Dyslexia is a neurological learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading. It was not largely understood until the late 20th century. Even today it can be difficult for doctors to diagnose. There are evidence-based treatments which are effective, even for adults with the condition.
Multi-talented star, Goldberg was called “stupid” back then by class bullies, and dropped out of school. It was after she left school that she realized she had dyslexia. She’s since earned tons of honors, including one of the scarcest combinations of all: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award.
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Aniston, one of America’s best TV Friends, also has dyslexia. Aniston herself didn’t know until she was in her 20s. She says finding out illuminated why she found it difficult to read back then in school. The diagnosis answered a lot of questions. She told Hollywood Reporter: “I felt like all my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, dramas, were explained.”
Glover didn’t know he was dyslexic until he was 30. Not having a diagnosis back then he felt “unworthy to learn.” However Glover found an escape in acting, which, he says gave him a way of expressing some of that inner life that was raging inside of him
This actor-turned-author was always one to invent on the set. Winkler confesses his trouble reading was a big reason for going off-script. He says dyslexia also taught him kindness. You can see that when he talks about Hank Zipzer, “world’s greatest underachiever” and the main character in the children’s books he’s written about dyslexia.
Legendary heavyweight boxing champ could also barely read. Dyslexia was one of Ali’s first fights. And he attested to be a brilliant wordsmith, quoted around the world. He said, “A man who has no imagination has no wings.”
British entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Groups, Richard Branson says dyslexia and what he describes as “a different way of thinking” have helped him succeed. He has launched more than 400 companies, including a recording label and airline. He has also been knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
Dyslexia has also been a main character in the novels of Irving. When words were too difficult, Irving took to the gym in high school. Wrestling carried him to college, where the writing bug took hold. Since then, book titles have been his claim to fame.
Comedian and former host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno says there wasn’t really a name for dyslexia when he was in high school, everyone just told him to smarten up. Leno told 60 Minutes that it all turned around when a creative writing teacher suggested he put some of the funny stories he was always telling on paper. “That was the first time in my life I really focused on something.”
This British-born Academy Award nominee said getting good grades earned her time on stage, so she was eager to please. Though behind the scenes, some classmates were just as eager to tease. “It’s amazing what a child calling you stupid would do to make you read pretty quickly,” Knightley recalls. She says dyslexia has made her the actress she is today.