EYES READY FOR SCHOOL?

Some of the biggest names in movies, music and sport are people who struggled at school with learning and attention issues. Many of them found their passion and overcame their challenges through determination, hard work and courage. How differently would their lives have unfolded if their problems had been detected at an earlier age?


WHOOPI GOLDBERG

Before Whoopi Goldberg was diagnosed with dyslexia and before she knew how common this learning issue is, kids in school called her "dumb." But her mother told her she could be anything she wanted to be. Goldberg believed her and grew up to become a comedian and talk-show host—and one of only about a dozen people to have won a Grammy, an Academy Award, an Emmy and a Tony Award.

STEVEN SPIELBERG


Legendary film director Steven Spielberg, famous for the movies "ET", "Jurassic Park" and others, wasn't diagnosed with dyslexia until he was in his 60s. His teachers thought he was lazy and he was bullied by classmates.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY

After Keira Knightley was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 6, she used her love of acting to help motivate her to read. Knightley struck a deal with her parents that if she worked on her reading every day, they would agree to hire her an agent. She went on to become one of Hollywood's highest-earning actresses.

CHER

Cher is an Academy Award-winning actress and Grammy-winning singer. But she struggled at school with undiagnosed learning difficulties. "I couldn't read quickly enough to get all my homework done and for me, maths was like trying to understand Sanskrit," she wrote in her autobiography. She didn't find out she was dyslexic until she took her child to be evaluated for learning and attention problems.


JAMIE OLIVER

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has built an empire with his best-selling cookbooks, prime-time TV shows, restaurants and cookware. He also has dyslexia and said he didn't finish reading his first book until he was 38.


PABLO PICASSO

Pablo Picasso became a famous, trendsetting art icon despite, and perhaps because of, his apparent dyslexia. Having failed parochial school education because of reading and related academic difficulties, he was eventually encouraged by his father, an art teacher, to further develop his obvious artistic talent. Over the course of his career he developed a unique sense of beauty and style. Pablo painted things as he saw or really felt them.

JOHN LENNON

Singer and song-writer, John Lennon was labelled as "troublesome" by his teachers. He struggled at school, until he finally found his passion and outlet in music.


ALBERT EINSTEIN

Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein, who is often regarded as the most influential physicist ever, was dyslexic, with teachers reportedly saying he was "mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in his foolish dreams." Clearly, not foolish at all! As the great man once said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
While the fame and success of these few celebrities belies the struggle they had as children at school, they were able to overcome or compensate for their difficulties. There are thousands of less successful people who experience the frustration of learning problems every day. As with most problems, the earlier they are picked up, the more effectively they can be managed. A comprehensive eye examination by your optometrist before your child starts school is one step towards determining his readiness for school. School should not be a place of frustration and unhappiness!

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