Your Teen Can Be the Next Great Thing

Being afflicted with ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia (or other learning disabilities) doesn’t necessarily mean that your child will be an outcast of the society. Of course not. Gone are the medieval days. In fact, this is should not be a hindrance for them to become the great big thing that they are; and they should be able to discover their innate talents and abilities just the same way as other people would.

To give you inspiration, here’s a list of famous people who grew up with their learning disabilities:

Artists and Artisans

Tommy Hilfiger is an internationally-known fashion designer.

Sculptor Robert Graham struggled with dyslexia. His wife, actress Anjelica Huston explains, “Robert didn’t realize he had a form of dyslexia until his own son was diagnosed. But Robert’s artistic gift immeasurably outstripped his difficulty.”

Robert Rauschenberg is a multi-media artist who has had significant influence in the world of modern art and has even been called the “Picasso of the 21st Century.”


Jim Shea, Jr. earned a gold medal competing in the skeleton (a small sled) event at the 2002 Winter Olympics, making him the first third-generation Winter Olympian in U.S. history.

Neil Smith, NFL professional football player, is defensive end for the San Diego Chargers.

Jackie Stewart is a race car driving champion who has been inducted into the Grand Prix Hall of Fame.

Business Leaders

John T. Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, has revolutionized the technology industry and is recognized as one of the most fascinating business leaders of our times.

Barbara Corcoran, founder of one of New York City’s largest residential real estate agencies, recently authored Use What You’ ve Got & Other Business Lessons I Learned from my Mom.

Community Advocates and Activists

Erin Brockovich, inspiration for the movie of the same name, now serves as Director of Environmental Research at the law offices of Masry & Vititoe.

Dexter Scott King, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is President and CEO of The King Center in Atlanta, GA. His memoir, Growing Up King, was published in 2003.

Entertainers and Celebrities

Orlando Bloom, the popular English actor, played Legolas, the elf warrior in the film, Lord of the Rings.

Cher, an Academy Award-winning actress, is also well-known for her pop music and 1970s hit TV variety show. (Source: Barbara Walters Special excerpted in Everybody Has a Song, 2001.)

Whoopi Goldberg is an actress and comedian who has used her stardom to raise money to eliminate homelessness.

Salma Hayek is a Mexican-born actress who co-produced and starred in the film Frida, about artist Frida Kahlo.

Jay Leno is a popular comedian and late-night talk show host.

Legal and Political Figures

David Boies, a runner-up in 2000 for Time Magazine’s Man of the Year, is a prestigious lawyer involved in high-profile cases.

Nelson Rockefeller served as governor of New York for 12 years and as Vice President of the United States under Gerald Ford.

Medical Proffessionals

Harvey Cushing, M.D. (1869-1939) a world renowned neurosurgeon, had dyslexia.

Helen Taussig, M.D. (1898-1986) This successful cardiologist struggled with dyslexia, which made school difficult for her. Even so, she graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School.


Jewel is a young pop-music sensation who recently wrote an autobiography of her life growing up in Alaska.

Stephan Jenkins, is a former University of California at Berkeley valedictorian and the singer-songwriter for Third Eye Blind, a rock group with two platinum albums to its credit.

Scientists, Engineers and Technology Experts

Engineer and inventor William “Bill” Hewlett (1913-2001) co-founded with David Packard the Hewlett-Packard Company in 1939, which became the second-largest computer company in the world.

Richard Rogers, one of Britain’s most-admired architects, is known for his many stunning buildings and his pioneering views on sustainable cities.

Writers and Media Professionals

John Irving is a novelist and screenplay writer of World According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire, and Cider House Rules, a movie that recently won acclaim and award nominations.

Poet Richard Moore has struggled with dyslexia all his life, yet it hasn’t kept him from doing what he loves. A graduate of Yale University, he has published a novel, a book of literary criticism, and 12 books of poetry — the first of which, A Question of Survival, earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination in the 1970s.

Robert Benton, a three-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter and director who is dyslexic, still finds reading and writing laborious.

After seeing the list, you might want to share it with your kid. Tell them stories about it. Encourage them. Inspire them. Who knows, the next name that we will be reading off the list will be your son or daughter’s name. Super, huh?

For the resource and complete list of celebrities with ADD/ADHD and/or Dyslexia, please click here.

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