According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15 percent of children 13 through 17 have a developmental disability such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, vision impairment, and other learning and intellectual disabilities. With March being Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we thought it would be interesting to hi-lite some well-known figures who have disabilities that have not impeded their success. There a so very many people with developmental disabilities who have gone on in life to become extremely well-recognized, very accomplished, well-respected and famous; here are just a few.
Famous musician Amadeus Mozart is believed to have had autism spectrum disorder, as well as other notables including scientist Albert Einstein, actress Daryl Hannah, jazz prodigy Matt Savage, Scottish singer Susan Boyle, director Tim Burton, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.
Actor Dan Akroyd credits his Asbergers syndrome for inspiring the film Ghostbusters, mentioning how one of his symptoms included an obsession with ghosts and law enforcement. Other notable individuals speculated to have Asbergers syndrome include President Abraham Lincoln, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, author, inventor, scientist and diplomat Benjamin Franklin, chess champion Bobby Fischer, American poet Emily Dickinson, novelist Franz Kafka, founder of Ford Motors Henry Ford, author Virginia Woolf, and author Jane Austen.
Michael Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 9 years old, and has gone on to win the most medals- 22- of any Olympic athlete in history. Jim Carrey best known for his humor is one of the highest paid comedians/actors in the business and has ADHD, and had used that high energy level to propel his career. Other notables include musician Justin Timberlake, chef Jamie Oliver, actor Will Smith, Virgin founder and adventurer Sir Richard Branson, comedian Howie Mandel, former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea, major league baseball player Pete Rose, and founder of JetBlue Airways David Neeleman.
RJ Mitte best known for his role as Walter White Jr. on the tv show Breaking Bad, played a teenager with cerebral palsy on the hit series while in real life he has a mild case of the same condition but went on to win his first non-handicapped role in the 2015 film Dixieland. Other notables with cerebral palsy include comedian Josh Blue, Abbey Nicole Curran who was the the first Miss USA contestant with a disability and founder of the Miss You Can Do It Pageant for young girls with a disability, athlete Bonner Paddock who was the first person with CP to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro unassisted and the first with CP to complete the Ironman Triathlon, and attorney and former UCPA Board of Directors member Thomas Ritter.
Presidents George Washington, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy were all said to have some form of learning disability.
Comedians Jay Leno and Whoopi Goldberg both suffer from dyslexia and were labeled as having a learning disability, but that did not hold either of them back. Olympic diver Greg Louganis had dyslexia, but he is considered one of the world’s greatest divers. Other notables include artists Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, founder of Turner Broadcasting Systems Ted Turner, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, and musician John Lennon.
Famous inventor Thomas Edison and famous German composer Ludwig van Beethoven both had hearing loss.
Socrates and Aristole both had epilepsy. One of the world’s greatest artists, Michaelangelo had epilepsy and so did Lord Byron one of the most colorful English poets. Author Edgar Allan Poe had epilepsy as well. Other notables who suffered from epilepsy include musician Neal Young, President Theodore Roosevelt, author Lewis Carroll, artist Vincent Van Gogh, leader Napoleon Bonaparte, leader Alexander the Great, and scientist Sir Issac Newton.