Not only is October National Disability Employment Awareness Month, but it is also Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. JAN is joining with others such as LD OnLine and the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) to bring more awareness of learning disabilities and to share information about our resources.
What does the term learning disabilities really mean? Learning Disabilities refer to a number of disorders that may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information. These disorders affect learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and/or reasoning.
Learning disabilities result from impairments in one or more processes related to perceiving, thinking, remembering or learning. They range in severity and may interfere with the acquisition and use of oral language, reading, written language, and mathematics. Learning disabilities may also involve difficulties with organizational skills, social perception, social interaction, and understanding the perspectives of others (Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, 2015).
In 1985, President Ronald Reagan stated the following in a proclamation. It reads in part:
“Awareness of learning disabilities is one of the most important advances in education in recent years. As more and more Americans become aware, our citizens with learning disabilities will have even greater opportunity to lead full and productive lives and to make a contribution to our society.”
Read on to see how some famous individuals with learning disabilities have greatly contributed to our society. These individuals show that although learning disabilities may present challenges, they don’t limit one’s chances for success. Having a learning disability may have in fact played an important role in helping these individuals find the determination to achieve their goals. The following partial list of prominent figures with learning disabilities can surely be a source of inspiration!
From the entertainment industry: Orlando Bloom, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Keira Knightley, Steven Spielberg, and Henry Winkler
Sports figures: Muhammed Ali, Terry Bradshaw, Magic Johnson, and Tim Tebow
Business leaders: Richard Branson, Henry Ford, Charles Schwab, and Ted Turner
Journalist and writers: Agatha Christie, Anderson Cooper, Richard Engel, and F. Scott Fitzgerald
Scientists/Inventors: Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein
Military leaders: George Patton and Winston Churchill
If you or someone you know has a learning disability and is looking for assistance in overcoming some of the difficulties that may be present in the workplace, look no further. JAN’s resources include a newly updated Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employees with Learning Disabilities, as well as Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employees with Executive Functioning Deficits for accommodation ideas. We also have information on documentation of a learning disability, organizations, and SOAR – our Searchable Online Accommodation Resource. This tool can walk you step-by-step through the accommodation process, offer accommodation ideas, and provide product information. All of these resources can be found at Accommodation Ideas for Learning Disabilities.
JAN’s consultants on the cognitive/neurological team are available to help answer your questions about the accommodation process, disclosure, and information that can help you in your specific situation. Please feel free to contact us.
Learning Disabilities Association of Canada. (2015). Official Definition of Learning Disabilities. Retrieved October 27, 2015 from http://ldac-acta.ca.
Famous People with the Gift of Dyslexia, retrieved from http://www.dyslexia.com/famous.htm October 27, 2015.
Success Stories: Celebrities with Dyslexia, ADHD, and Dyscalculia, retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/personal-stories/famous-people/success-stories-celebrities-with-dyslexia-adhd-and-dyscalculia October 27, 2015.