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Dyslexia is a condition that affects up to 15% of Americans. The disorder causes the brain to mix up words, letters, and numbers, making it difficult to read (both silently and out loud) and comprehend written information. The condition is well-known in famous people found in Hollywood, such as Henry Winkler, Sir Richard Branson, and Bella Thorne have spoken about their experience with the condition.
It’s clear that dyslexia does not stop a person’s creativity or ability to succeed. Dyslexia does not affect a person’s intelligence, but it can make it more challenging to succeed in a traditional academic environment. Thankfully, there are many accommodations that can be made to help both students and adults with dyslexia achieve their full potential.
Theo Huxtable in The Cosby Show
In an episode of The Cosby Show, a famous TV show, Theo Huxtable is diagnosed with dyslexia. His experience on the show closely mirrors that of Bill Cosby’s real-life son, who was diagnosed with dyslexia in college.
In the episode, Theo learns to study differently, finding ways to achieve, despite the fact that he has to take a different approach than other students. The show does an excellent job of making it clear that dyslexia is a “glitch” in the way that a person thinks–not a condition that affects a person’s ability to succeed.
Donna Martin in Beverly Hills 90210
In the popular 90s series, Donna Martin is a young girl diagnosed with dyslexia. Her struggles in school were well explained throughout the show, and she was relieved to learn that there was an explanation unrelated to her intelligence for her academic struggles.
After having a hard time taking the SATs, she began to learn more about her learning struggles. After she’s diagnosed with dyslexia, not autism, she’s permitted to retake her exams orally, giving hope to dyslexic children that they can succeed academically and walk in her shoes.
Jordan Catalano in My So-Called Life
Jordan Catalano’s struggles in school were the main theme in My So-Called Life. The character discusses how much he despises being placed in remedial classes. At one point, a substitute teacher notices that Jordan tends to play dumb to hide his issues with reading.
Later in the series, his sister signs him up for tutoring so that he can begin to overcome his reading issues. Jordan is a great example of a character who is largely intelligent but struggles to shine in a traditional academic environment without the accommodations necessary for success.
Captain Rafe McCawley in Pearl Harbor
In the movie Pearl Harbor, Captain Rafe McCawley is passed to participate in military service, although his nurse (Evelyn) notices his dyslexia. During the eye exam portion of his pre-service physical, Rafe explains to Evelyn that he’s an excellent shot, but he’s always had trouble telling one letter from another, like many people with dyslexia.
At a time when learning disorders were not as well understood as they are today, viewers loved that Evelyn was able to see beyond Rafe’s disability.
Max and George in George Lopez
Father and son George and Max Lopez discover that they both have dyslexia in an episode of George Lopez. George struggles with his son’s diagnosis, as he does not want his son to be teased for getting the help that he needs in school. Eventually, Max decides to attend special education classes to get the accommodations that he needs to succeed in school.
Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy
Dr. Christina Yang is an excellent example of academic success despite a learning difficulty. Her peers and supervisors alike praise her academic and professional excellence.
Her dyslexia is not a major theme in the show, but knowing that she has a learning disability makes her relatable to others who have learning differences that cause struggles in academic and professional environments.
Matt Parkman in Heroes
Many episodes of Heroes make reference to Matt’s dyslexia. After he struggles to pass the detective exam, Matt learns that he has the opportunity to go through a series of interviews to get his official dyslexia diagnosis and get the OK to take the exam again.
Sadly, he does not go through with getting the accommodations that he needs, as he worries that letting his superiors know about his condition will affect his career.
Percy Jackson in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Percy is not the only character in Percy Jackson & the Olympians who struggles with dyslexia. Other demigods in the series have the condition as well. It’s explained that demigods are hard-wired to read Ancient Greek instead of English, and the way that their brains work makes it difficult for them to comprehend English letters and words. The show also mentions that for the demigods, dyslexia, and ADHD often go hand in hand.
CeCe Jones in Shake It Up
In an episode of Shake It Up, Cece’s mom threatens to make her quit “Shake It Up, Chicago!” unless she brings up her algebra grade. CeCe gets a tutor, who quickly notices that she suffers from dyslexia. Despite some difficulties and drama, CeCe eventually earns a B+ on her algebra test, allowing her to bring up her grade and remain in the performance.
Bonus Character – Ryder Lynn in Glee
After fighting with Jake Puckerman (Puck) in an episode of the show, fourth and fifth season high school Glee club member Ryder Lynn discovers that he has dyslexia. Some viewers wish that the storyline of Ryder’s learning disability would have been further explored by the series.
In conclusion, famous people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Hank Zipzer, and Aamir Khan have had dyslexia and it wasn’t a hindrance to their success.
Are there any movies about dyslexia?
The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia. This touching documentary follows the stories of both adults and kids as they talk about what it’s like to live with dyslexia. Both business leader Charles Schwab and politician Gavin Newsom appear in the documentary to discuss how growing up with reading difficulties affected their lives. The movie makes it clear that despite creating challenges (especially in childhood), dyslexia is not a barrier to creativity or success.
Journey Into Dyslexia. This documentary was created by filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond and discusses the importance of including people who think and process differently. Together, the pair talks with people including Nobel laureate Dr. Carol Greider, Intel Reader inventor Ben Foss, and environmental advocate Erin Brockovich about how they rose to success despite reading issues.
Like Stars on Earth. This English-dubbed Indian film follows the story of Ishaan, an 8-year-old who has been labeled as lazy by his teachers due to his constant daydreaming. His parents aren’t sure what to do, so they send him to boarding school. While at his new school, an art teacher recognizes that Ishaan has more going on in his mind than a stellar imagination. Together, the unlikely pair work to get Ishaan the academic accommodation that he needs to succeed.
What are the signs of dyslexia?
Dyslexia is not a problem with intelligence, rather, it’s a learning disability that can cause trouble reading, spelling, and writing, as well as creating comprehension problems.
Dyslexia can be managed through classroom accommodations and using different learning strategies. Some signs of dyslexia include learning new words, having issues with spelling and grammar despite not struggling in other academic areas, avoidance of or refusal to read out loud in class, difficulty copying words from a textbook and a lower reading level than peers of the same age.
What artist has dyslexia?
Pablo Picasso was a world-renowned painter who had dyslexia. Picasso’s brain flipped the orientation of words in his brain, making it hard for him to keep up with his academic studies in his school-age years. While dyslexia created challenges for Picasso in the classroom, there’s no doubt that his learning disability had a beautiful result: his timeless artwork. Picasso is an excellent example that people who are dyslexic simply learn differently, and are just as capable of achieving greatness as others.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disability that causes people to have trouble interpreting words, symbols, and letters. General intelligence is not affected by dyslexia, but children who are affected by the learning disorder and are not provided proper accommodations for success may struggle academically.
The four types of dyslexia are double deficit dyslexia, rapid naming deficit, surface dyslexia, and phonological dyslexia.
What do they struggle with?
People who have dyslexia may struggle with reading, comprehension, and spelling. They may also struggle with taking a longer time than others to complete assignments at work or school, as they need to repeatedly go back and check that they have not transposed (mixed up) written or typed information.
Why does the character have dyslexia?
While not all people can relate to the experience of having dyslexia, many people can empathize with the experience of having others doubt their intelligence due to circumstances beyond their control. When an author or screenwriter chooses to feature a character with dyslexia, they are creating a person who is relatable, as the reader or viewer can see the character’s intelligence before the other characters in the book or movie become aware.