Child prodigy Joshua Beckford proves disability need not be a roadblock to your dreams
To attend the prestigious Oxford University is a dream come true for many people. Joshua Beckford has made it there at the age of 13. Joshua, who has autism, was granted admission to this hallowed place when he was just six. No wonder people call him a child prodigy.
Joshua is not resting content with this milestone. He plans to become a doctor and change the world for good. He is already quite an inspiring figure for people in the disabled community.
Joshua plans to become a neurosurgeon, which is quite an ambition. Standing like a rock by his side is dad Knox Daniel, who first noticed his son's remarkable skills when he was just 10 months old. Since then he has been guiding him which is why call Joshua calls his dad an inspiration.
Joshua's story is an example for my parents and teachers of the enormous potential children with autism have, be it in sports or academics. With special education, right therapies and peer support, children with autism can thrive and how.
Take Akshay Bhatnagar, who has been recognized for exceptional skills in sports and academics by the government of India. He also won an award from the NGO Ability Foundation and father Navin Bhatnagar says that he couldn't be prouder of his son.
My wife left a well-paid government job after Akshay's birth. We knew that he had a developmental disorder and wanted to ensure the best for him. Quitting her job was one of her best decisions because she could stand with Akshay through thick and thin. We also wanted him to get nothing lesser than the best. He is excellent in both sports and academics. Nowadays, children with autism can do extremely well with right guidance. Parents must be their biggest support system -Navin Bhatnagar, Akshay's father
Undoubtedly, parenting a child with autism comes with a lot of challenges. In Joshua's case his father stood by him, something all parents must do, says Nithya Gopalakrishnan Co-founder, Mridulasparsham Special School in Kochi.
"Parents and teachers must work together to bring out the best in children with autism. If they give their 100%, then they will do remarkably well in life. There are a lot of untapped potential in these children that needs to be brought to light, says Gopalakrishnan.
Joshua is well on his way to becoming a youth icon as well as a inspiring figure in the disability rights movement. Social media is awash with congratulatory messages and he has been named among the top 30 people in the world with autism to impact society. And to think he is just 13.
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