Famous Dyslexics: #1 Henry Winkler
Posted by: optimumlearning | July 4, 2012
“[To] every human being who has a learning challenge – how you learn has NOTHING to do with how brilliant you are. Because you learn differently, it does not mean that you don’t have GREATNESS inside of you! Every one of you has GREATNESS inside of you and your job is to figure out what your gift is and give it to the world…and the world cannot wait to see what you give…I know I can’t!” [Henry Winkler]
Henry Winkler, best known as the Fonz from the television series Happy Days, found his gift and is sharing it with the world, despite having struggled through his school years with unidentified dyslexia.
Winkler grew up in on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 1950s and 1960s. At school he was told he was ‘lazy’ and was led to believe he was ‘dumb’. Fortunately he found one teacher who saw beyond the disability, to the creative, intelligent boy that he was. Mr Rock, his music teacher, believed in him. “He was an adult who was quiet enough to see the actual human being in front of him, and not who he expected the person to be.”
It wasn’t until he was 31 that Winkler found out he was dyslexic. When his son started having difficulty at school, they had him tested for a learning disability. When the results came back and he found out more about dyslexia, Winkler realised that characteristics of dyslexia described him too. Dyslexia brings with it both challenges and gifts.
Winkler has capatilised on his dyslexic gifts, enjoying a successful 30 year career as an actor, director and producer, and he has received many honours for his work. More recently he has become a children’s author, creating the wonderful series, Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever, which tells many hilarious tales of a delightful, dyslexic fourth grader.