Three-year-old Emmelyn Roettger, the nation’s youngest member of Mensa

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8 years 3 weeks ago - 8 years 3 weeks ago #1 by riada
When Emmelyn Roettger was an infant, doctors warned she might have serious delays. It turns out she just needed glasses — and now she’s unstoppable. Emmelyn loves to write, spell and count. She’s so fascinated by science and space that she rattles off details about nebulas, black holes, Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s size with ease. She knows that another term for cell division is “mitosis,” and that caterpillars turn into butterflies through “metamorphosis.”

Emme just turned 3 in April. Her parents felt a rush of gratification and relief in March when she became the youngest U.S. member of the high-IQ society Mensa — and here’s why.

When Emme was an infant, doctors had diagnosed her with “unspecified delays” and cautioned that she might have autism. Her mom and dad were heartsick when they observed that, at 9 months old, Emme seemed to avoid eye contact and never reached for toys or tried to crawl.

Right around that time, Emme’s mother, Michelle Horne, was overcome by a hunch. She asked to have her daughter’s vision checked.

“It turned out that she just needed glasses!” recalled Horne, 41, a former sixth-grade science teacher who lives in the D.C. area. “It was so obvious that any delays she had were vision-related. From there on out, she just took off.”

A whole new world opened up to Emme after she got her first pair of glasses at 10 months. Recognizing letters at 15 months Last month, a 4-year-old girl in England with an IQ of 159 — one point below physicist Stephen Hawking’s — grabbed headlines when she qualified for Mensa membership. Mensa accepted Emme as a lifetime member at an even younger age, 2 years and 11 months.

Emme’s parents aren’t Mensa members and they never imagined they’d be seeking such a distinction for their little girl, but their journey in that direction began after Emme was able to see and appreciate the world around her. Horne still remembers the first day she brought her 10-month-old daughter home wearing glasses.

“We walked past a foyer table with family photos in frames, and she physically pulled on me to stop,” Horne said. “She looked at those pictures as if she’d never seen them before.

“After that, she showed an obvious want for things — grabbing at things, trying to get to toys, fussing for things that she couldn’t reach — and she started crawling within a few weeks.”

Emme’s curiosity and verbal skills also began to explode. She began recognizing letters at 15 months old and writing them before she turned 2. Shortly after her second birthday, she could write her name, count to 100, count by 2s, 5s and 10s, and do simple math. She’d ask her parents to spend hours reading books to her, and she’d beg them to flip through her space flash cards one more time.

Emme can tell you that SCUBA stands for "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus." "I always try to teach her things with concrete examples," said her mom. “I would love to take credit for it, but I think it was just her personality all along,” said Horne, a former sixth-grade science teacher. “We had books like any good parent would, but she just wanted them — books, books, books.”
In Mensa or not, this tot proves she’s still a tot

Three-year-old Emmelyn Roettger may be the nation’s youngest member of Mensa, the high-IQ society, but for any toddler, potty breaks take precedence — even during interviews on national television.

“My belly hurts,” little Emme wailed on TODAY Friday after correctly answering several pop quiz questions on natural science and the solar system posed by Natalie Morales. “I have to go poop!”

“Oh, sweetie,” Morales said sympathetically. “Oh no, too many doughnuts maybe in the greenroom.”

And when the grownups didn’t move fast enough, little Emme took matters into her own hands and started trying to remove her microphone. “Take this off me!” she begged.

It was just another challenge in her parents’ daily juggle of managing their brainy toddler, whose voracious intellect and precocious whims generally entail playdates and visits to zoos.

Stoking Emme’s curiosity about space, she took in the space shuttle Discovery’s arrival at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and clambered inside the Gemini spacecraft at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

“Sometimes I feel she is smarter than me,” Emme’s father, Glenn Roettger, told Morales.

But it wasn’t always that way. When Emme was an infant, her pediatrician worried that she might have developmental delays.

“She wasn’t rolling over and sitting up,” said her mother, Michelle Horne.

But it turns out all the tyke needed was a pair of glasses to correct poor eyesight. Once little Emme could actually see, she developed a insatiable curiosity about the world around her, tearing through books and flash cards and begging her parents to read to her again and again. “It was as if the world opened up,” Michelle told Morales.

On TODAY Friday, Emme explained that “metamorphosis” is how caterpillars turn into butterflies and correctly identified the planets Saturn and Mars. She also showed a toddler’s fascination with the TODAY show’s television cameras, making faces and waving at the crew.

And about that potty break? Well, let's just stay that the segment ended in time — barely.

Nor but in sleep findeth a cure for care.
Incertainty that once gave scope to dream
Of laughing enterprise and glory untold,
Is now a blackness that no stars redeem.

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8 years 2 weeks ago #2 by lithiumbaby

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