It’s more probable you’ll be a diagnosed dyslexic than a famous actor or actress. For even the most talented entertainers, the odds of becoming a star are nearly impossible. According to the International Dyslexia Association, the odds of being diagnosed as a dyslexic are 1 in 5. The tools it takes to be a successful entertainer are quite similar to those needed to combat the symptoms of dyslexia – practice, patience, determination, and perseverance. By learning how to overcome the struggles caused by their learning disabilities, these famous dyslexics managed to stand out among the rest in Hollywood.
“I had this great discovery. I felt like all of my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, drama were explained.”
The actress recalls being a poor student. Aniston could not retain the information she was being taught, but could make her fellow classmates laugh. She was drawn to subjects such as art and drama, which allowed her to channel her creative energy into school projects.
When Aniston was finally diagnosed with dyslexia, a weight was lifted off her shoulders. She felt like she finally had an explanation for the struggles she faced during her childhood. Not only is the actress the proud winner of a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, but she is also a proud dyslexic – sharing her personal experience so that others may find encouragement.
“The advantage is that my brain sees and puts information in my head differently, more interestingly than if I saw like everyone else.”
The View‘s Whoopi Goldberg says no one called her struggles “dyslexia” when she was younger.
The well accomplished actress, comedian, radio host, television personality, and human rights activist struggled to grasp concepts in school. Unsure of what she was dealing with, Whoopi self-diagnosed herself as slow. To make matters worse, Whoopi was belittled by both students and teachers, who would called her names like “dumb” or “stupid”.
Although she found little encouragement from those in the classroom, Whoopi constantly had one supporter in her life who always believed in her- her mother. Even when Whoopi struggled to find her way after dropping out of high school, her mother continued to offer encouragement. With the help of mentors, Whoopi was able to gain the attention of industry leaders such as director Steven Spielberg.
Whoopi did not discover that her learning troubles were because of dyslexia until she was an adult. Today, Whoopi shines on the stage and the screen. When she is not sharing about her journey with dyslexia, she works as an advocate for various charitable causes such as homelessness and poverty.
“I am a slow reader. I always loved words, which is a strange thing given that I couldn’t actually read them.”
Without her dyslexia, famous British actress Keira Knightley may have never become a household name.
The Pride & Prejudice and Pirates of the Caribbean star was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of six. She struggled with reading and writing, and was called stupid by classmates and casting agents. In order to keep Knightley motivated, the actress’s supportive mother made a deal with her daughter- if Keira wanted to continue to pursue acting, she had to maintain her grades at an acceptable level. Knightley did just that, and managed to graduate high school with high marks.
Knightley says her dyslexia does not affect her ability to memorize scripts, as long as she is given a sufficient amount of time to learn the lines. Her talent and determination are why she’s received two Academy Award nominations and is listed as one of the highest-paid actresses in the industry.
“I think [dyslexia has] made me who I am today. It’s given me a perspective of — you have to keep working. I have never given up.”
The actor, who is best known for his role on the television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of twelve. Despite seeing himself as stupid, he continued to persevere. Dempsey left school at the age of 17 to work with various traveling theater companies.
Although Dempsey’s acting abilities makes the art look almost effortless, he says he still gets insecure about reading lines. With the help of his coach, he works on strengthening his skills as an actor and a public figure. Today, Dempsey continues to find healing as he teaches his daughter how to read.
Ensure your child’s success by getting them the help they need. You can screen your child for dyslexia with our free dyslexia screener.
Photo Credit: Flickr.com – Pimkie “aniston”, geekchic89 “Patrick Dempsey” ; Wikipedia Commons By Photographer is Daniel Langer, dlanger on flickr.com. Copyright is held by Daniel Langer and Comic Relief, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons ; Andrea Raffin