Often, when we are learning about a new diagnosis in our life (child or otherwise), we look to celebrities, or famous people, to help us see that it can affect anyone. There are many famous people with dyslexia, and the list might surprise you!
Dyslexia is a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. It is also called a reading disability. Here is a previous video I did on dyslexia.
Dyslexia is ill-defined and not yet really fully understood. It does not help that there are many definitions and many labels such as “reading disability” and “Specific Learning Difficulty”.
We are in the infancy of neuroscience and there is much more to do and learn before we understand how the brain works differently in some learners and from learner to learner. But there is the notion that labelling can stigmatize children, and indeed some labels can, such as “stupid”, “slow”, or “dumb”, however some labels, like dyslexic can help our children get the support and accommodations they need.
TYPES OF DYSLEXIA
There are six recognized types of dyslexia. Let’s have a look at them.
This is the most common type of dyslexia, and is a dysfunction of the left side of the brain (cerebral cortex) and does not change with age. There are various levels of severity with this type of dyslexia and many are still successful academically and throughout their lives. There are others who continue to struggle significantly with reading, writing, and spelling throughout their adult lives. Primary dyslexia is hereditary and is found more often in boys than in girls.
Secondary dyslexia is caused by issues with brain development during fetal development. It usually diminishes as the child grows – so yes, they “grow out of it”.
This type of dyslexia can occur after brain trauma or injury to the part of the brain that controls reading and writing. This is not usually seen in school age children, but is more prevalent in adults with brain injuries.
VISUAL OR AUDITORY DYSLEXIA
Visual dyslexia is also known as “visual processing disorder” where the brain does not properly interpret visual cues and signals. Auditory dyslexia is also known as “auditory processing disorder” where there are issues processing sounds and speech.
Dysgraphia refers to the child’s difficulty holding and controlling a pencil so that the correct markings can be made on the paper.
DYSLEXIA AND CREATIVITY
There are many examples of people who have dyslexia and are incredibly creative. There is no imperial evidence that proves that people with dyslexia are naturally more creative than others but there are still studies and research going on. Many actors and performing artists thrive in the entertainment industry, and there are a number of entrepreneurs who have brilliant creative ideas. Of course, what we see are people with support and who have found ways to accommodate their needs.
FAMOUS PEOPLE WITH DYSLEXIA
Here is a list of a few famous people with dyslexia:
- Whoopi Goldberg
- Daniel Radcliffe
- Steven Spielberg
- Tim Tebow
- Keira Knightley
- Orlando Bloom
- Tom Cruise
- Richard Branson
- Walt Disney
- Pablo Picasso
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Bill Gates
- Albert Einstein
- Agatha Christie
Of course, this list is not extensive. But as you look at these creative, entrepreneurial and inventive people, you can see why some really feel there is a correlation between dyslexia and creativity.
DYSLEXIA IS A GIFT
We don’t have to let dyslexia stigmatize and define us in a negative way. Looking at the lists of successful people can encourage and inspire us that a difficulty in reading does not have to hold us back. Dyslexia can be a gift. I don’t think that people with dyslexia are successful in spite of their diagnosis but because of it. Finding ways to accommodate the challenges can open up doors and allow you to see things differently.