1. Barbara Corcoran is a powerhouse to be reckoned with on the hit television
show, Shark Tank, along with the next 2 celebrities on our list. Barbara admittedly
struggled with dyslexia throughout school but did not have a diagnosis until later
in adulthood when she noticed her son was struggling with reading and began
seeking answers for him. [As you continue reading, you’ll see a common theme
throughout is late diagnoses. One reason we fight for awareness at Dyslexia
School of Houston (DSH) is so others don’t have to fight to read and write].
2. Daymond John “Dyslexia is not a weakness; it’s simply a different way of
learning. I am dyslexic and I am also a parent. Despite being dyslexic myself, it
took me years to discover that one of my daughters is dyslexic as well. I wasn’t
even the person who spotted it! Unlike ADD and many other learning disabilities,
there are no pills that cure dyslexia. The only cure is more education. This is one
of the main reasons why there isn’t a ton of awareness about dyslexia. There are
no drugs to make money from, so there’s no need for pharmaceutical companies
to fund ad campaigns that would educate people on the symptoms,” said
Daymond John at the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity.
3. Kevin O’Leary is the third Shark Tank cast member on our list. He grew up
knowing he was dyslexic and, because of this, was able to seek proper help
sooner than some. “I had serious dyslexia when I was young. But I was very
fortunate to get into an experimental program at McGill University. They taught
me that I didn’t really have a disability. I had a superpower,” Mr. Wonderful has
said. And that’s exactly what our students at DSH learn about their dyslexia, too.
4. Jennifer Aniston struggled with school growing up and it weighed heavily on her
confidence. As a young adult, she went in for an eye exam, only to find out she
has dyslexia. Ever since, Jennifer has advocated for others with dyslexia and
brought awareness to the neurological disorder.
5. Henry Winkler proves that even the “coolest guy in town” can struggle with
hardships and insecurities. The actor best known for his role as Fonzie in the
television show, Happy Days, is now the author of several children’s books
specifically written to help children with dyslexia. Purchase copies of his books
6. Whoopi Goldberg struggled with bullying as a child and was labeled “dumb” or
“retarded” by her peers. She did not receive a diagnosis for her dyslexia until
adulthood, but was fortunate to be raised by a mother who understood her own
child. Whoopi recalls, “I had a mother who understood there was something
different about the way I learned.”
Sometimes, being understood is the most helpful tool of all.
7. Richard Branson actually founded a non-profit organization to support and bring
awareness to dyslexia known as, Made By Dyslexia. Their organization employs
people with dyslexia and aims to be an alliance for the community while raising
funds for education and opportunities across the globe. Learn more at
8. Jay Leno is known as a “late-night, funny guy,” but like many comedians, has
suffered with his own adversities along the way, but has not let his dyslexia stop
him from reaching success. In fact, Leno has said, “I discovered that being a little
bit different actually sets you aside in show business; it makes you special. You
always try to turn your negative into a positive.”
9. Muhammad Ali influenced generations, but not just as a famous athlete. Ali, who
passed away in 2016, was also an advocate for many causes, including literacy
for all as someone who struggled with dyslexia, himself. Role models like
Muhammad Ali are not only impactful, but imperative, for changing the
educational system and changing hearts towards those learning to read and
10. Steven Spielberg is last on our list but has ranked 1st in the box offices and on
silver screens for decades. Spielberg did not receive his dyslexia diagnosis until
the age of 60, which was only 16 years ago for the 76 year-old film director and
producer. He said he “never felt like a victim,” and was fortunate to have caring
parents who allowed his creativity to flourish.
Just like every celebrity listed above, people with dyslexia want to be understood while
having the opportunity to succeed. Bringing dyslexia awareness to all is so important
because it affects more people than you’d think…To be exact, 1 in 5 people will struggle
with dyslexia throughout their lifetime, whether they’ve been diagnosed or not.
At Dyslexia School of Houston, we advocate literacy for all. That’s why The Code
Academy was founded….Our 501c3 non-profit creates opportunities for all children, no
matter their financial situation, to be literate; a civil right for all.