Joshua Beckford is now 13 and dreams to become a neurosurgeon. He was recently listed in the top 30 most remarkable people in the world with autism who have impacted society.
At age six most kids are excited about entering first grade or dreading the fact that they have to attend school for more hours in a day. Not Joshua Beckford. He was packing his bags to attend Oxford University. The prodigy from Tottenham has high-functioning autism is the youngest person to have attended Oxford University at the age of six. He received a certificate of excellence after getting distinctions in all his courses which were part of an online learning platform for gifted children. Joshua is now 13 years old and has dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon one day. The young scholar was recently listed in the top 30 most remarkable people in the world with Autism who have impacted society.
Joshua took up courses in history and philosophy and passed both with distinction. His genius was discovered when he was just 10 months old. Beckford’s father, Knox Daniel, discovered his son’s unique learning capability while he was sitting on his lap in front of the computer. According to the father, the keyboard as the child's interest. As reported by Face2Face Africa, Daniel said: “I started telling [Joshua] what the letters on the keyboard were and I realized that he was remembering and could understand. So, if I told him to point to a letter, he could do it… Then we moved on to colors,” Daniel added.
When Beckford was just three years old he was able to read fluently with phonics. He even learned how to speak in Japanese. Before Beckford learned how to write, he taught himself how to touch-type on a computer. “Since the age of four, I was on my dad’s laptop and it had a body simulator where I would pull out organs,” said Beckford. In 2011, his father became aware of a programme at Oxford University that was specifically aimed at children between the age of eight and thirteen.
To challenge his son's abilities, Daniel wrote to Oxford with the hopes of getting admission for his child despite the fact that Beckford was younger than the prescribed age for the programme. To his good fortune, Beckford was given the chance to try to earn a seat at the University. The boy was then enrolled in Oxford, becoming the youngest student ever accepted. Ever since, he has been getting distinctions in almost every course he takes. However, parenting a child with high-functioning autism who is also a genius, comes with its own set of challenges.
Daniel learned that his son was too advanced for a standard curriculum and hence, Beckford was homeschooled. The boy apparently has a keen interest in the affairs and happenings in Egypt throughout his studies. He is currently working on a children’s book about the historic and ancient nation. Apart from his academic prowess, Beckford serves as the face of the National Autistic Society’s Black and Minority campaign. He helps in highlighting the challenges that are faced by minority groups especially when it comes to acquiring autism support and services.
Earlier this year, the (now) 13-year-old was appointed as the Low-Income Families Education (L.I.F.E) Support Ambassador for Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, and the United Kingdom. Joshua Beckford also raises funds for charities (two in Africa and one in the U.K.) and is celebrated for his campaigns to save the environment. He recently wrote the poem Saving Mother Earth at the TEDx International Conference in Vienna.
He has been described as one of the most 'brilliant boys in the world'. Other than just raising funds and being an ambassador, Beckford also designs and delivers power-point presentations on Human Anatomy at Community fund-raising events to audiences ranging from 200 to 3,000 people.
According to his father, Beckford doesn't enjoy hanging out with children his own age. He rather prefers to hang out with teenagers and adults, people with whom he can have a good conversation.
'This gifted boy with autism is the youngest ever to attend Oxford University at age 6'— National Diversity Awards (@ndawards) February 14, 2019
Check out this fantastic article about NDA Positive Role Model Award Winner Joshua Beckford on our website by visiting - https://t.co/qpb0rNfQvo #NDA #Age pic.twitter.com/BdwP2YxNzd
“Parenting a child with high-functioning autism comes with its own challenges,” his father added. “[Joshua] doesn’t like loud noises and always walks on his tip toes and he always eats from the same plate, using the same cutlery, and drinks from the same cup,” he said. However, Daniel is very proud of his son and all his achievements. He is looking forward to the bright future the boy has. “I want to save the earth. I want to change the world and change peoples’ ideas to doing the right things about earth,” Beckford once said of his future.