pace that sometimes we're not sure what to have her work on while still ensuring she is enjoying her childhood.

Also, we live in LA, where there are so many different schools and pre-schools, and a decision as to whether you want to go public or private. I have worked in both, so it's not that we had a preference, but we wanted to have the knowledge to be able to send her to a place where she was able to thrive, but still be a child. And, we wanted to know if it was us being biased parents or if there was something beyond that.

We had to find a child psychologist in LA who would do an IQ test and assessment—as children under 10 can't take the Mensa supervised test—it was based on things like logic, verbal skills, memory and receptive skills. Kashe was tested at 2 years 8 months old and received an IQ score of 146. We were told she is in the top 0.01 percent of children her age and performing at a five or six year old child's age. Her IQ score was recognised by Mensa when she became a member this year and she also became the youngest member in the U.S. when she joined. We were obviously in shock, but we also know that there are a lot of children who are bright and don't have the proper opportunities to be tested, or that their socioeconomic status doesn't allow them to take the test.

The biggest misconception out there is that because Kashe has a high IQ she is going to be this really mature toddler who understands the world. That's not necessarily true. We also don't force anything on her. We have agreed she should be young and be able to enjoy her childhood.

Everyone will have their opinion, but myself and her father let her explore and lead the way. I've never put her at a table and said, "sit down and read." She's into normal childhood things; she likes characters and dressing up. Everything has been free and fun. We just cater to her natural curiosity and tell her how proud of her we are every day, and that we love her.

Recently Kashe watched Frozen and she loves that, as well as Paw Patrol. She loves water play and art and loves to negotiate, like trying to get an extra piece of dessert! Last Halloween we dressed her up as Kamala Harris, she was Kashe-mala Harris. One of the photos she is wearing a sticker saying "I voted" and holding a microphone and in one video she says "Mr. Vice President, I am speaking." It was fun for her to repeat that phrase.

We're just trying to be good parents. We want to make sure Kashe is taken care of, loved and happy. I think that's any parent's wish.

Sukhjit Athwal lives in Los Angeles with her partner Devon and their daughter Kashe. She is the founder of The Modern Schoolhouse. You can follow Sukhjit on Instagram @itsmejit and Kashe @kashequest.

All views expressed in this article are the author's own.

As told to Jenny Haward.