Dyslexia is a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) that affects the way information is learned and processed. It is a neurological difference and usually runs in families. Dyslexia occurs independently of intelligence. It can have a significant impact on education, especially when it comes to reading and writing.
Dyslexia is not only about literacy, even though weaknesses in literacy is often it’s the most visible sign. Dyslexia affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved, affecting memory, the speed of processing, the perception of time, organisation and sequencing. Dyslexics may also have difficulty navigating a route or may mix up left and right.
Plenty of famous people in history are supposed to have been dyslexic. Even though it appears some of these assertions are conjecture, there is no doubt that you can find many successful dyslexic folks in all fields and disciplines. Even a shortlist of a few modern-day dyslexics includes some impressive names.
Let´s go to Hollywood first. Director Steven Spielberg, who brought us Indiana Jones, Schindler´s List, Jurassic Park, and Lincoln, spoke to the Friends of Quinn website about being dyslexic. Spielberg was only diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult. His words to young people with learning disabilities are as inspiring as any scene from one of his movies:
“You are not alone, and while you will have dyslexia for the rest of your life, you can dart between the raindrops to get where you want to go. It will not hold you back.”
Another film luminary who was not diagnosed young but who went on to win an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy Award is Whoopi Goldberg. Besides her phenomenal talent, Goldberg possesses plenty of grit and overcame struggles in school and drug use to become one of the most successful performers of all time.
Moving to the world of business, we find many successful dyslexics among top entrepreneurs. The companies Cisco´s, Kinkos, and Virgin all were led by dyslexic CEOs. Another influential business figure and adviser to the Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Reserve Board, Diane Swonk, is also dyslexic and nearly failed English in college despite her high level of intelligence and abilities in math and economics.
We end with a dyslexic who defines “boundary-pusher”: explorer Ann Bancroft. Bancroft has travelled by foot and dogsled to the North and South Poles and is a living example that there are no places dyslexics cannot go.