6-Year-Old Boy With Autism Is The Youngest Ever Oxford University Student

joshua beckford child prodigy

Gaining admission to Oxford, the prestigious British university thought to be better than pretty much every American Ivy League school besides Harvard, is a major achievement at any age. However, the fact that Joshua Beckford attended the school at only 6 years old is absolutely mind-blowing.


Joshua, from Tottenham in England, is a child prodigy. Now 13, when he only six was admitted to the specialist program created by Oxford for gifted children between the ages of eight and 18. Despite the fact that he was two years too young, Joshua’s father, Knox Daniel, wrote to the university in the hopes of gaining admission for his son. Luckily, they accepted Joshua, making him their youngest ever student.

Joshua Beckford has high functioning autism and has demonstrated superior intelligence and an ability to learn from the time he was only a baby. At 10 months old, his father noticed that he could identify numbers and letters on a keyboard and commit them to memory.

“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,” Knox recalled.

Not only could he read phonetically by the age of three, but he also taught himself fluent Japanese and knew how to touch type all before he was able to write. It’s no surprise, then, that Knox was keen to get his son into a program like Oxfords, which could challenge and stimulate Joshua’s young mind.

TEDX Talks/YouTube

Joshua took certificate courses in both history and philosophy and passed with distinction. He hopes to become a doctor when he gets older and says he hopes to “change the world” with his work. This child prodigy is certainly well on his way to doing so—he’s even hosted his own TED talk already, so it’s fair to say we can expect great things from Joshua.


Written by Jennifer Still