In “11 Celebrities Who Overcame Dyslexia” on Mental Floss, Scott Allen posted a list of people who have dyslexia and whose names many people recognize. His lead tells the tale.
On Monday, molecular biologists Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn became the first two women to share the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Greider also joined Pierre Curie and Archer Martin among the handful of individuals with dyslexia who have won a Nobel Prize. In honor of Greider’s accomplishment and National Dyslexic Awareness Month, here’s a brief background on dyslexia and 11 other dyslexic celebrities.
Dyslexia in Brief
According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a language-based learning disability (or difference, if you prefer) that may affect an individual’s ability to read, write, spell, and pronounce words. It is the most common learning disability. While the effects of dyslexia range from mild to severe, an estimated 15 to 20 percent of the population has some of the symptoms of dyslexia. It’s unclear what causes dyslexia, but imagery studies reveal that a dyslexic person’s brain develops differently than someone without symptoms of dyslexia. Contrary to popular belief, people with dyslexia do not read “backwards,” though many dyslexics do a variety of other interesting things, as you’ll read below.
Fortunately, Mr. Allen used the word “estimated” near his prevalence numbers, as they are not consistent with the identification rates. I was also happy to see that he did not perpetuate the popular fallacy about reversals.
Like most such lists, Mr. Allen’s runs thick with people from the entertainment industry.
Link to Mr. Allen’s list. Check the comments for a glimpse of the public’s perception of dyslexia.