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Celebrity Quotes: Learning From Challenges

By Amanda Morin

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Celebrities with learning and attention issues are often willing to share what those challenges have taught them. Here’s what 9 famous people with ADHD, dyslexia and more have to say.

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Orlando Bloom
1 of 9

Orlando Bloom, actor


“If you have kids who are struggling with dyslexia, the greatest gift you can give them is the sense that nothing is unattainable. With dyslexia comes a very great gift, which is the way that your mind can think creatively.”
Child Mind Institute

Will i am
2 of 9, Grammy-winning singer and producer


“You’re always moving and thinking about a whole bunch of things. But those traits work well for me in studios and in meetings about creative ideas. If you listen to the songs I write, they are the most ADHD songs ever. They have five hooks in one and it all happens in three minutes. I figured out a way of working with it.”
Daily Mirror

Tim Tebow
3 of 9

Tim Tebow, former NFL quarterback


“It has nothing to do with how intelligent you are. You can be extremely bright and still have dyslexia. You just have to understand how you learn and how you process information. When you know that, you can overcome a lot of the obstacles that come with dyslexia. When you figure out how you learn, you can accomplish whatever you want.”

Whoopi Goldberg
4 of 9

Whoopi Goldberg, award-winning actress and comedian


“They thought I was lazy so they put me in the slow class. But my mom was a Head Start teacher, and she told me, ‘You’re not slow, you’re just different.’”
Brattleboro Reformer

Ty Pennington
5 of 9

Ty Pennington, host of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”


“That’s the other thing: Even if you’re on medication, you still have to treat your body properly and take care of yourself. The idea that [ADHD] goes away or you grow out of it isn’t true.”
Huffington Post

Henry Winkler
6 of 9

Henry Winkler, actor, director and author


“Somebody asked me if I could go back and start again with a different brain, would I. Years ago I thought yes, I would, and now I know I wouldn’t. Because whatever challenges I had in school, I guess they forced me to where I am today. So I now see them as an asset.”
USA Today

Richard Branson
7 of 9

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group

Dyslexia and ADHD

“Perhaps my early problems with dyslexia made me more intuitive: When someone sends me a written proposal, rather than dwelling on detailed facts and figures, I find that my imagination grasps and expands on what I read.”
Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

Salma Hayek
8 of 9

Salma Hayek, director, producer and Oscar-nominated actress


“I’m really a fast learner. I always was, which is maybe why in high school they didn’t realize I had dyslexia. I skipped years without studying too much. [The dyslexia] doesn’t bother me now. Some people read really fast, but you’ll ask them questions about the script and they’ll forget. I take a long time to read a script, but I read it only once.”

Michael Phelps
9 of 9

Michael Phelps, Olympic gold medalist


“When I’m focused, there is not one single thing, person, anything that can stand in the way of my doing something. There is not. If I want something bad enough, I feel I’m gonna get there.”
—No Limits: The Will to Succeed

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Game Changers in History Who May Have Had Learning and Attention Issues

Historians speculate that many major figures from the past may have had learning and attention issues. We can’t know for sure whether someone from an earlier century had these issues. And for many—especially women and people of color—there aren’t enough records to let us guess. But here are some accomplished individuals who made a big impact on history—from centuries past to more recent times. They overcame challenges and may inspire your child to do the same.

Success Stories: Celebrities With Dyslexia, ADHD and Dyscalculia

Some of the biggest names in movies, music and sports are people who struggled in school with learning and attention issues. Here are a number of the celebrities who found their passion and overcame their challenges.

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

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