Dyslexia is known to most people as a learning disability and reading disorder because it is causing problems in reading, spelling, and writing. What most people do not know, unfortunately, is that dyslexia is actually a gift. After having worked with dyslexic students for 30 years, the below insights might explain why some parents wished that their child was dyslexic. 

Famous people with dyslexia

Ashley Graham is just one of the most recent celebrities who is sharing her experience of having dyslexia.

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As ET Online reports, the 29-year-old American model is featured on the cover of Elle Canada's October issue. Besides Elle, Graham has been featured in fashion magazines like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Glamour. Graham – who became the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue -- appeared on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show, Entertainment Tonight, and CBS News.

Additional famous people with dyslexia include Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci, Agatha Christie, F.

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Scott Fitzgerald, Gustave Flaubert, W.B. Yeats, Ann Bancroft (Arctic Explorer), Alexander Graham Bell, John R. Horner (Jurassic Park), Pierre Curie (Physicist), Werner Von Braun, Erin Brockovich, George Patton, Henry Ford, William Hewlett, Charles Schwab, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller, Woodrow Wilson, George Washington, Cher, John Lennon, Harry Belafonte, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Keanu Reeves, Henry Winkler, Anthony Hopkins, Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina) and the dearly missed Robin Williams.

Dyslexia is a curse in a traditional school environment

The pain that the above famous celebrities experienced in traditional school environments because of their dyslexia is unimaginable. Graham’s words about her school experience reflect what Steven Spielberg, Whoopie Goldberg, and Tom Cruise said. "Being told in the fourth grade that you're dyslexic and you’re not going to be able to read properly takes a toll on you, and it really makes you believe you’re dumb," Graham said.

Like many other famous celebrities, Graham says that she was being bullied in school because of her dyslexia.

"I would always hear people say, 'Oh, thank God she's pretty.' I'll say it as a joke now because I haven’t let dyslexia take over who I am."

Dyslexia is a gift -- if parents know it

While dyslexia is a curse in an environment that focuses on left-brain tasks like reading, writing, math, and major auditory processes, dyslexia is a gift when it comes to innovative spatial visualization (that’s why dyslexic students turn letters around), groundbreaking new insights, and imaginative and ingenious ideas. 

Like Graham, dyslexic students distinguish themselves by being innovative and being the first in something because their creative right brain hemisphere is quite dominant.

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Of course, in addition to reading, that strong creativity extends to sleeping habits, eating preferences, and especially values. In her interview, Ashley Graham shared that despite all pressure, she chose to wait to have sex with her husband until after they were married. Having strong values is undoubtedly one of the characteristics shared by many individuals with dyslexia.

Why teaching students with dyslexia is a challenge

Undeniably, teaching an individual with dyslexia is a challenge.

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However, it is not a challenge because dyslexia is a disability -- but because it is an utmost ability. With the correct technique, all dyslexic students can learn to read at or even above their grade level. Dealing with the very dominant creative mind, on the other hand, is a different story.   

For Whoopie Goldberg, Cher, Picasso, and even Leonardo da Vinci, dyslexia turned into success once they left the traditional school environment. For Keira Knightley, Ashley Graham, and many other famous celebrities, the success came when their parents realized that dyslexia was more of a case of  an amazing “ability” and not “dis-ability.”

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