Celebrities with dyslexia

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.

1 Response to “Celebrities with dyslexia”

  • Hi! I am a certified K-8 teacher but I am currently working as a paraprofessional and aiding a student who has symptoms of severe dyslexia. He has language problems and is in the 6th grade and can comprehend the content if it is presented orally but can not read above a 1st grade reading level or write or spell well at any level other than copying print. My question is will someone PLEASE help me to understand what is going on in a severely dyslexic person’s head and help me to help him. The Special Services teacher and I have finally decided that we can make progress with him in reading by reading a first grade level book to him and then have him read it back to us. He can read fairly fluently this way and seems to be motivated to self correct and decode by atleast one or two letters in a word.Our hope is that he will memorize sight words and now that I’ve got him tracking while he reads or someone reads to him, he will recognize and use decoding skills such as prediction, use of context clues, and sounding out words. He still has difficulty recognizing that a word in a line above is the same word as the word in the next line. I would love to relay any message from a celebrity to him as far as a personal anecdote that helped them learn to read or anything that would make him feel better and possibly motivate him to push on and see himself as a successful reader.
    Thank you so much for your time and assistance!!!!! I can not wait to hear from you and promise to keep this on a professional level.

    Mrs. Dixie Hisle
    34520 North Highway 41
    Miami R-1 School

    P.S. I guess I’m such a compassionate, hard working teacher because of my own learning disability of A.D.D. which causes me to empathize greatly.Thank goodness for Ritalin and learning how to compensate! 🙂
    Miami, MO 65344

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