Albert Einstein struggled with schoolwork; Thomas Edison had a hard time concentrating during school and was home schooled by his mother. Although both of these men went on to make great contributions to the world, they are also considered to have learning disabilities and possibly ADHD. Many famous people throughout history have shown symptoms of ADHD but still achieved greatness.
Today, you come across people with ADHD in all walks of life. They are doctors, lawyers, business owners, actors and artists. ADHD does not mean that you cannot succeed or achieve your goals. Sometimes, creativity and innovative thinking help people to succeed. The following is a list of success stories. The people on this list have publicly acknowledged their diagnosis of ADHD. This list has been compiled to help everyone understand that a diagnosis of ADHD does not equate with failure. Hopefully, this list will help to inspire each person struggling with ADHD on a daily basis.
Terry Bradshaw was quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and during his time on the team won four Super Bowls. He now works as a football analyst and co-host on Fox NFL Sunday. Terry Bradshaw has been diagnosed with ADHD and clinical depression.
Chris Kaman is the center for the Los Angeles Clippers. When his parents sought help for his behavioral problems, it was discovered he had ADHD. Although he took Ritalin for a period of time, he now prefers to manage symptoms of ADHD through behavioral strategies.
Hank Kuehne won the U.S. Amateur championship in 1998 and regularly plays golf with the Canadian Tour. Hank used alcohol heavily in his teens and sought treatment when he was 19. He has been sober ever since. He does attribute his drinking problems to undiagnosed learning disabilities and ADHD.
Cammi Granato won a gold medal for ice hockey in the Olympics. She has attended and competed in world championships since 1990. When Cammi was first diagnosed with ADHD, she was relieved and believed it helped explained her early struggles, especially those with school. Her ADHD, she believes, helps her succeed in ice hockey. The restless feeling she has contributes to her drive to succeed.
Entertainment and Media Personalities
Ty Pennington became well known for his role on Extreme Makeover; Home Edition. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and elects to use Adderall XR to help manage the symptoms. Ty is also the spokesperson for ADHD Experts on Call.
Glenn Beck works as a conservative radio personality and appears daily on CNN Headline News. Glenn also is the founder of Fusion Magazine. He has often discussed his diagnosis of ADHD on his radio show.
Woody Harrelson became well known as the bartender on the show Cheers. He has been diagnosed with both dyslexia and ADHD. Some of Woody’s other movies include; Kingpin, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Anger Management, North County, and Indecent Proposal.
Mariette Hartley often discusses her diagnosis of ADHD and bipolar disorder. She hosted videos to help adults with ADHD deal with and manage the symptoms. She founded the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Mariette has won an Emmy for her role in “The Incredible Hulk.”
Artists and Authors
Robert Toth is known for his sculptures and is also an artist and designer. Museums around the world have displayed his work, including the Smithsonian Institute, the Royal Scottish Museum, Iwashimizu-Hachiman-Gu and the Vatican Museum.
John Dunn’s books include: Booked to Die, Bookman’s Wake, Tune in Yesterday, On the Air and Bookman’s Promise. John Dunn never made it through high school but did go back to receive his GED. Dunn held many different positions, including working in a glass shop and working as a copy boy, before he discovered his talent for writing.
You probably don’t know Paul Orfalea’s name, however, you probably have heard of the business he started: Kinko’s. Paul Orfalea had a difficult time in school. He was held back in second grade, barely scraped by in high school and received mostly C’s and D’s in college. Paul has been diagnosed with both ADHD and dyslexia. He started the first Kinko’s near his college campus, capitalizing on a need he says. He attributes his learning disabilities to his success, saying they allow him to “live in the moment and capitalize on the opportunities I spotted.”
JetBlue Airways was founded by David Neeleman. He has been diagnosed with ADD and chooses to manage the symptoms without medication. Neeleman views his ADD in this way, “along with the disorganization, procrastination, inability to focus, and all the other bad things that come with ADD, there also comes creativity and the ability to take risks.”
The son of Martin Luther King, Jr, Dexter Scott King has been diagnosed with ADD. He is the CEO of the King Center and continues the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Dexter explains in his biography that during his childhood, ADD was a challenge. He was diagnosed with ADD as an adult.
Peter Wright has dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD. He is currently an attorney and specialized in educational issues for children with special needs. Peter’s website, Wright’s Law, contains an enormous amount of information to help parents understand special education law and to become advocates for their children.
Thom Hartman is well known throughout the ADHD community for having penned the “Hunter Farmer” theory. He has written 19 books, appeared on CNN and has been mentioned on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Thom works to create positive change in residential treatment for abused children as well as working to improve the education of children with learning disabilities.
Dr. Hallowell has written numerous books. Some of the titles include: Driven to Distraction, Answers to Distraction, Worry and When You Worry About the Child You Love, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness. He currently operates The Hallowell Center, which provides diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Dr. Hallowell was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia when he was in the first grade.
Nancy Ratey is a master certified coach and received her master’s degree from Harvard University. She has written two books: Tales from the Workplace and Coaching College Students with AD/HD. A third book is due to be released in the fall of 2007. Nancy was previously the president of ADDA (The Attention Deficit Disorder Association) as well as being on the professional advisory board of CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD). Nancy has been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia.
Terry Matlen is a clinical social worker. She currently operates a private practice as a psychotherapist specializing in helping adults with ADD. Terry was previously the president of ADDA (The Attention Deficit Disorder Association). She currently operates ADD Consults, a website with resources for people with ADHD. Her site includes a directory of professionals treating ADHD.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.