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Special Needs: Difference vs. Deficiency

March 28, 2011

When it comes to special needs, a common misperception is that a child with a diagnosis has a deficiency.  While some children with special needs do have challenges in their everyday lives compared to their typical peers, a diagnosis or label is often not an indicator of that child’s ultimate life “success”.  I hesitate to even use the word “success” in this context because I believe God views our earthly achievements radically different than we do.  Nonetheless, for the sake of making a point, I want to spotlight a handful of famous names that as children would have likely required special needs accommodation.

Keep in mind that only 41% of individuals with an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) have an intellectual disability.

Are your Sunday morning, Wednesday night, and VBS environments prepared to engage the child who ultimately becomes one of these successful people?  It may help the church to place an emphasis on differences rather than deficiencies when it comes to developing a comprehensive approach to special needs inclusion.

Whoopi Goldberg – Dyslexia (1)

Tom Cruise– Dyslexia (1)

Leonardo Da Vinci– Dyslexia (1)

Pablo Picasso – Dyslexia (1)

Richard Branson – Dyslexia (1), ADHD (11)

Jay Leno – Dyslexia (1)

Thomas Edison– Dyslexia (1); Learning Disability (3); Hearing Loss (5)

Bruce Jenner – Dyslexia/Reading Disability (2)

Justin Timberlake – ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (10)

Michael Phelps – ADHD (6)

David Beckham – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (7)

Tim Howard (Goal Keeper for Manchester United Soccer Club) – Tourette’s syndrome (8)

Daryl Hannah – Mild/High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (9)

Albert Einstein-Some believe he may have had Asperger syndrome (4)

Issac Newton – Some believe he may have had Asperger syndrome (4)

One more fun fact….People with ADHD are 300% more likely to start and lead their own business! (11)

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(1)   http://www.dyslexiaonline.com/famous/famous.htm

(2)   http://www.abilitymagazine.com/jenner_interview.html

(3)   http://www.high-speed-internet-access-guide.com/articles/biography-of-thomas-edison.html

(4)   http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3676

(5)   http://deafness.about.com/cs/featurearticles/a/thomasedison.htm

(6)   http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/olympics/article4521576.ece

(7)   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/beckham-reveals-his-battle-with-obsessive-disorder-472573.html

(8)   http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/01/13/60minutes/main666797.shtml

(9)   http://allmovie.com/artist/93354

(10) http://collider.com/entertainment/interviews/article.asp/aid/8221/tcid/1

(11)  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/entrepreneurs-adhd/200909/7-habits-highly-successful-entrepreneurs-adhd

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