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Twice Exceptional = Exceptional Squared!

Collected by Carolyn K., director, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page

Also visit Notable Homeschoolers and Grade Skipped and Successful...

Often, only the learning disability in a twice exceptional child or adult is recognized.  But there is as much "good" as "bad" in twice exceptional learning styles.  Here's a list of successful people who have capitalized on their exceptional learning styles!

Read Overcoming Dyslexia: FORTUNE examines business leaders and artists who have gone beyond the limitations of dyslexia... and a few good lists:
bulletFamous People with ADHD / LD
bulletFamous People with the Gift of Dyslexia
bulletDyslexic Advantage - Famous People with Dyslexia Recommended
bulletSuccessful People with Learning Disabilities and/or AD/HD

Scott Adams, cartoonist, "Dilbert" creator
Positive Attitude: A Dilbert Collection and Try Rebooting Yourself: A Dilbert Collection
 
David Bailey, iconic photographer
At the age of 59 I have yet to write a letter and still write figures the wrong way round...
 
Simone Biles, gymnast
“I have ADHD and I have taken medicine for it since I was a kid,” Biles wrote on her Twitter account. “Please know, I believe in clean sport, have always followed the rules, and will continue to do so as fair play is critical to sport and is very important to me.”
 
David Boies, celebrated trial attorney, best known as the guy who beat Microsoft
finally learned to read in third grade, devouring Marvel comics, whose pictures provided clues to help him untangle the words
 
Terri Bowersock, CEO, Terri's Consign & Design Furnishings
The founder of secondhand furniture retailer Terri's Consign learned to run her business through pictures...
 
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airlines
dyslexic, spanked by his teachers for bad grades and a poor attitude, dropped out of school at 16...
 
Gaston Caperton, former governor of West Virginia and now president of the College Board - the SAT folks
dyslexic
 
Blake Charlton, fantasy author and medical student
Fantasy author of Spellwright, now medical student.  Read his whole story...
 
Cher, actor
Cher struggled with reading all through grade school, and at age 16, she dropped out. Though she found out at age 30 that she had dyslexia, Cher went untested in grade school and her dyslexia was unrecognized—many teachers thought she wasn’t trying.

"I never read in school," Cher said in an interview. "I got really bad grades, D’s and F’s and C’s in some classes, and A’s and B’s in other classes. In the second week of the 11th grade, I just quit. When I was in school, it was really difficult. Almost everything I learned, I had to learn by listening. My report cards always said that I was not living up to my potential."...
 
John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems
dyslexic, feared he'd never make it through school--and might not have without a tutor
 
Agatha Christie, mystery author
dysgraphic.  "I, myself, was always recognized . . . as the "slow one" in the family. It was quite true, and I knew it and accepted it. Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me. My letters were without originality. I was…an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so until this day."
 
Winston Churchill,  Prime Minister of Great Britain, winner of the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature
Churchill suffered from a lisp
 
Tom Cruise, actor and producer
dyslexic. Tom, like his mother, suffered from dyslexia and was put into the remedial classes at school. Tom is right handed when writing, but does most things left handed.  He never let his learning disability stand in the way of his success...
 
Jenny Dearborn, business woman
Jenny Dearborn, current Chief Learning Officer at global tech company SAP, overcame more than the gender gap associated with STEM careers to be where she is now. She also struggles with severe dyslexia, ADHD, and mild OCD. Her early schooling was accompanied by difficulties in reading and paying attention in the classroom. Dearborn was placed in special education classes, where she was told to run off her abounding energy so she could focus better on her work.

It wasn’t until junior college that Dearborn was diagnosed with her learning disabilities. Away from the negative academic atmosphere of her early schooling, she learned, with the aid of books on tape, how to train her eyes and brain to recognize patterns in letters that helped her read better...
 
Patrick Dempsey, actor, Grey's Anatomy
dyslexic. diagnosed with dyslexia when he was 12 years old. Before that, he had been misdiagnosed and put in special education classes...
 
Walt Disney, creator of Disney, Disney films, Disneyland and Disneyworld, and more...
dyslexic. Labeled "slow" as a child, and fired from the Kansas City newspaper for not being creative...
 
Bill Dreyer, inventor and professor of biology at Caltech (requires Adobe Reader)
dyslexic, invent one of the first protein-sequencing machines, which helped to launch the human genome revolution, now placed in the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C.
 
Albert Einstein, physicist, best known for his theory of relativity
Einstein's Biographers Disprove Claim that He was Dyslexic
 
Whoopie Goldberg, actress & comedienne
dyslexic "No matter what you do.....just give it your best shot!"
 
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone and founder of the Bell Telephone Company
dyslexic
 
Temple Grandin, renowned animal scientist, inventor of humane livestock handling systems
Autistic and amazing!  Her books, The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's and Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism give tremendous insight into Asperger's and Autism
 
Tim Howard, World Cup goalie
He’s most proud that he didn’t “allow myself to be restricted by Tourette’s syndrome.”  And today, “one of the biggest things I can do [for Tourette's awareness] is be in the public eye,” he told Neurology Now. “I’m on television, ticcing and twitching. I think that’s kind of cool.” How Tourette’s-afflicted Tim Howard went from international ridicule to World Cup history
 
Bruce Jenner, Olympic gold medalist in swimming
"I just barely got through school. The problem was a learning disability, at a time when there was nowhere to get help."
 
Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA
Ever wonder how IKEA came up with unique Swedish names for all of its furniture? It was from its founder, Ingvar Kamprad, who is dyslexic.

Kamprad’s original furniture business began as a mail-order sales business. Most of his products were identifiable by a set of numbers, but Kamprad had trouble remembering the codes for each product, which turned out to be the sign of his dyslexia.

So, instead of delegating those responsibilities to another person and avoiding the issue, he used his disability to his advantage by coming up with a more creative system for organizing his products. This turned out to be the most iconic aspect of his now-worldwide business.

Kamprad created a naming system where he gave names to each piece of furniture...
 
Jay Leno, comedian
dyslexic. Jay credits his dyslexia with enabling him to succeed in comedy. He credits his dyslexia with helping him develop the drive and perseverance needed to succeed in comedy, and life in general...
 
Adam Levine, musician
He went back to the doctor and learned that the ADHD hadn’t gone away as he’d grown up. In fact, he still deals with it daily. “ADHD isn’t a bad thing, and you shouldn’t feel different from those without ADHD,” he wrote. “Remember that you are not alone. There are others going through the same thing.”
 
Jo Malone, business woman
In 1999, British entrepreneur Jo Malone sold her five year old cosmetics company to Estée Lauder, one of the top cosmetic brands in the business. Before that, Malone didn’t really think her handmade bath oils were a means by which to build a career. In fact, she didn’t see herself as a qualified business owner either. Malone was dyslexic, and at 15 years old, was forced to drop out of school to provide for her family, never being able to try and improve or refine her academic skills. She was never taught how to run a business...
 
Howie Mandel, game show host / stand-up comedien
This game show host and stand-up comedian is known for his vivacious personality as well as for his disorders. Mandel has both ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He grew up with these disorders during a time when they weren’t officially diagnosed or understood.

“Back in the 1960s, when I was growing up, my symptoms didn’t have a name and you didn’t go to the doctor to find out. So, in my case, they were called ‘Howie Mandel...’”
 
Craig McCaw, pioneered the cellular industry
dyslexic
 
Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko's
Orfalea worked out a symbiotic relationship with classmates on a group project at USC's Marshall Business School; they did the writing, he did the photocopying (and got the germ of the idea that led to Kinko's).  Read his biography, Copy This! Lessons from a hyperactive dyslexic who turned a bright idea into one of America’s best companies
 
General George Patten, U.S. WWII General
There has been much speculation concerning, the fact that Patton did not begin his formal education until the age of 11. It has been claimed that Patton's parents kept him out of school because he suffered from a disorder known today as "dyslexia." There is truthfully no way of proving that claim, though. Although Patton was a terrible speller throughout his lifetime, he did not show any signs of a writing problem caused by dyslexia. Even if the claim of dyslexia is true, it only adds to the admiration that should be felt for Patton. To overcome such a handicap and to complete the rigorous depth of study that he accomplished would have been in itself a marvelous feat of sheer willpower...
 
Ty Pennington, actor / home improvement
This home improvement guru was always full of energy as a child. Pennington was hyperactive, and he was a distraction to other children in the classroom. Doctors weren’t sure how to treat his behavioral problems at first.

“My mom was studying to be a child psychologist and she went to my elementary school to test the worst kid they had. They were like, ‘Mrs. Pennington, you really don’t want to know who that is...’”
 
Michael Phelps, swimmer
ADHD made schoolwork difficult for Phelps when he was little. He liked to move, acted up in class, and had a hard time getting his work finished. Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD at age 9.

“I [saw] kids who, we were all in the same class, and the teachers treated them differently than they would treat me,” Phelps told People magazine. “I had a teacher tell me that I would never amount to anything and I would never be successful.”
 
Daniel Radcliffe, actor
As many as 50% of individuals with dyslexia have dyspraxia, although many of them won’t have heard the term. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe spoke about his dyspraxia which affects his ability to write by hand and tie shoelaces. He’s said part of the reason he became an actor was because his dyspraxia meant he was not successful at school...
 
John S. Reed, Chairman and CEO of Citicorp, Citibank, and post-merger, Citigroup, former Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange
dyslexic
 
Nelson Rockefeller, politician and vice president of the United States
"I was one of the 'puzzle children' myself -- a dyslexic . . . And I still have a hard time reading today. Accept the fact that you have a problem. Refuse to feel sorry for yourself. You have a challenge; never quit!"  Biography Rockefeller: the Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller - Worlds to Conquer 1908-1958
 
Bill Samuels, Jr., the president of Maker's Mark (bourbon)
dyslexic, At Vanderbilt Law School, Samuels spent a lot of time in study-group discussions. "That's how I learned the cases," he says. His friends helped with the reading; he paid for the beer. Better than most people, dyslexics learn humility and how to get along with others...
 
Charles Schwab, founder and CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation
Charles Schwab was very strong in math, science, and sports (especially golf), which helped him get into Stanford. But anything involving English "was a disconnect." He couldn't write quickly enough to capture his thoughts. He couldn't listen to a lecture and take legible notes. He couldn't memorize four words in a row. He doesn't think he ever read a novel all the way through in high school. He was within one unit of flunking out of Stanford his freshman year. "God, I must just be really dumb in this stuff," he used to tell himself. "It was horrible, a real drag on me." So horrible that Schwab and his wife, Helen, created a foundation to help parents of children with learning disorders. Founded Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation is to assist dyslexic children
 
Steven Spielberg, director
Usually behind the scenes, filmmaker Steven Spielberg stepped in front of the camera to talk for the first time about his challenges with dyslexia and how he struggled for years with the undiagnosed learning disability. It was just five years ago that Spielberg was properly diagnosed with the developmental reading disorder, which occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols...
 
George "The Animal" Steele, professional wrestler, physical education teacher and coach at Madison High School in Madison Heights, Michigan
dyslexic. "Would you believe that I had a learning disability and could not read or write, yet I have hours beyond my Masters Degree and taught and coached at the high school level for twenty five years?"
 
Diane Swonk, former chief economist of Bank One, now Senior Managing Director and Chief Economist of Mesirow Financial
...has only recently gone public with the story of her struggle to overcome dyslexia. “I spent a lot of my time trying to be something I wasn’t, in my earlier career and education,” Diane says, “I was always trying to cover up who I was. Now, dyslexia is just a part of me.”
 
Justin Timberlake, musician
“I have OCD mixed with ADD,” he says. “You try living with that [combination].”
 
Donald Winkler, past Chairman and CEO Ford Motor Credit Co.
dyslexic
 
Henry Winkler, actor and director... "the Fonz!"
later identified as dyslexia...
 
Robin Williams, actor & comedian
dyslexic, AD/HD.  Refers to himself as "the poster child for ADD"
 
Terence Woodgate, furniture and lighting designer
dyslexic. "Dyslexia is now cool but when I was at school I was just thick,” recalls furniture and lighting designer Terence Woodgate. “I became aware that I was dyslexic when my son was assessed for dyslexia, but I always knew something was wrong with the wiring. Letters just float around. I have to remember the whole word. I can’t construct it."
 
Loretta Young, actress
dyslexic. "I hated school.  One of the reasons was a learning disability, dyslexia, which no one understood at the time. I still can't spell..."
 

Copyright © 2007-2016 Carolyn K.

Last updated June 01, 2019


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