11-year-old taking college classes at The University of Toledo: His mother says the decision was difficult

The 11-year-old said he plans to graduate high school and college at the same time.
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 6:44 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - At just 11 years old, Steven Shy is taking high school classes as well as attending his first college course at The University of Toledo.

His mother Toni Shy says she is not surprised by his achievements so far, but she knows her choice to allow her 11-year-old to study at UT, is a controversial one.

“I’m really proud of him, I’m really proud,” said Toni Shy. “I’ve had people question me about my decision to allow him to start college early, but I really feel like I’d be holding him back if I said no.”

Steven is far from the first youngster to attend college, but in a situation like this, How do you make sure a child is challenged academically, but not mentally?

Mental health specialist for Harbor, Philip Atkins says it is important to look at the whole picture for each individual kid.

“They may need social adaptation, they may need more social and emotional supports, they may need more individualization both in the classroom and at home,” said Atkins.

He says it should be less about what happens if you let the child take the classes and more about what if you do not let them.

“Are we disadvantaging them for a lifetime? I think the important thing for all kids, all parenting of kids is finding the right peer group,” Atkins said.

Toni Shy says it was a hard decision, but she knows Steven is ready. “He’s really mature and I think he can handle it.”

Steven Shy says he knows he’s ready too. “You just gotta keep pushing through and don’t let anything stop you even though people might say you shouldn’t do it.”

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