updated 12/07/1981 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/07/1981 AT 01:00 AM EST
Florence Baccus took a year off from counseling in a Miami suburban high school to live with the youngest of her six children at NYU, where he has a full scholarship. Florence and husband James, an attorney, first noticed Stephen's extraordinary mental abilities when, at 6 months, he could differentiate between a bumblebee and a honeybee in a child's picture book. With the help of Sesame Street, he was reading at age 2. "We would go to restaurants and he would read the menu and people would look at him funny," Florence recalls. These days he uses his home computer to help his mother balance her bank account. "I wouldn't say I'm smart," Stephen demurs. "I just learn fast."
His theatrical talents became apparent at age 6. Bored with his toys, he took acting lessons during vacations. Now he is determined to make it to Broadway. In any case, Stephen does not intend to let his violent introduction to New York sour him on the city. "I'm not afraid," he says. "It could happen anywhere." Adds Mom: "We have a video game at home. I think he'll just play that from now on."