(NEW YORK) — As many as 15 percent of the world’s population exhibits some of the symptoms of dyslexia, according to the International Dyslexia Association, and not surprisingly, a great number of them are famous.
Steven Spielberg is the latest celebrity to come forward with his struggle with the learning disability.
“It’s extremely inspiring for youngsters who struggle with dyslexia to see people like Steven Spielberg, who not only succeed but succeed well,” Dr. Stefani Hines, an expert in the disorder at Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oaks, Mich., told ABCNews.com.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that makes it difficult to turn printed words into sound, Hines said. It primarily shows up in reading, and includes slow or inaccurate reading as well as trouble with pronunciation and comprehension.
It has nothing to do with intelligence, however. A lot of dyslexics, like Apple founder Steve Jobs, are highly intelligent, even gifted.
“We’re learning that individuals with dyslexia tend to have strengths in other areas, in creativity and imagination. They think outside the box,” Hines said.
Spielberg dealt with his dyslexia, which he says was not diagnosed until five years ago, by making movies.
“Making movies was my great escape, it was how I could get away from all that,” he says in a video for the website Friends of Quinn. “Movies really helped me, kind of saved me from shame, from guilt, from putting it on myself…when it wasn’t my burden.”
Spielberg, who grew up in the 1950s before dyslexia was even a diagnosis, was mislabeled by teachers as “lazy.” Today, there’s more awareness and more help for people with dyslexia, including oral readers, books on CD and voice recognition software, to help people manage the lifelong condition more effectively.
Other celebrities with dyslexia include Henry Winkler, Tom Cruise, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Patrick Dempsey, Whoopi Goldberg and Cher.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio