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Success Stories

Testing shows that people with dyslexia are no more or less intelligent than the population at large. Having dyslexia makes reading, and sometimes other skills, more difficult to acquire, but having dyslexia is not necessarily a barrier to success. In fact, many individuals with dyslexia have not only been successful, they have changed the world. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Pablo Picasso all struggled with dyslexia. Research has shown that wiring in the brains of people with dyslexia is different, and many believe that this different wiring of the brain causes people with dyslexia to see problems in different ways that can support innovation and success. Whether or not dyslexia is a gift, many individuals with dyslexia are living highly successful lives. Testing shows that people with dyslexia are no more or less intelligent than the population at large.  But clearly dyslexia is no barrier to success. 

Here are just a few examples of men and women with dyslexia who are at the top of their professions.

  Here is a short list:  



  • Brooks Edwards, M.D., Medical Director, Cardiac Transplantation,
    The Mayo Clinic

  • Mark Batshaw, M.D., Chief Academic Officer and Professor
    of Pediatrics, Children’s National Medical Center

  • Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, M.D., cardio- thoracic surgeon
    and President and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic

  • Blake Charlton, M.D., physician and novelist and essayist

  • Karen Santucci, M.D., Medical Director, Pediatric Emergency
    Medicine, Yale School of Medicine


  • David Boies, litigator in a number of landmark Supreme Court
    cases including Gore v. Bush and the decision on gay marriage.

  • Rafael Galvin, award-winning practitioner of corporate law

  • Bonnie Patton, leading malpractice litigator


  • Dan Malloy, Governor of Connecticut

  • Gavin Newsom, Governor of California

  • James Carville, campaign consultant and television commentator



  • Florence Haseltine, M.D., Ph.D., Director, NIH Center for
    Population Research

  • Steven M. Stanley, Ph.D., paleobiologist

  • Carol Greider, biologist and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize
    in Medicine


  • Richard Ford, novelist, short story writer and Pulitzer Prize winner

  • John Irving, novelist and author of The World According to Garp

  • Wendy Wasserstein, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright

  • Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize winning poet


  • Billy Bob Thornton, writer, director and actor

  • Whoopi Goldberg, Academy Award winning actress

  • Keira Knightley, actress

  • Jay Leno, TV entertainer

  • Henry Winkler, actor and writer

Photography, Art & Architecture

  • Robert Rauschenberg, painter and graphic artist

  • Richard Avedon, fashion and portrait photographer

  • Richard Rogers, internationally renowned architect

  • Willard Wigan, microscopic artist

Adventure & Exploration

  • Ann Bancroft

  • Jack Horner


  • Ervin "Magic" Johnson, NBA and Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer

  • Muhammad Ali

  • Sir John Young “Jackie” Stewart, award winning race driver

Source: International Dyslexia Association

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