Joshua Beckford is a child prodigy from Tottenham who became one of the youngest students to attend Oxford University at the age of six. At two years old, he quickly mastered reading fluently using phonics and was speaking Japanese by the age of three. Beckford got a certificate of excellence after getting distinctions in all his assignments on a philosophy course which was part of an Online Learning Platform for Gifted Children. 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.
Joshua has unusual skills in 8 different areas. Maths, Foreign Language, History, Philosophy, IT, Art and Science and sport. He is on the autistic spectrum – Asperger’s (High functioning). Joshua was born in the UK in 2005. He was taught at home from the age of 10 months. He learned to read fluently using phonics at 2 years 6 months old, mastered speaking Japanese at 2 and a half yrs then started to learn Chinese Mandarin.
At 3 he was able to correctly name most cars on the road and what country they were made in. He developed an uncanny fascination with the Human body and finished reading advanced books on Human Anatomy including Genes and DNA. Joshua now has a reading age of an adult and can explain quite complex concepts such as gravity and infinity. He mastered naming all the internal organs of the body and can explain how the 12 systems all work together to keep us alive including the parts of the brain and which parts of the body they control.
He decided since he was 4 years old that when he grows up, he wants to be a Neuro-Surgeon and possibly an Astronaut. He already performs simulations of Surgical Operations on his laptop using a Microsoft Surgery Simulator. He can correctly use all the instruments and successfully complete operations such as the removal of a Hernia, appendectomy, removal of a cataract, varicose, and tonsillectomy, repair a lower leg fracture and perform a Cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gall bladder). He uses Microsoft Flight Simulator to fly Simulations of the Space Shuttle and different types of aircraft. He has advanced IT skills and learned to touch type before he could write with a pen.
He designs and delivers Power-Point presentations on Human Anatomy at Community fund-raising events to adult audiences He has given live radio interviews on Omega FM radio and Galaxy Radio on the Internet. When he was 6 years old, he completed a master class in Philosophy and Historical Enquiry a research project on the Great Plague of 1665 at Oxford University. He was awarded a distinction in both subjects.
He also has a certificate for IXL an on-line maths programme for completing 29,000 maths problems. He was nominated and won the National Black Youth Achievement Award (BYA) for Education in 2012. He is now the BYA Ambassador for Education.
The Digital on-line magazine will be used as a resource to inspire and motivate people to follow their dreams and passions. Joshua received many positive reviews on Twitter and was interviewed live on Vox Africa TV by Angie Le Mar on the Ladies Talk Show. He won the Young Gifted & Black Achievement Award (2013) in Waltham Forrest for the second year running.
He has been interviewed by Vox Africa TV. Joshua is an Ambassador of GUBA Foundation a Ghanaian Autism, charity. He helps to raise awareness about autism in Ghanaian and the African community.
In February 2013 he was invited by the National Autistic Society to an event hosted by Diane Abbott at the House of Commons on autism in the BME community. He is featured on the National Autistic Society website where he is helping to raise awareness about autism worldwide.
Joshua aims to attend either Cambridge to study to become a neuro-surgeon with a specialist interest in Genetics. We would like to set up an Educational Foundation to help fund Joshua`s dream to become a neuro-Surgeon but also want the Foundation to help other gifted children achieve their dream. He has appeared in a TV advert on ABN SKY Channel to raise awareness about Autism. He was invited to College Cambridge University Kings College for a taster day dinner and a tour the University in 2014.
He has since been recognised internationally in over 90 countries in the world with internet articles in most languages. Joshua also wants to raise public awareness and lobby MPs to assist him in a campaign to get a law passed in Parliament to ensure that exceptionally gifted children who are on the Autistic Spectrum are given the necessary help and support they need to enable them make valuable contributions to society. He is also assisting a Nigerian Charity called ECS Ltd to raise awareness about autism.
Recently Joshua was presented with a PYTHON (Positive Youth Thriving Award) in Parliament by Haringey MP David Lammy for being an inspiration to young people and a global role model.
He is a big hit in the USA, a professor who writes for the Milwaukee Courier has written two articles about him. The first article was the 3rd most read article in the Milwaukee Courier. Joshua appears in 26 on-line encyclopaedias. He also is cited in the Journal at the University of Montreal in Canada. He has even had a positive effect on gangs in America who feature him on their websites and other social media congratulating him for his achievement. A professor at City University New York has named him “the Smartest Kid in the world”.
Joshua is also an accomplished artist. He draws pictures as a hobby and for relaxation. One of his early drawings of the Human Anatomy done when he was 6 years old was purchased by an international art dealer and is hanging in a gallery in Paris. He was also invited to meet His Royal Highness HRH. Prince Andrew the Duke of York who was so impressed with his art that he featured him with some of his drawings on his personal Twitter site. Joshua’s drawing of a Cheetah now hangs in Buckingham Palace.
Joshua plays 14 different sports at school and enjoys all of them. To date he has been presented with a total of 14 National Award. Joshua is featured in the BYA Magazine called Stories of Success which was sponsored the University College London. The magazine is distributed in digital format on-line and is equally popular in hard copy, He was honoured with the Dr. Mae Jemison Award for Science (female African American Astronaut) The award was presented by the mother of the Black Film Director Steve Mc Queen who produced the hit movie 12 years a slave. He is also the winner of the National Diversity Award for the Positive Role Model category in Liverpool Cathedral. He participates in an annual Urban Art Gallery Exhibition where he exhibits his art with 1,500 adult artists. He was also the recipient of the Legacy Gala Lifetime Achievement Award.
Joshua has an award from Birmingham University when he won a national letter writing competition. He presently has an amazing typing speed of 112 words a minute with 100% accuracy. He also taught himself to play chess.
Last November he met the Queens Representative at the Hilton Hotel in London and won the speaker of the year award for his public speaking at the Bernie Grant Centre on the same night.
Joshua in his preparation to visit Nigeria in August 2019 chatted with Ola Akinwe, Founder of Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network-BMAN, This were his thoughts while responding to the Mentor Me Series;
Turning Point and Greatest
My turning point was when I was 6 years old. I enjoy art as a hobby which I find relaxing. I started to draw when I was 3 years old but by the time I was 6 the quality of my drawings jumped to a very high standard. One of my drawings of the Human anatomy which I completed at the age of 6 was bought by an international art dealer who has an art Gallery in Paris and one in London. He bought the piece at an art Gallery exhibition in London. I enjoy drawing super heroes such as Spiderman, batman, the hulk. Black Panther, daredevil and Wolverine. I also draw animals’ portraits and still life which I sell at art gallery exhibitions. One of my drawings completed when I was 8 years old now hangs in Buckingham Palace. I was invited to meet HRH. Prince Andrew who was so impressed with my art. He featured my work on his personal Twitter page. At 6 years old I became the youngest person in the world to study Philosophy and a History Research Project on the Plague of 1665 at Oxford University gaining a distinction in both subjects. My dad started to teach me since I was 10 months old. He made learning fun and taught me to be confident have goals and never give up. I learned to read at the age of 2 years 6 months but by the age of 6 I was reading at the level of a 16-year-old. At 4 years old I taught myself to play chess and touch type. I have been doing lots of public speaking at large conferences on the human anatomy to adult audiences using Microsoft PowerPoint. I have spoken to an audience of 3,000 people at the London national Autism show and performed at the Mermaid theatre in the Autism Got Talent Show. I am also the youngest person in the world to be invited to speak at TED x International Conference in Austria at age 11. I have a won a total of 14 National Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award at the age of 12. I am featured on the White House website for African American Education in the USA as well as the One United Bank in Boston Massachusetts. I play 14 different sports at school. I am also listed as a child prodigy in Wikipedia. There are You Tube documentaries about me and I am known in over 90 countries around the world as a positive role model.
Biggest Failure and Lesson Learned
A White boy at my school punched me and swore at me in the playground a few weeks ago. I reacted by punching him with 7 punches to his face and had a day exclusion from the headmistress as we have a strict behaviour policy. I have attended the school for the last 5 years and never been excluded. After the incident I felt very sad and felt that I let my parents down. I was also angry as the white boy didn’t get excluded despite starting the fight. I learned that in my anger I could have easily hit him in the wrong area and seriously hurt him. I now realise that I should have reacted differently and told an adult instead of dealing with the situation myself. I also learned that People always have a choice of how they react to a situation.
A week later when we were performing our annual Christmas play the same boy suffered from a panic attack and was unable to do his performance on stage. I had memorised his part and I stepped in to help him by going on stage and performing his part in the play. His mum was in the audience and was speechless when she realised that I had decided to help her son and was able to forgive him. I received a very nice thank you letter from the assistant Headteacher praising me for my kind actions and all my teachers were very proud of me. My Parents were also very proud of my actions.
Best Advice I Ever Received
My dad always taught me to be positive and have confidence. He always used to tell me that “winners never quit” and “quitters never win” when things are not going well, I always remember this which has helped me to re-focus and achieve my goals.
I wished I had known
I wish I had known how to better control my emotions before. This is still a difficult area as I have autism which is a condition that have both a positive side which gives me many gifts such as a logical and analytical mind, photographic memory and the ability to see detail that others don’t see. The downside is that I find it difficult to control my emotions. I am very sensitive to sounds and certain smells. Sometimes I wish I was like everyone else and that non-autistic people would understand me.
Funniest Thing I Ever Did.
The funniest thing I ever did was when I was on holiday in Tenerife. My cousin and I went with a few boys to knock on a person’s door and then run. That was pretty funny.
I went away on a week-long trip with other children from my school and teachers to a place far away called Kent. This was the first time that I have ever been away from my parents. It was kind of scary, but it was meant to help teach me life skills to eventually become more independent. We had to do a lot of physical activity. We had to overcome obstacles on an assault course. The activity that was the scariest and took a lot of courage was called the “leap of Faith”. I had to climb a tower that was 50 feet up in the air and jump off a platform and grab a bar on the other side. When I climbed to the top and looked down, I was terrified. Everyone on the ground looked so small and the platform started to wobble. I then focused and remembered what my Dad had taught me. Winners never quit, and quitters never win. I stood up took a deep breath and made the leap into the air and successfully grabbed the trapeze bar. I made it safely and I proved that I could do what seemed impossible.
Something I’m afraid of.
I am afraid of losing my parents. I know that one day I will have to complete my journey alone and I often try to imagine what it will be like. I have mood swings and I’m going through puberty. My body is changing in an extraordinary but also a strange way. Sometimes even my dad and mum get emotional.
I’d Really like to Learn
I’d really like to learn to drive a car as this will give me a new skill to be more independent. I had a fascination with cars from since I was little. A 3 year old could name most make of cars and what country they were made in. When I grow up, I want to own a nice collection of unusual cars. One of my favourite cars is the Bugatti which is a very expensive car. I would also like to eventually own and learn to pilot one of the future flying cars. That looks cool. Hopefully it will be one designed and manufactured in Africa by one of you. I want to inspire each one of you to help change the world and make your parents and our ancestors proud. Each of us need to care for “Mother Earth” as it’s the only home that we have.
My greatest Question
Since I was 2 years old, I have always been asking a lot of questions. I continue to have so many questions. I am always curious and want to know why? The greatest question I have asked when I was 4 years old is what is Life? No one seems to be able to answer that mysterious process. Which is why I love information and knowledge and want to be a scientist. I want to know why we die? I also remember telling my dad one morning when I was four and a half years old that I wanted to evaluate the properties of God. I want to become a neurosurgeon to be able to study the mysteries of the human brain and anatomy.