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Famous people with LD and AD/HD

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By GreatSchools Staff

Writers and media professionals

  • Avi, is the award-winning author of more than 50 books for children and young adults.
  • Robert Benton, a three-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter and director who is dyslexic, still finds reading and writing laborious.
  • Gareth Cook is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer for the Boston Globe newspaper.
  • Stephen J. Cannell is a successful novelist and an Emmy Award-winning TV writer and producer who has created or co-created over 40 different shows.
  • Anderson Cooper is a CNN news anchor who gained public attention for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
  • John Dunning is a Denver mystery writer and a bookstore proprietor.
  • Fannie Flagg is a writer and actor who is most famous for her novel Fried Green Tomatoes, which was later produced as a movie.
  • Richard Ford is an author who won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel Independence Day in 1996 — a first in the literary world. (Source: Newsday, March 20, 2002)
  • Jackie French is the author of numerous kids' books, as well as books about gardening and Australian history.
  • Terry Goodkind is the author of eight best-selling fantasy novels.
  • John Irving is a novelist and screenplay writer of World According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire, and Cider House Rules, a movie that recently won acclaim and award nominations.
  • Poet Richard Moore has struggled with dyslexia all his life, yet it hasn't kept him from doing what he loves. A graduate of Yale University, he has published a novel, a book of literary criticism, and 12 books of poetry - the first of which, A Question of Survival, earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination in the 1970s.
  • Patricia Polacco, prolific children's author and illustrator, didn't learn to read until she was 14.
  • Victor Villaseñor is a Mexican-American author who has written nine novels, 65 short stories, and a critically-acclaimed screenplay.
  • Art Rodriguez is a California author who documents his challenging childhood in children's and young adult books.
  • Atoosa Rubenstein, who has dyslexia, was successful as the editor in chief of Seventeen magazine. Today she has her own digital business and a consulting firm advising companies how to speak to the teen market.
  • Poet Philip Schultz, a recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize, suffers from dyslexia and didn't learn to read until he was in the fifth grade.
  • Ahmet Zappa, son of the late rock musician, Frank Zappa, has authored the first book in a planned trilogy of monster stories.

Updated August 2009

© 2008 GreatSchools Inc. All rights reserved. Originally created by Schwab Learning, formerly a program of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation.

Comments from readers

"i luve this it tells so much!!! "
"gud list!! "
"this was a very interesting:) "
"Hello... one of the greatest minds this world has ever known was a severe dyslexic - ALBERT EINSTEIN! His dyslexia was so bad that he had to paint his front door bright red so that he could find his house (no joke!). The guy could get lost in a paper bag - but he was by far one of the most amazing scientists and mathematicians the 20th century has ever known. Also, the dearly departed Stephen J. Cannel – novel, TV, and screen writer. "
"My son has a great time reading through this list. He realizes he is not the only one, and said "I could do any of these things!". Thank you so much for compiling this list. "
"@ 03/10/2010: Women with ADHD : Salma Hayek (on this list aswell), Liv Tyler, Karina Smirnoff, Scout Taylor-Compton, Hilary Duff, Madeline Zima, Emma Watson."
"I have a learning disability and it was cool to see that many people who are very successful became successful even though they are living with a learning disability"
"As an ADHD adult Special Ed teacher I LOVE feeling like I belong to a community. I know how my students feel when the meds are missed. My students struggle to belong, as I always did."
"WHERE are the FAMOUS WOMEN with adhd or learning disabilities?????? I am looking for role models for my daughter."
"this whole web site could be done alot better and you need 2 add more people on here that have a learning disablitys u was not @ much help 2 me sorry and ty 4 ur time"
"I'm a retired teacher, but I taught children with dyslexia for several years. I used a program called 'Sounds in Syllables' and the children made grreat progress in reading, writing and spelling. They can learn to read, but it takes time and patience."
"Isnt is sad that so many are disquallified as intelligent because of societies need to punnish illiteracy.All Stars and then some on this List magnificent!"
"I really do love this, I now feel better about myself, and its good to know that even famous people have learing problems too. thanks "
"Henry Winkler (the Fonz or Arthur Fonzarelli) also writes books for children. His 'Hank Zipzer' series is for grades 3 - 5 and deals with a young boy with learning disabilities. Good series, looks like quite a few. They're funny and definitely on the level for that age group. Here's the character's website if anyone's interested: Does state that Henry too dealt with learning issues. "
"I love this this list! But I don't think it is necessary to label children as LD and/or AD/HD. They way I see it, every child has genius, but schools are only concerned with academic success. If a child does not measure up academically, then they are put to shame and given a label. The good news is that academic success and success in the real world are two different things, and anyone is capable of the latter, regardless of how they did in school. Every person on this list is fortunate that they had enough confidence in themselves, despite their failures in school. Many students in similar situations would simply believe what they are told - that they will fail because of their academic lack, and thus not even try. So many more children would be better off if they were appreciated for the genius that they have, rather than put to shame for the genius they don't. -Heather Martinson"
"This is a fabulous list, many thanks for compiling it. "
"its amazing all the knowlege I can find on this page.....I work for kids with disabilities....and help me a lot in my labor.thanks.. by the way I read all the famous people you got here you know Joss Stone (sensation famous british singer) is dislexic? could you add her on your list? thanks a lot"