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DEMOS Project

Online Materials for Staff Disability Awareness
[Modules] : Dyslexia

Successful people with dyslexia

Dyslexic students can achieve academically like other students and go on to lead successful careers provided they are given an opportunity. This module ends with a few examples of people who are dyslexic who have overcome their difficulties to become high achievers.

Dr Simon Clemmet - Scientist.
At 28 years old was the British Scientist who analysed the carbon compound found in the meteorite from Mars, at Stanford University in California. He was labelled as a slow learner at school until his dyslexia was diagnosed. At the age of 11 he was awarded a grade C for science in a school report, which also said that he showed room for improvement in mathematics. Once he realised he was dyslexic at the age of 12 he flourished and grew in confidence. Even now, he cannot write a letter without the help of his computer spellchecker. He often faxes his scientific papers to his father in England who proofreads them for spelling mistakes.

Richard Branson - Entrepreneur.
"At the age of eight I still couldn't read. I was soon being beaten once or twice a week for doing poor class work or confusing the date of the Battle of Hastings".

Sophy Fisher - Journalist, former BBC correspondent to Geneva.
"I see children today doing everything I did to try to stop people seeing their failings - disrupting the class, lurking at the back, faking illness, losing homework. Letters on a page appeared a meaningless jumble - with no more logic than alphabet spaghetti. But in my small village school I couldn't really hide the fact that I was the class idiot." She eventually went to Cambridge University.

A.A. Gill - Journalist.
"My work at school was atrocious. I still remember some of the unkind comments, such as "there's no point in you studying history. You can't even write". To this day he goes to great lengths to compensate for his dyslexia. His articles would be illegible to copytakers so he dictates them instead."

Hamish Grant - Chief Executive of Axeon, a Technology company.
They produce a new type of microprocessor. He suffered numerous nightmares at school. "I forced myself to be good at other things, especially at sport. It taught me later in life not to be nervous of failure and that every problem is a challenge, not an insurmountable obstacle. I have learned to live with dyslexia. I remember my BSc finals in chemical engineering and missing a huge chunk of a question, only for it to 're-appear' on the paper after the exam".

Guy Hands - Nomura Bank.
One of the most powerful and influential men in the City of London. He is severely dyslexic and had to take the sciences rather than English at school, and was examined verbally for his degree finals. He would have liked to have been a writer or even an actor, but his pronunciation is bad too, so instead he decided to make money.

Nicholas Negroponte - founder of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He is described as "undoubtedly the most venerable of all the new-media gurus". His company receives millions of dollars of funding each year from top international companies such as BT, Nike and Compaq. They usually want research on technologies that have a quicker payback. Being profoundly dyslexic has, ironically, been something of an aid for him. The digital world rather than the atomic world of paper and print is a godsend. The condition has also made him learn how to stand in front of huge audiences, without the need for notes or prompts or any other support.

This list of famous people with dyslexia is from the website of the British Dyslexia Association (http://www.bda-dyslexia.org.uk/d07xtra/x07fame.htm).

There are also dyslexic people amongst the staff of higher education institutions!!!!!

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