Joshua Beckford has never been a typical child. At two years old, he quickly mastered reading fluently using phonics and was speaking Japanese by the age of three. At the age of six, he became the youngest person in the world to study Philosophy and History at the prestigious University of Oxford in England, gaining a distinction in both subjects.
His father, Knox Daniel, said he first noticed his son was clever when he was sitting on his lap while on the computer. “I started telling him what the letters on the keyboard were and I realized that he was remembering and could understand.”
He could read, write and understand the alphabet and point to different colors on a chart when he was just ten months old.
In 2011, his father wanted to challenge his son, so he wrote to the university to see if he could participate in a philosophy course for bright children between the age of eight and thirteen. They agreed, and Joshua was the youngest student ever accepted. He even passed with distinction.
Named one of the smartest kids in the world, Joshua was far too academically advanced to attend third grade with his peers and was homeschooled instead.
So, what does a super scholar study? Joshua excels at science, math, history, foreign languages and history. He dreams of being a neurosurgeon and is well on his way by practicing gall bladder removals and appendectomy procedures.
“Since the age of four, I was on my dad’s laptop and it had a body simulator where I would pull out organs. I want to save the earth. I want to change the world and change people’s ideas to doing the right things about earth.”
He also plans to be a neurosurgeon and is currently writing a children’s book about Egypt.
But get this…he’s done all of this even with being diagnosed with autism.
When he isn’t studying and achieving more than many adults, Joshua also serves as the face of the National Autistic Society’s Black and Minority (BME) campaign. Diagnosed with high-functioning autism, Joshua helps to spread the campaign’s mission of highlighting obstacles Blacks face when trying to obtain access to necessary autism support and services.
According to a 2011 study, Autism and the African American Community, “evidence demonstrates that although rates of diagnosis for autism occur at the same rates in all racial groups, diagnosis in African American children occurs later than in White children. As a result, African American children may require longer and more intensive intervention.”
In between studying to be the youngest neurosurgeon, Joshua enjoys fund-raising for three Autism Charities, one in the U.K and two in Africa, and campaigns to save the environment.
Joshua plans to be a neurosurgeon and has also written a children’s book about Egypt.
Young Joshua is definitely living proof that no obstacle is too great to keep you from achieving greatness.