With so many stigmas and myths surrounding learning challenges, a dyslexia diagnosis can feel disheartening. However, with constructive learning habits and effective reading instruction, dyslexic learners can succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Learn more about some famous individuals with dyslexia who have found success in a range of fields.
Daymond John – Entrepreneur
As a successful entrepreneur and well-known host and investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, Daymond John has not been shy about his dyslexia diagnosis. Growing up, John always succeeded in math and science classes where he could take advantage of his analytical thinking, although he struggled with language arts and reading. Having been successful in logical reasoning and strategy in school, John found an opportunity to put these skills to practical use in a business co-op program at his high school. John was able to translate this experience into valuable business knowledge, which helped him create his own thriving company, FUBU. Daymond John claims he has been “blessed with dyslexia” throughout his career as a successful entrepreneur and investor, and he encourages others to be open about their dyslexia.
Jeanne Betancourt – Author and Screenwriter
Although dyslexia introduces certain reading and writing challenges, Jeanne Betancourt proves that dyslexia doesn’t have to get in the way of achieving your dreams. Many may be surprised that Betancourt has dyslexia and is a successful writer, but she says her dyslexia made her pay more attention to the world around her and made her a better storyteller as a result. As an author of over 75 novels for children and young adults, including many books that feature characters with dyslexia, Betancourt uses her real-life experiences in her writing. She is a recipient of the American Psychological Association’s National Psychological Award for Excellence in the Media and has been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards for her after-school specials.
Whoopi Goldberg – Actress
Before she was a household name, Whoopi Goldberg was a girl growing up in New York who struggled in school but loved having stories read to her. Goldberg was always creative as a child and found an outlet in performing with a children’s theatre group at the age of eight. Although her dyslexia was viewed as a lack of intelligence by some of her teachers and peers, Goldberg’s mother encouraged her and helped her focus on her strengths, such as her creativity, her acting talents, and her natural comedic ability. Goldberg continues to have an extremely successful career in entertainment as a host of The View and as one of only 15 actors to be awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.
Meryl Davis – Olympic Gold Medalist
No one reaches the peak of their career without facing some challenges, and this is undoubtedly true for Olympic gold medalist, Meryl Davis. Ice dancing was relatively unknown in the United States before Meryl Davis and her partner, Charlie White, popularized the sport leading up to the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. Although Davis had been successful in the sport for most of her life, she had to fight against the misconceptions surrounding dyslexia throughout her time in school. She studied exceptionally hard throughout school and claims that the work ethic she developed while learning with dyslexia helped her to succeed as an athlete. Davis’s struggles through school helped her realize that real success is being happy and putting effort into something you care about, rather than simply having the best grades in school.
After a dyslexia diagnosis, parents and children may feel a combination of relief, as they grow to understand their learning difference, and fear, as they wonder what the future will look like. However, dyslexic individuals are just as capable of success as their peers and reach all kinds of levels of success due to their perseverance and creativity.
At The Dyslexia Resource, we recognize the extraordinary successes of dyslexic individuals and encourage them to acknowledge their strengths in and out of school. With resources for parents and educators, The Dyslexia Resource is proud to support individuals who work with the dyslexic community. Learn more about our mission, online educational opportunities, and other resources to help empower dyslexic individuals.