Famous People Who Overcame Learning Disabilities

George Washington's inability to spell despite his education has been attributed to a form of dyslexia.

George Washington’s inability to spell despite his education has been attributed to a form of dyslexia.

by Frank Mazzaglia -

Parents are understandably upset to hear that one of their children has a learning disability. This is a disorder generally characterized by difficulty in understanding or using spoken or written language. Overcoming learning difficulties can be challenging and stressful.

Yet, there are famous figures whose very disabilities have been instrumental in developing willpower that has resulted in remarkable success. Success that went far beyond all reasonable expectations when the learning disability was first diagnosed.

Albert Einstein’s parents worried about his odd habits and his school difficulties because of symptoms that would probably be diagnosed today as a mild form of autism. The same is true of Benjamin Franklin.

George Washington could never spell very well despite his education. Some professionals now attribute Washington’s inability to spell properly as a form of dyslexia. Woodrow Wilson, the only U.S. President to hold a Ph.D., struggled so much with the written word that he was most probably an undiagnosed dyslexic. Likewise, Sylvester Stallone, one of the highest paid actors of all time, suffers even today from dyslexia.

Comedian Robin Williams has also been diagnosed with attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Yet, despite his disability, he memorizes complicated scripts. The same ADHD afflicted Jules Verne who wrote “Journey to the Center of The Earth.” Verne performed poorly in school and frequently complained about an inability to focus.

Everybody knows Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer (military, civil, and aeronautical), inventor, anatomist, cartographer, theoretician, and musician. Historians tell us that his instinctive curiosity led him to numerous discoveries and achievements, some of which we are still only beginning to comprehend from the thousands of pages of his surviving handwritten notes and drawings. His painting of ‘The Last Supper’ is awesome. Yet it is suspected that despite his savant-like skills and perfectionist qualities, Leonardo da Vinci also had Asperger’s.

It will surprise some to know that Gen. George Patton, one of the most brilliant minds in American military history, did not do well in school. It is widely held that Patton had either some form of dyslexia or another related learning disability. It is interesting to note that George C. Scott, the actor who won an Academy Award for playing Patton, had a similar learning disability.

Agatha Christie, one of the most famous mystery writers of all time, had a learning problem which affected her ability to understand written words. Cher has another form of dyslexia which gives her trouble remembering numbers and performing basic mathematics.

Read more at The other side of disabilities.

[Via The Metro West Daily News]

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