Dyslexia success stories

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Dyslexia on April 17, 2023
These dyslexia success stories from famous people from all walks of life show that a disability is not an obstacle to achieving any goals.

    Dyslexia success stories

    Dyslexia is a reading disability that causes learning difficulties for over 10% of the population. Signs of dyslexia include difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling. While dyslexia presents obstacles for those affected, it’s possible to overcome them and live successful lives.

    The inspiring success stories of individuals with dyslexia prove that this condition doesn’t make any goal unattainable. Of course, it’s worth noting that everyone’s idea of a successful life is different, and there should be no pressure on people with disabilities to be over-achievers.

    The main challenges of dyslexia

    For individuals with dyslexia, the main challenge is reading: they may have difficulty recognizing and deciphering words, even when they already know how to sound out the letters. This can make reading and understanding written text a time-consuming and frustrating task. Consequently, those with dyslexia often struggle with writing and spelling, as they may have trouble finding the right words and recalling the correct spelling.

    Dyslexia can impede learning in school if the environment and materials aren’t accessible. Students with dyslexia may struggle with completing school assignments promptly, studying for tests, and expressing their knowledge in writing. These difficulties can lead to lower grades and feelings of frustration, and low self-esteem.

    In the workplace, dyslexia can cause difficulty with tasks such as organizing data, reading and understanding workplace documents, and taking written notes.

    Success stories from people with dyslexia

    Despite the challenges of dyslexia, many people have managed to overcome them and achieve success. Here are some of the most inspiring stories from individuals with dyslexia who became influential goal-achievers.

    Whoopi Goldberg

    Whoopi Goldberg is an Academy Award-winning actress, comedian, radio host, television personality, and author. She is one of only ten people to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award, and was the first woman to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Her career began when Steven Spielberg saw her in a comedy show and selected her to star in the movie The Color Purple, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1990, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Ghost.

    She has since won a Grammy for Best Comedy Recording, a Tony for producing 2002’s Best Musical, and a Special Emmy Award. In addition to her work on stage and screen, Goldberg is a UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador who is active in advocacy for causes such as poverty, homelessness, and HIV/AIDS. She co-hosts an Emmy award-winning talk show on ABC and is the author of two children’s books. Whoopi Goldberg is a true example of how determination and hard work can lead to great success.

    Jay Leno

    Jay Leno is an iconic comedian, television host, and author. After appearing on The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson in 1977, Leno became the permanent guest host in 1987 before taking over as the full-time host in 1992. In addition to his television and comedy career, Leno is a published author and has lent his voice to several animated films.

    While he struggled with dyslexia while growing up, Leno is a testament to the power of dedication, having developed his comedic skills and persevered through challenging auditions to become the success he is today. He is currently still performing stand-up comedy shows and actively supporting charitable causes.

    Henry Winkler

    Henry Winkler has been entertaining audiences for decades. He has starred in movies, TV series, and plays, directed movies, produced television shows, and written books while living with dyslexia. He grew up with parents who believed in education but couldn’t understand his difficulty with school and often called him “lazy” and “stupid.”

    At 31, he was diagnosed with dyslexia. He made it through school and then Yale School of Drama and went on to success with roles like Arthur Fonzarelli in Happy Days, as well as producing, directing, acting, and writing. He found ways to cope with the audition process and used problem-solving, big-picture thinking, and his “sixth sense” to help others.

    Richard Branson

    Richard Branson is one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. He has built eight billion-dollar businesses from scratch. He believes that dyslexia has encouraged him to be creative and innovative – to delegate tasks away to focus on the creative side and only use marketing materials that he can easily understand. This method has worked for him, and a 2007 survey found that one-third of US business owners identified as dyslexic.

    Jennifer Aniston

    Friends star Jennifer Aniston wasn’t aware of her dyslexia until adulthood. During her school years, she experienced difficulties with reading and keeping up with the pace of the class. It wasn’t until years later that Aniston was diagnosed with dyslexia. Her diagnosis came as a relief after years of feeling frustrated in schools. Today, Jennifer Aniston is a successful actress with two SAG awards, an Emmy, and a Golden Globe Award.

    Keira Knightley

    Actress and fashion model Keira Knightley was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of six. She made a deal with her parents, where they would provide an agent to further her acting career in exchange for Keira putting effort into conquering her fear of reading and memorizing scripts and screenplays.

    Albert Einstein

    Albert Einstein, one of the most celebrated scientists of all time and a Nobel Prize winner, demonstrates that even the most intelligent individuals can have dyslexia. As a child, he had difficulty with language development, only becoming proficient at a later age. He was fond of math and science but struggled with grammar and spelling.

    Gavin Newsom

    Gavin Newsom was diagnosed with dyslexia at five years old but was unaware of it until he reached fifth grade. It caused him difficulties academically and with self-confidence, but his mother’s support and extra tutoring in high school helped him make it to college. At Santa Clara University, Newsom developed a passion for politics and overcame his reading difficulties with solid retention and the ability to think quickly. This gave him the skills to be successful in college and his political career.

    Salma Hayek

    Salma Hayek was diagnosed with dyslexia in her teens, but it didn’t stop her from succeeding in school. When she decided to pursue an acting career, she moved to the US, where her disability hindered her learning of English. Nevertheless, she persevered and starred in her first film after only a year. Hayek has since had a successful Hollywood career and no longer feels limited by her dyslexia.

    Overcome dyslexia with Speechify

    Speechify is an innovative tool that can help individuals overcome dyslexia and improve their reading skills. Speechify’s AI-powered app converts any written digital or physical text into an audio format, allowing dyslexic individuals to listen to the content instead of reading it. The app offers a wide range of customization options, such as adjusting the reading speed and voice type, making it a versatile tool for people of all ages and reading abilities. By using Speechify, individuals with dyslexia can access the same educational and professional opportunities as their peers without the condition, and overcome the barriers that dyslexia often presents. Get on the path to your own dyslexia success story and try Speechify today.


    Do people with dyslexia have a higher IQ?

    While dyslexia is a neurological condition that can cause learning differences, it is unrelated to intelligence and doesn’t positively or negatively influence it.

    What is the most successful profession for a dyslexic person?

    Provided they can access accessibility measures and an inclusive environment, people with dyslexia can perform the same jobs as their “non-dyslexic” peers. The same is true for people with other conditions that may impact learning, such as ADHD. However, creative fields and jobs that focus more on social or imaginative work may be more comfortable for some individuals.

    Does dyslexia affect only reading?

    Dyslexia is mainly a reading disability, but it can impact processing information related to reading, such as understanding mathematical formulae.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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    “Congratulations for this lovely project. Speechify is brilliant. Growing up with dyslexia this would have made a big difference. I'm so glad to have it today.”
    - Sir Richard Branson
    "Speechify lets me listen to Goop blog posts out loud in the car and gets my friends through grad school. It's amazing for scripts."
    - Gwyneth Paltrow