SCHOOLBOY Anthony Arundel Frtus is like many children his age: He likes playing on his Nintendo switch, he loves watching Horrible Histories on the TV, and has received gold and silver medals for his talent at judo.
But the 12-year-old from Cobh has now got an extra string to his bow: He has been designated a genius by MENSA after racking up a remarkable score of 162 on its IQ test.
Anthony was diagnosed with autism in 2014 and his mother, Diana, has become a full-time carer for him, while her partner works full-time.
Diana is originally from Slovakia. When she arrived here she fell in love with Ireland and decided to make Cork her permanent home.
She and her then husband originally settled in Macroom and Diana later moved to Cobh.
Anthony attends Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh in the town, but as he grew older, Diana started to notice that he was struggling to concentrate at home. He was becoming overly attached to her and demanding of her time. He was also becoming disruptive in class and finding it difficult to relate to his peers.
After Anthony was diagnosed with autism, one of his teachers, Ms Fiona McCarthy, recommended sending him to a gifted children programme that runs at UCC on Saturdays.
Diana did so. There are several classes to choose from. In the mornings, Anthony studies Juvenile Justice, and in the afternoons he puts his mind to Strategy and Code Breaking.
Each term costs €480 but it brings out the best in Anthony’s abilities.
The boy is also a gifted piano player and can play a tune by ear. His wall is covered with awards for his musical prowess, including distinctions from the Royal Irish Music Academy.
It was suggested to Diana that she get his IQ tested. She contacted Mensa in Wolverhampton and they travelled to Dublin to do the test.
Anthony was the youngest there but says that he had great fun. He enjoyed the two and half hours of tests, even if the time allotted to each question and answer was shorter than he would have liked.
Diana paid the standard €40 and they awaited the results.
Last month, they received the amazing news that he has an IQ of 162.
The score suggests Anthony is very gifted and highly advanced — a ‘genius’ test score is generally considered to be anything over 140.
To put it in perspective, most adult IQ scores range from 40 to 140. The average IQ ranges from 80 to 120.
MENSA only accepts the top 2% of IQs, and the organisation has now invited Anthony to become a member, at a cost of £37.95 sterling per annum. Diana says: “The letter was both a shock and a moment of huge pride.”
She has received huge support and guidance from Ms McCarthy, but feels that there are very few supports available otherwise.
The family can ill afford the costs attached to encouraging Anthony to be the best he can be, but they will find the money to support him as long as they can.
As she looks to the future, Diana hopes Anthony can be encouraged in his future schooling. She doesn’t want his talents to go to waste and hopes he can find fulfilment in life, reach his potential, and blossom.
Anthony is a very honest and open child, we talked about history and friendships, the Tower of London and the Dali Lama.
He told me that in school he dislikes Irish and loves maths and at the moment he hopes to be an accountant when he grows up.