A six-year-old boy living with a disability joins the intellectual organization Mensa


Howard County’s Elias Williams was tested in intellectual organization after being identified as a “twice exceptionally gifted” autistic student.

HOWARD COUNTY, Maryland — A young boy from Maryland recently received an invitation to join one of the most exclusive intellectual organizations in the world.

Elias Williams, 6, of Howard County, joined Mensa in January. Members selected to participate in this group scored within the top two percent on a standardized intelligence test.

Mensa’s US spokesman Charles Brown said Williams was now part of a “pretty select” company.

Mensa has approximately 50,000 members in the United States who belong to its American Mensa division. Only 237 of them are six years old or younger, according to Brown.

“We are incredibly proud to have Elias as a member,” Brown said. “He represents such a promise.”

Williams’ parents, Zaminah and Fred, said they noticed a few years ago that their son had a special gift.

“It started with him rolling back the alphabet,” she said. “He had a fascination with the alphabet. And, I noticed it sounded like gibberish, and then I figured out EDCBA. And, I said, ‘he says his alphabets backwards’.

‘I knew he had a gift’ | Meet Elias Williams, 6, of Howard County, MD. He is one of the newest members of @AmericanMensa! Mensa says there are only 237 people, age 6 or younger, who are part of the organization in the United States. His parents cannot wait for his future. (@wusa9) @HCPSS pic.twitter.com/BjWxqlAdpp

— John Henry (@JohnHenryWUSA) February 24, 2022

Williams, a first-grader at Waverly Elementary School in Ellicott City, could do a wide range of tasks that other toddlers couldn’t either.

The Williams said he mastered his multiplication chart, read analog clocks and could also count money before he was six years old.

“The problems he was able to solve, we even had to get a calculator, sometimes, to figure out if he was actually right,” Fred Williams said. “It was amazing to see this young man and what he was capable of.”

So the Williams took Elias to see a neuropsychologist to begin the process of leveling him up in school. They said that was where they learned he was eligible to do more than skip kindergarten for first grade.

“That’s when he was identified as twice exceptional,” said Zaminah Williams.

According to the National Association for Gifted Children, doubly exceptional students are gifted students living with disabilities. The Williams said Elias was officially diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder two years ago.

‘Twice Outstanding Student’ | Elias Williams’ parents say he is a twice outstanding student, which means he is gifted and at the same time lives with autism spectrum disorder. Mensa aside, he’s a normal kid. His main interests: Mickey Mouse, Minecraft and recreation. (@wusa9) @HCPSS pic.twitter.com/yzMm3tempt

— John Henry (@JohnHenryWUSA) February 24, 2022

He receives behavioral, speech therapy and applied occupational therapies.

“When COVID started, he had a significant speech delay, and we were concerned at that time that he was having difficulty speaking,” Fred Williams said. “So we didn’t understand, at that time, the gift we were given. But, since that time, he has developed tremendously and the more he started to talk, the more we started to learn what he was capable of.

The Williams said that soon after he was identified as a twice outstanding student, Elias tested Mensa.

“I remember hearing about Mensa when I was a young girl and it seemed so unreachable,” said Zaminah Williams. “It felt like a secret society and to have a kid who is an active member now, who will participate, it’s amazing.”

Elias’ father, Fred, said he was also proud of his son.

“It’s kind of a story of a child who excelled despite being labeled with autism,” he said. “A mother who worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of her son and a school system and a principal and superintendent who created an environment to support a child like Elias.”

Elias didn’t let the accomplishment go to his head. Like many other children his age, he tries to have fun whenever he can. The six-year-old enjoys the Mickey Mouse Club, playing with friends at recess, and building structures in the Minecraft video game.

“I do the tutorials,” he said.

As a young Mensan, Elias now has access to several book clubs, interest groups, and possibly even scholarships provided by the organization.

The Principal of Waverly Elementary School, Dr Rachel Edoho-Eket, said the school was proud of Elias’ achievement.

“Eli is a very curious student who loves to learn,” she said. “He always has a bright smile on his face and appreciates his teachers and friends. We are very happy that he has been inducted into Mensa!”

Believe it or not, Elias isn’t the only student at his school to join Mensa. Edoho-Eket says Aayush Sen, an 8-year-old second year student at Waverly, was also inducted into Mensa when he was five years old.

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