Many people, despite having normal intelligence, have trouble reading. What they may not realize is that they could be affected by dyslexia, a reading disorder that can occur in varying degrees, ranging from difficulty in spelling, to reading or writing incorrectly to misunderstanding what you read. The cause of dyslexia could be genetic or environmental, but recognizing it is vital and help is easily available now; a luxury these celebs did not have.
Jennifer Aniston had no idea she was dyslexic till she was in her 20’s, blaming herself for her lack of focus. The beloved ‘Rachel’ of super-series ‘Friends‘ says finding out rid her of the guilt of being the backbencher or ‘clown of the class’ in school, and coming to grips with many childhood traumas of being an under-achiever. Today her fans number in the millions.
Steven Spielberg discovered his handicap even later in life, at age 60. He struggled through school, was a victim of constant bullying, and even dropped out of college. The prolific director’s way of fighting back has been to give us some of the greatest masterpieces on the silver screen including: Jaws, E.T, Schindler’s List and the more recent Bridge of Spies.
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was acutely aware of his impaired reading ability, which is why he often countered his boast, “I am the greatest” with “I never said I was the smartest”. The all-time champion could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, but had a hard time reading properly.
Jay Leno, comedian and host of ‘The Tonight Show’, laughs at himself by saying there wasn’t even a name for dyslexia when he was growing up. He was always being told to ‘smarten up’. He took his creative writing teacher’s advice to put his funny stories into writing, and hasn’t looked back since.
Richard Branson remembers his school principal predicting that he’d either end up in prison or become a millionaire. Read that as billionaire many times over now. Branson says being dyslexic and having ‘a different way of thinking’ got him where he is today. The Virgin Group founder owns over 400 companies and has been knighted by the Queen for his contribution to Britain’s economy.