Dafne, a 17-year-old Mexican, the first minor to study a master’s degree at Harvard in the last century


At age 13, Dafne Almazán became the youngest psychologist in the world. Today, at 17, she is the youngest Mexican to enter a postgraduate program at Harvard University and the first under 18 to enroll in a master’s degree at the American institution in 100 years.

The young Mexican, who will study a master’s degree in mathematics teaching, shares her achievement with Efe while showing a mischievous smile that looks perfectly framed with her still childish face.

Dafne is a gifted. A girl who at 6 years old already knew how to read and write, at 10 she had already finished high school and at 13 she had a degree in Psychology.

She is one of the almost one million children who have this kind of talent in Mexico.

Psychologist Dafne Almazán speaks with Efe during an interview at the Talent Care Center (Cedat), on January 30, 2019, in Mexico City. Photo: EFE

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a gifted person as one with an Intellectual Coefficient (CI) higher than 130 points in some psychometric and statistically validated scientific test.

“They are children like any other, only with a CI much larger than the rest of the population,” says Dr. Asdrúbal Almazán, director of the Talent Care Center (Cedat) and father of Dafne.

However, Dafne believes that “gifted children in Mexico are stereotyped, misdiagnosed and poorly understood.”

The young psychologist says that people believe that these children spend a lot of time locked up or that they are a copy of Einstein.

“I studied but I also played; I learned to play instruments, I walked my dogs, “she says.

Ensures that in addition to the school likes the artistic part. “I am learning piano, violin, guitar, singing, and theater”. she also studies Chinese and practices taekwondo and kempo.

Dafne explains that many children are misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but in reality “they just are smarter”.

According to Cedat data, 93 percent of gifted children are confused and misdiagnosed with ADHD, which leads to inadequate management and therefore the loss of their abilities.

But Daphne was fortunate to be born into a family where her brothers are also like her.

In fact, his older brother, Andrew, and his father opened the Cedat, a place where they work with an educational model developed by him, at the time also the youngest male psychologist in the world.

It is about the Nouménica Theory, a psychopedagogical model that is based on keeping the geniuses children in their childhood environment but with lessons according to their intellect.

It raises the need to be cared for by professionals of the mind and behavior equally overcapacitated, because they are the ones who can attend and follow up on these children, unlike what happens in conventional schools.

The psychologist Dafne Almazán (d) poses with her father, Dr. Asdrúbal Almazán (c), director of the Talent Care Center (Cedat). Photo: EFE

Dafne, for example, never set foot in a classroom at a conventional school, since basic education took her online. However, now the children of Cedat have the opportunity to learn in an environment where they are understood and helped.

But Daphne has also followed the model of “radical acceleration” which means letting the child learn without any restraint. Dr. Asdrúbal Almazán says that what is involved is to empower the child intellectually.

Aldadat is currently attended by just over 300 children who, like Dafne, are intellectually gifted, although they have attended more than 4,000.

There they are not only given school classes but also extracurricular as artistic and sports activities.

Even Dafne has taught at the Center, and says that this influenced the choice of the master’s degree program that will begin at Harvard.

“You always think that mathematics is difficult, but it is something that is in our lives and strategies are needed to teach it and that children can be interested,” he says.

To identify this type of children there is a profile of the gifted, created by Andrew Almazán.

It details certain characteristics of these children, among which are hyperactivity, rapid learning, distraction, using words such as those used by the elderly and continually arming objects or structures, among others.

The important thing, says Asdrúbal Almazán, is to detect them and guide them to avoid losing their capabilities.

For the time being, Dafne is the source of pride not only for her father but for Cedat, and she hopes to continue developing professionally “in order to help children, not to suffer and see that they can also achieve many things”.

Source: EFE, Sinembargo

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