In this article, I will be narrating the story of an extraordinary young teenage boy. He is the youngest person to ever attend Oxford University. As I read the incredible story of this fine young man, I asked myself, “how is this even possible?” Sounds too good to believe, right? Well, this is the exciting story of young Joshua Beckford.
In more than 90 countries, Joshua’s exceptional academic feats have been recognized. Joshua’s story is quite extraordinary, as he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism at a tender age. Instead of seeing the diagnosis as a setback, Joshua never backed down. Rather, he chased his dreams.
At barely 10 months old, Beckford’s father, Knox Daniel, discovered that his son was already able to memorize and understand the letters on a computer keyboard. Perhaps, none of his age mates could do that at the time. His father said:
“I started telling him what the letters on the keyboard were and I realized that he was remembering and could understand.“
By the age of two, Beckford had already learned how to read by making use of phonics. By age three, he could already speak the Japanese language. And at age four, he could operate on his dad’s laptop with a body simulator where he would pull out organs.
Due to his son’s advanced mental capabilities, Daniel knew that Beckford was not cut for the regular school curriculum. Joshua preferred making friends with older people. His father ensured that he schooled at home due to his advanced mental faculty.
The Bold Leap of Faith
In 2011, Beckford did the unthinkable. His father discovered a special program run by Oxford University for gifted children between the ages of 8 and 13. Even though Joshua was just 6 years old, his father enrolled him for the program. He took courses in Philosophy and History, and of course made distinctions in both of them. Joshua Beckford excels at science, mathematics, history and foreign languages. He dreams of becoming a surgeon one day. He practices gall bladder removals and appendectomy procedures too.
Beckford’s Kind Spirit
Joshua Beckford doesn’t limit himself to academic achievements. He actively involves himself in a lot of charity and fundraising. He works as an ambassador for the National Autistic Society’s Black and Minority campaign, an organization that seeks to provide awareness and support for people suffering from autism.
In 2017, he participated in the TEDx International Conference in Vienna where he presented a poem written by him titled “Saving Mother Earth”. He also received the Positive Role model award for his age group at the National Diversity Awards in 2017, and made the top 30 remarkable people in the world with autism.
Quite recently, Joshua Beckford was appointed an ambassador for the Low Income Families Education (LIFE) Support of the Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network (BMAN) in parts of Africa and the United Kingdom. He participated in BMAN’s Low Income Families Education (LIFE) summit in Nigeria. The summit aimed at opening up educational opportunities for children in rural communities. The event also targeted fund raising for the establishment of standard schools in Tafan community and other neighborhoods in Kaduna state, Nigeria. About 350 school children have been out of school since 2011 due to violence in Tafan and neighboring communities. They will be returning to the classrooms courtesy of Beckford’s efforts.
Joshua Beckford’s father confessed that raising a child with high-functioning autism is a tough task. Furthermore, he revealed that his son always walks on his tiptoes and does not like loud noises. He also revealed that Joshua always likes to eat from the same plate, using the same cutlery and he also drinks from the same cup.
This is the inspiring story of Joshua Beckford. What’s your own story?