It seems like there are loads of famous people with dyslexia, but not nearly as many famous people with dyspraxia.
Knowing someone in the public eye who also has dyspraxia can be such a boost. It gives dyspraxic kids hope and the desire to achieve. Their unique skills really can be put to good use in so many areas, and having a living, breathing example to inspire them can prove that it’s actually pretty cool to be different.
So take a look at some of these shining examples of the dyspraxia-hood and show your kids that they can achieve anything!
Daniel is the oft-cited shining example of a successful person who also happens to have dyspraxia. He’s a great example to kids as he’s modern and someone they will have no doubt heard of.
Although he admits that his dyspraxia is a mild form, he has certainly faced lots of challenges. The same ones that our little guys do, such as trouble with handwriting and difficulty tying shoelaces. He claims that primary school was very difficult because he felt he was awful at everything.
He recently offered some great advice to kids with dyspraxia,
“Don’t let it stop you. It has never held me back.”
Cara Delevingne scored her first US Vogue cover (July 2015) and chose this moment to talk about her dyspraxia. Cara is just about the hottest model around at the moment and appears in film Paper Towns this summer, which is her first leading film role.
In the Vogue interview she talks of her dyspraxia and how, as a child, writing was hard and exams were always a nightmare. After sixth form she went to an ‘arty boarding school’ where she threw herself into drama and music.
I have no idea how the dyspraxic side of Cara copes with looking graceful in high heels while walking on the catwalk but I guess it’s all down to practice–there’s a lesson for our kids!
“EMBRACE YOUR WEIRDNESS! I am unprofessionally professional human being. Eyebrow and life enthusiast… STOP LABELING! START LIVING.”
Not a modern example, but Albert Einstein may be someone that kids have heard of. He’s widely thought of as being quite the smarty pants!
Einstein’s theories, and many of the quotes attributed to him, are evidence that his unique way of thinking about things brought him great success.
He came up with the theory of relativity, is still a much admired physicist and mathematician, and had an IQ of 160, but he couldn’t tie his shoelaces and failed exams at age 16!
The evidence that he was dyspraxic is purely after-the-event (dyspraxia was not recognised in his lifetime), but putting together what we know about him, he seems an A1 example to me.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Quite right, Albert!
Time to get a bit more modern again, with the fabulous Florence Welch. As I type this, Florence is riding high in the album charts with How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful at number one!
Florence has a distinctive singing voice and her own unique look, which seperates her from the usual cookie-cutter-type popstar. Embrace your differences, kids! It’s working for Florence 🙂
The singer found out as an early teen that she had dyspraxia, which she claims makes her an organisational wreck. Sounds became her salvation, and Florence did not let dyspraxia stop her from following her dreams.
Photography is a wonderful way for people with dyspraxia to express their creativity. And you don’t get much more wonderful, in the world of photography, than world-famous David Bailey. Who is a fantastic dyspraxic!
David is a legendary photographer who became interested in the art as a child. He has photographed models, musicians, artists and actors–the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, Jude Law… anyone who’s anyone. But as a child he was considered clumsy and struggled with writing and spelling.
Two of David’s children also have dyspraxia. His wife Catherine (former chair of the Dyspraxia Foundation) said:
“The children see what Bailey has done through his endeavour, and they realise their difficulties don’t really matter.”
Writers and Chefs
There are many famous writers and chefs who are rumoured to have dyspraxia, but I can find no concrete evidence in print that any of the following are true.
- Marco Pierre White
- Jamie Oliver
- Jack Kerouac
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- G K Chesterton
Jamie and Marco are definitely dyslexic, but there is no evidence that they are dyspraxic too. The only mention I can find is in an article about Marco but I am certain it is a typo of the journalist as it’s mentioned nowhere else and is not mentioned by Marco anywhere.
It’s purely conjecture, but there is evidence that the minds of the writers in our list worked in a similar way to those who identify as dyspraxic today. Of course, in the case of writers Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772) and GK Chesterton (1874) dyspraxia wasn’t coined as a term back then.
And just to prove my extensive research… Heston Blumenthal’s son has dyspraxia. It’s suspected by many of us that dyspraxia is genetic, so I thought he was worth including. Heston is definitely a man who sees things differently and has totally made it work for him. It also made me feel better as a parent that Heston has similar issues to deal with as we do.
Maxine Frances Roper is a successful journalist who has written some great articles in the Guardian about her life with dyspraxia. I especially like “I’m Dyspraxic, Not Useless.”
I am certain there are oceans more writers who are dyspraxic, because people with dyspraxia are awesomely creative, but I think they use writing as a way to cope with it and don’t see it as a big issue. They embrace their alternative view of the world.
Actor, popstar, songwriter, supermodel, photographer, all-round genius, scientist, artist, writer or chef… I hope this has proved that our kids can be whatever they want to be. 🙂
Image of Einstein is in the public domain
Image of David Bailey licensed through OTRS volunteers
Second image of Daniel Radcliffe By Matthew Blaney from London, UK (Dan Radcliffe) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image of Jack Kerouac By Tom Palumbo from New York, NY, USA (Jack Kerouac) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image of Heston Blumenthal By Garry Knight (Flickr: Heston Blumenthal) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons