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In Their Own Words: Dealing with Dyslexia

Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels.

People with dyslexia can be very bright. They are often capable or even gifted in areas such as art, computer science, design, drama, electronics, math, mechanics, music, physics, sales, and sports. Some of our nation's most well-known and successful individuals have confronted the challenge of dyslexia. Below is a sampling of celebrities who have spoken up about their experiences as individuals with dyslexia.

Jennifer Aniston

(Actor, producer, and businesswoman)
"The only reason I knew [I had dyslexia] was because I went to get a prescription for glasses … My eyes would jump four words and go back two, and I also had a little bit of lazy eye … Until then, I thought I wasn't smart. I just couldn't retain anything. Now I had this great discovery. I felt like all of my childhood 'trauma-dies'—tragedies, dramas—were explained."

Harry Belafonte

(Singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist)
"I grew up in a school system … where nobody understood the meaning of learning disorder … I was constantly being physically abused."

Anderson Cooper

(CNN anchor and talk show host)
"As a child, I had … a mild form of dyslexia where I would see some letters backward, and I had to go to a special reading instructor. One way she helped was to encourage me to find books that I was really passionate about."

Whoopi Goldberg

(Actor, comedian, writer, social critic, and television host) "I'm dyslexic, so there weren't a whole lot of books in my early life … I still like to be read to."

Alyssa Milano

(Actor, singer, and songwriter)
"I've stumbled over words while reading from teleprompters. Sir John Gielgud, whom I worked with on The Canterville Ghost years ago, gave me great advice. When I asked how he memorized his monologues, he said, 'I write them down.' I use that method to this day. It not only familiarizes me with the words, it makes them my own."

Patrick Dempsey

(Actor and race car driver)
Diagnosed with dyslexia at age 12 after spending years in a special needs class, Dempsey has said, "I have never given up." In a 2006 interview, he told Barbara Walters, "I've gone back and started to learn to read on a very basic level."

Read More "Dyslexic" Articles

In Their Own Words: Dealing with Dyslexia / Decoding Dyslexia, a Common Learning Disability / What is Dyslexia? / Special Education and Research

Winter 2016 Issue: Volume 10 Number 4 Page 16-17