Learning Disabilities Didn’t Stop Them!

For children with learning disabilities (LD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), a school can be cause for anxiety. Encourage your child by sharing this list of famous personalities who’ve succeeded in spite of their learning challenges.

Hans Christian Anderson is known around the world for his many fairy tales including The Ugly Duckling, The Red Shoes, and The Emperor’s New Clothes. He struggled with math because of dyscalculia, yet had a talent for writing fairy tales that was extraordinary.

Charles Darwin is highly regarded for his two books on natural selection, known as the theory of evolution. He was completely disinterested in school as a child, received poor grades, and was often absorbed in his thoughts, and therefore, is suspected to have had AD/HD. His travels around the globe collecting and studying plant and animal species led to his discoveries.

Thomas Edison is perhaps the most famous inventor of all time. When he was young, his curiosity and practical jokes frequently got him into trouble. Today, he would likely be diagnosed with AD/HD. His many inventions included the telephone, the phonograph, an alkaline battery, and the light bulb, with over 1,000 patents for inventions in all.

Albert Einstein was a mathematical genius. He didn’t learn to talk until he was three and struggled with dysgraphia, dyslexia, and word-finding. He won the Nobel Prize for his quantum theory and is most renowned for his theory of relativity. As a humanitarian, he also worked toward justice and peace.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the greatest composers of all time. His single-mindedness is likely to have been caused by AD/HD. He composed numerous symphonies including operas, piano concertos, violin sonatas, string quartets, and symphonies totaling over 600 works.

Isaac Newton became a famous mathematician and natural philosopher. As a boy, he daydreamed and did poorly on his schoolwork, but his single-mindedness soared him to the top of his class when he strove to academically surpass the school bully. He is most remembered for his work in the area of gravitation.

Louis Pasteur is known as one of the world’s greatest scientists. Regardless of having dysgraphia and dyslexia, he made important contributions by discovering how germs cause disease as well as discovering vaccines.

Werner Von Braun developed the Saturn rocket and pioneered the space shuttle concept. He struggled in math and, having AD/HD, often daydreamed in class of someday flying to other planets. His daydreams came close to reality when he later became a rocket engineer. He led the team that sent the first U.S. artificial satellite into orbit.

George Washington is known as “the Father of Our Country” because of his strong character and leadership qualities. He always struggled with spelling and his use of grammar. However, it didn’t keep him from leading the Continental Army in the American Revolution—or from becoming the first president of the United States.