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Sunday 19 February 2017

Siblings Leon (5) and Amberleane (4) become Ireland's youngest Mensa members

Published 24/09/2015 | 22:44

Proud mum Catherine pictured with Leon (5) and Amberleane (4). (Photo: Independent.ie)
Proud mum Catherine pictured with Leon (5) and Amberleane (4). (Photo: Independent.ie)
Leon counts horse-riding among his hobbies (Photo: Independent.ie)
Amberleane is the youngest member of Mensa in both the Republic of Ireland and the UK (Photo: Independent.ie)

A brother and sister have become Mensa's youngest members in Ireland.

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Leon (5) and Amberleane (4) Sunshine have joined about 1,000 other Irish people on the books of the high IQ society.

The Sunshine siblings' IQ have been rated at 150 and 145, respectively.

Amberleane is the youngest member of Mensa in both the Republic of Ireland and the UK.

Amberleane is the youngest member of Mensa in both the Republic of Ireland and the UK (Photo: Independent.ie)
Amberleane is the youngest member of Mensa in both the Republic of Ireland and the UK (Photo: Independent.ie)

The duo have beaten the record of John Fitzgerald, from Kildimo in Co Limerick, who joined the society at the age of six.

Proud mum Catherine said she was 'flabbergasted' when she received the news.

Leon counts horse-riding among his hobbies (Photo: Independent.ie)
Leon counts horse-riding among his hobbies (Photo: Independent.ie)

"I nearly passed out in the kitchen," she told Independent.ie.

"I had Leon first, and then Amber was quite similar in her intelligence so I really wasn't aware that they were different.

"Everybody thinks their kids are the brightest anyway, but we started to see how they interacted with other children, how they played with their toys, their language skills, their understanding of concepts, they seemed to be far ahead of their children their own age.

"A psychologist recommended they get tested with a psychometric test and that's when we found out Leon and Amber's IQs."

The Sunshine family have since moved from England to Co Waterford, Ireland and applied successfully for membership at the Irish Mensa.

"We only applied for the membership here recently, mainly because Amber is starting school this year," Catherine said.

"We're hoping that being part of Mensa means they can socialise with people with similar interests as them and we're hoping they can be more active with the organisation.

"On top of that, we're hoping that this publicity will bring benefit to the children, be it academic fundraising for a private education or funding for an activity that can enhance their childhood."

Leon and Amber, described as 'great friends', count horse-riding as their favourite hobby. They have a younger brother Austin who is nine months old.

Mum Catherine said her only 'concern' about the children is that they won't be challenged in the classroom.

"I am concerned that the way the legislation is at the moment, there is provision for children with special needs and funding for children that have learning difficulties, but not a great proportion of help or training for staff with children that may be above average.

"Also, with a high IQ comes other difficulties like social problems.

"We were going to home-educate the children when in England, so we'll play it by ear.

"We won't say yes or no, it's whatever is best for the children. This is all new to us."

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