Like many 6-year-olds, Declan Lopez wishes unicorns were real. She told CNN in an operatic voice she aspires to be a singer, and if that doesn’t work out, a fashion designer.
At first glance, many wouldn’t suspect the rambunctious Rockaway, New Jersey, kindergartner is a member of Mensa, an international society for people with high intelligence quotients.
That is, until Declan starts talking about atomic weights.
“What is the atomic mass of Tennessine?” Declan asked me when we spoke after school this week.
“I don’t know,” I admitted, thinking she already knows more about the elements than I ever did.
“It is 294!” she declared. I checked; she’s right.
Meachel Lopez said her daughter’s abilities surprised her and her husband from infancy, with Declan holding her bottle from “day one,” rolling over early and starting to speak Mandarin – seemingly out of nowhere – at 18-months old.
Lopez said she was curious about her daughter’s IQ, so she had the then five-year-old tested in February.
The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence measures cognitive functioning. Meachel sent CNN the results and Declan’s IQ was determined to be 137, which is in the 99th percentile. That score led the kindergartner to be accepted into Mensa.
Declan said when she learns something new, “it feels silly and exciting.”
Her mother told CNN, “She’s just an amazing little kid that can teach you everything about whatever subject matter has sparked her interest at that moment.”
Lopez said she’s gone through great lengths to satiate her daughter’s hunger for knowledge.
“When I noticed the intelligence and the needs that came along with that intelligence, I couldn’t just let it go by the wayside,” she said.
So, after school, the learning continues. The Lopez family focuses on a different subject each day. Meachel said lessons usually last 20 to 60 minutes.
This week, Monday was art day. Declan and her three-year-old brother, Maddox, painted. On Tuesday, they focused on science, with Meachel offering up an experiment and a lesson on the periodic table.
“She’s really interested in making sure she knows all about the atomic weights of the elements and she knows all the numbers and she knows all the symbols and she knows all the classifications,” Lopez said.
Lopez trades stocks and owns an ecommerce business. Declan’s father, Delano, is a health and physical education teacher. Meachel said she focuses on her children’s academics, while her husband focuses on physical and social pursuits.
When she’s not learning about atomic weights, Declan participates in soccer and karate.
Lopez said ultimately, they want the same thing any parent wants – for Declan to be happy and healthy.
“So, whatever she needs, I want her to get to those needs and get to those wants and live to her fullest potential,” she said.
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