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. 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 you consider dyslexia a gift, clearly dyslexia is no barrier to success. Here are just a few examples of men and women with dyslexia who have found success in their lives.
Marathon runner Jared Blank was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was five years old. As he moved through school, he learned that, for him, academic success would be a matter of hard work and endurance. When working with tutors he discovered that tasks that took someone else one hour, might take him three. Today, Blank has a career in collegiate athletics and advanced degrees from two universities. Blank runs for IDA’s TeamQuest to help raise awareness about dyslexia.
There’s a good chance that you know who Fred Forsley is, even if you have never heard his name. He is the founder of Shipyard Brewing Company, the biggest craft beer brewer in Maine and a national leader in the industry. Established almost 25 years ago, Forsley’s Shipyard Brewing Company was an early pioneer in the craft brewing movement. Some of Forsley’s other accomplishments include being a successful real estate broker since the age of 19, and an avid runner and sponsor of road races through Shipyard. He is also dyslexic.
Cameron Herold is one of the most sought-after business minds in North America. He has built several million-dollar companies from the ground up, as well as being a mentor to top-rated CEOs in the business world. Throughout his career, Cameron has been instrumental in the successful sale, branding, and integration of a remarkable 500 business locations with three major companies. In 2014, Cameron was the recipient of the Pinnacle Award, which was created to recognize an individual with dyslexia who has publicly acknowledged his dyslexia, made significant achievements in his field of interest, is leading a successful life, and is a role model for others with dyslexia.
At only age 13, Lindsay Leavitt knew she wanted to use her “Mitzvah” project to raise awareness around dyslexia. Lindsay, who has dyslexia, launched a campaign to increase dyslexia awareness and also set fundraising goals to raise money for the International Dyslexia Association. She soon exceeded her donations goals.
When Anthony Raneri—lead singer, guitarist, and lyricist for the punk band Bayside—was doing a Facebook Live chat with some of the band’s more than 200,000 followers on the social media site, he could finally, publicly, put a name to what used to undermine his confidence: He told his fans he has dyslexia.
Kendra Thomas would tell herself, “I can’t be a writer, I can’t do this, I can’t do that—I’ll never be a straight-A student.” She didn’t think of herself as an intelligent person. But three published books and one play later, despite her struggles with dyslexia and ADD, Kendra is a successful principal at a school in Texas working on her dissertation and a fourth book.
Do you have a success story you would like to share? IDA would love to hear your story. Contact us at communications@DyslexiaIDA.org