I was in third grade when teachers knew something was wrong. A specialist showed me pictures of a banana and a mule. I knew the difference between them, but I couldn’t get the words out.
My father, a pediatrician, diagnosed me with ADHD and dyslexia. That began a process in which my mother took me to different reading teachers, and, through force of will, got me to read. There were also horse pills of Ritalin.
In high school, I was in the "special ed" program. The teachers said that I wasn’t going to college. My mother didn’t listen to them. We continued to see the reading teachers. I hated her for it then, but I love her for it now.
In my house, you had to do well in school, and my parents didn’t treat me any different from my brothers. I had to read the newspapers and fight for my opinions about politics at the dinner table.
As head of Endeavor, I have to be creative. My dyslexia helps me: I don’t think the way other people do. To stay focused, I get up at 4 a.m. and work out like a madman. It works. I don’t take Ritalin any more.
From the NYU Child Study Center’s Adam Jeffrey Katz Memorial Lecture
This article comes from the Fall 2009 issue of ADDitude.
To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.