Children are told they should walk before they can run but an eight-year-old from Tottenham could read before he could do either.
Joshua Beckford, of Portland Road, could understand the alphabet and point to different colours on a chart when he was ten months old.
At six he started taking classes at the University of Oxford and now dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon.
His father Knox Daniel said he first noticed his son was clever when he was sitting on his lap while on the computer.
He said: “I started telling him what the letters on the keyboard were and I realised that he was remembering and could understand.
“So if I told him to point to a letter he could do it so then we moved on to colours.”
Joshua learned to read fluently by the time he was two and a half and taught himself to touch-type on a computer before he could write using a pencil.
He can speak Japanese, practices medical surgery on a computer simulator and has completed more than 1,000 maths problems.
In 2011 Mr Daniel wanted to challenge Joshua so he wrote to the university to see if it would let him participate in a philosophy course for bright children between the age of eight and 13.
They agreed and Joshua was the youngest student ever accepted and passed with a distinction.
Mr Daniel said he no longer notices that his son is different and just seems like a normal eight-year-old.
He said: “It can be a bit of challenge because sometimes he asks so many questions.
“The other day he asked me “Is infinity an odd or an even number?” and obviously I had no idea.
“Most of the time I don’t notice his intelligence because he is just Joshua to us.”
The eight-year-old was recently diagnosed with high functioning autism which means that along with other symptoms of the condition he is also very intelligent.
His father said: “Because he is autistic he can be a bit difficult sometimes.
“He doesn’t like loud noises and always walks on tip toes and he always eats from the same plate, using the same cutlery, and drinks from the same cup.
“Also he doesn’t like children his own age and only like teenagers and adults.”
Mr Daniel has joined support groups for people with autistic children.