Three-year-old Lawson Lundberg is Mensa's newest young member after a test reveals an IQ of 151

COURTESY PHOTO: SARA LAWSON - Three-year-old Lawson Lundberg recently became a member of Mensa after scoring 151 on an IQ test. He also has stretched his artistic skills by creating paintings of the outlines of states.

More than three years ago at a Portland-area hospital, Lawson Lundberg, along with his twin sister, was born prematurely. The first several weeks of his life were spent in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and doctors expected him to experience significant delays in cognitive development.

For the first two years of his life, Lawson didn't say more than a word or two. But then his mother, Sara, witnessed a sudden change.

"We noticed at 7 months that he would start identifying colors with his toys," she said. "He gave us the correct ones every single time. It evolved from there where he seemed leaps and bounds ahead, learning shapes without us having to teach him, learning words we don't even remember saying around him. Earlier this year, during the ice storm, we were without power for a few days and during that time he learned the names of countries and their capitals. It was then that we figured out he'd somehow learned phonics on his own, which blew us away."

Now 3 years old, Lawson knows every country, its shape and its capital. His vocabulary is ever-growing and his interest in learning is unique, so much so that his parents had his IQ tested professionally.

The tyke's IQ tested at 151. For reference, Albert Einstein's IQ was estimated at between 160 and 180 much later in life. Lawson's parents have signed up their son to join the national intelligence organization Mensa, making him among the youngest members. A professionally tested IQ of 130 is required to join, and at 3 years old Lawson is far ahead of that pace and not done yet.

"About 21% of the IQ test, he didn't get any of the questions wrong, so they ran out of questions to ask him," said Sara, who has an IQ of about 130. "Normally once you get a few wrong they move on, but they weren't able to move on until they ran out, which is not normal by any means. They recommended we do it again in a few years to get a really accurate look at his IQ because the test for older kids has no limits."

It is a remarkable journey for a premature baby, many of whom are born at a higher risk for cognitive delays or disabilities. After a few years of uncertainty, the pendulum swung in the gifted direction for young Lawson, who has decided to use his experience to give back to the community.

"He's into currency now and is asking questions like, 'Where's my money?'" Sara said with a laugh. "And we have talked about the importance of charity. March of Dimes helped us out a lot when Lawson and his sister were in the NICU, and so now Lawson has made it his mission to earn money for March of Dimes. He's raised about $525 now from people we know."

Whether it's charity, artistic expression through his paintings of the state of Oregon's shape, or finding new and exciting ways to learn, Sara says her son is looking forward to attending school someday. Which grade he will start his schooling remains to be seen, given how fast he's learned at such a young age.

The Lundbergs live near Wilsonville and plan to move to Newberg later this year or in early 2022. Sara Lundberg has a due date for her fifth child coming up in late July, another addition to a large family that often hangs on Lawson's latest passion or interest.

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