He’s only 6 years old.
At first glance, Pranav is a typical young boy who is highly competitive at playing Wii video games and likes to play outside. A closer look reveals he’s anything but typical.
Pranav has an IQ of 176. One person in 1 million has an IQ of 176 or above. Albert Einstein’s IQ was believed to be about 160. The average IQ is 100.
When the Loveland boy was 4½, his parents noticed he seemed unusually intelligent while playing with alphabet sets. He could even recall which letters were certain colors. “That kind of puzzled us,” said his father, Prasad Veera. “You have to have not a normal memorization, but some other means of recall.”
Now, he loves all kinds of alphabets. “He loves to collect them, like different colors, different sizes, different materials,” said his mother, Suchitra Veera. “Even now, he can read, but he still doesn’t ever give up on any alphabet.”
It’s too soon to tell whether his 3-year-old sister, Neha, will follow in his footsteps, but she shows advanced language skills. Another sign of his intelligence was when he watched videos, he could pick up on an entire song and repeat it immediately. The Veeras decided to have Pranav tested three months ago at Powers Educational Services in Hyde Park.
“I said, ‘Let’s try it out, because he seems to do a lot of stuff kind of not quite normal for his age,” his father said. “He tested 176.” He seems to have a photographic memory, so keeping Pranav engaged and learning is a big challenge for his family. His mother and grandmother, Shanta Sastri, work with him at home.
They’re guided by his focus and interests. Right now, that’s anything with numbers, the presidents, math and the planets. Numbers are the conduit to his learning. Even his favorite book is a “Sesame Street” counting book. “The way to get him interested is to associate something with numbers, like presidents’ birthdays … and when they came into office,” his mother said.
“Once we introduced him to the idea, he was asking more and more questions, so we created a spreadsheet for him in Excel, and he keeps on asking us to add more types of information to it, like sort them in the order that they came into office, sort them in the order when they were born,” she said.
He recently asked his family to get the number of states in all of the countries, globally.
“I know about the U.S. and India, so now we’ve got to search everywhere for each country and how many states they have,” his mother said. “So, that’s the latest area of interest. From there he’ll probably start learning what are the states and each country how many provinces and states.” His family tries to help him find information by either pointing to the right Web site or telling him what key words to plug into Google or Yahoo. Or, they might add columns via Excel and show him how to sort. Their next step is to give him a basic Excel course so he can do much of that work himself.
“He wants to be a typical child, but when he is onto some subject, then he gets an idea, he wants that,” his father said. In pre-kindergarten, his teacher had him do more challenging work, such as division and telling time. In kindergarten, his classmates are learning the alphabet and numbers up to 100. He’s counting over 1 million.
“He’s an amazing child,” said Marci Taylor, his kindergarten teacher at McCormick Elementary in the Milford School District. “He knows so much, yet he’s probably more excited about learning than any child I’ve ever seen. He shakes with excitement.” “We just love having him in our classroom. Whether we’re talking the date, day or holiday, he thinks of little facts he wants to share. He gets so excited and raises his hand. The kids get a kick out of it.”
She, too, is challenged to stay ahead of him and finds ways to give him advanced instruction. When she takes her students to the school library, they stay in one area. Pranav has the run of the library. … What does Pranav want to be when he grows up?
“An astronaut,” he said without hesitation.
Truly, for Pranav, the sky’s the limit.
To Pranav, when you find this post in a few years:
Good luck. Being on the far end of the bell curve can be frustrating. Too often, things that seem painfully obvious to you will not be understood by the people around you. You may get bored with people easily. You may have difficulty finding a mate. You may also find, if you are honest with yourself, that you are well below average in some areas. That’s okay. We are what we are. Intelligence is not one thing. There are many intelligences. Seek balance. Keep your sense of humor, your curiousity, your compassion, and put your talents to good use. Using one’s math skills to create a formula that leads other scientists to destroy the solar system, for example, might not be a good idea.
Other blog readers: What advice or ideas do you have for Pranav or his parents and teachers?