Joshua Beckford is a child prodigy who lives with high-functioning autism. Now, at the young age of 13-years-old, he is pursuing his dreams to become a neurosurgeon. It may seem impossible but, for Beckford especially, it seems nothing is impossible. From Tottenham and at the age of 6, he became the youngest person to attend Oxford University. He was also listed in the top 30 most remarkable people in the world with autism who have impacted society.
“I want to change the world,” he said.
After getting distinctions in all of his classes which were included in an online learning program for gifted children, the young boy received a certificate of excellence. He took courses in history and philosophy.
Joshua’s father, Knox Daniel, discovered his special abilities when he was only 10-months-old, while Joshua was sitting at the computer on his lap.
“I started telling [Joshua] what the letters on the keyboard were and I realized that he was remembering and could understand,” Daniel said, explaining that Joshua was mostly interested in the keyboard. “So, if I told him to point to a letter, he could do it… Then we moved on to colors.”
Joshua shared: “Since the age of four, I was on my dad’s laptop and it had a body simulator where I would pull out organs.”
At only 3-years-old, before he even learned how to write, Joshua did a few things that most people yearn to do their whole lives. He learned to speak Japanese, could read fluently using phonics, and even taught himself how to touch-type on the computer.
Luckily, Oxford University offers a program that is specifically meant for children between the ages of 8 and 13. His father discovered this program in 2011 and decided to write to them and convince them to let Joshua take the course, despite him being younger than those ages. From there, Joshua was miraculously accepted and became the youngest person to ever attend. That is no small feat!
“One of the things is he will have difficulty knowing where his body is in space,” Knox went on to explain of his son’s condition. “So that’s why he’s continually having to get up and move.”
“He has a complete shut down in terms of anixety,” Knox continued. “That’s probably the worst experience any child could have or any parent could have with a child on the autistic spectrum. Especially if it’s in public.”
Knox went on to explain that in regards to his son, he wouldn’t change a thing and that of course he loves him very much. He also thinks that autism is something that is going to be new to everyone, adding that it was most certainly new to him in the beginning.
“It’s just a word,” he said. “You have to become dedicated to learn as much as you can because that child is going to spend more time with you than anyone else.”
He also started drawing quite early and exhibits wonderful talent in that area. Watch the video below to see some of those drawings, as well as his father who explains this special life experience.
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