7 Movie and TV Characters with Dyslexia

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Dyslexia affects up to 15% of Americans, making it difficult to read and comprehend written information. Despite these challenges, many individuals with dyslexia, including famous personalities like Henry Winkler, Sir Richard Branson, and Bella Thorne, have demonstrated that the condition does not hinder creativity or success. Here are nine movie and TV characters who portray the experiences of living with dyslexia.

Theo Huxtable in The Cosby Show

In The Cosby Show, Theo Huxtable is diagnosed with dyslexia, reflecting Bill Cosby’s real-life son’s experience. The episode emphasizes that dyslexia is a “glitch” in thinking rather than a limitation on one’s ability to succeed. Theo learns to study differently, showcasing that success is achievable through alternative learning methods.

Donna Martin in Beverly Hills 90210

In the 90s series Beverly Hills 90210, Donna Martin’s academic struggles lead to a diagnosis of dyslexia. Her journey highlights that her difficulties were not related to intelligence. With accommodations, such as retaking exams orally, Donna’s story offers hope to dyslexic students striving for academic success.

Jordan Catalano in My So-Called Life

My So-Called Life features Jordan Catalano, whose school struggles reveal his issues with reading. A substitute teacher notices Jordan’s attempts to hide his dyslexia. With tutoring from his sister, Jordan begins to address his reading challenges, demonstrating that intelligence can shine through with the right support.

Captain Rafe McCawley in Pearl Harbor

In Pearl Harbor, Captain Rafe McCawley is noted for his dyslexia during his pre-service physical. Despite the learning disorder being less understood at the time, Rafe’s nurse, Evelyn, sees beyond his disability. The film highlights that dyslexia does not diminish one’s abilities or potential.

Max and George in George Lopez

In George Lopez, father and son George and Max Lopez discover they both have dyslexia. George initially struggles with accepting his son’s need for special education but ultimately supports Max in getting the necessary accommodations to succeed in school.

Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy

Dr. Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy exemplifies academic and professional excellence despite having dyslexia. While not a central theme, her condition makes her relatable to those with learning differences, showcasing that success is possible with determination and support.

Matt Parkman in Heroes

In Heroes, Matt Parkman’s dyslexia is referenced in several episodes. After struggling with a detective exam, Matt has the opportunity to get an official diagnosis and accommodations. However, he fears that revealing his condition could affect his career, highlighting the stigma that can accompany learning disabilities.


Dyslexia affects many people, but with appropriate accommodations, individuals can achieve their full potential. Characters like Theo Huxtable, Donna Martin, and Cristina Yang show that dyslexia does not impede success. Through understanding and support, both students and adults with dyslexia can thrive academically and professionally.


Are there any movies about dyslexia?

  • The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia: This documentary features stories of adults and kids with dyslexia, including business leader Charles Schwab and politician Gavin Newsom, highlighting that dyslexia is not a barrier to creativity or success.
  • Journey Into Dyslexia: Filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond explore the importance of including diverse thinkers, featuring interviews with Nobel laureate Dr. Carol Greider and environmental advocate Erin Brockovich.
  • Like Stars on Earth: This English-dubbed Indian film tells the story of Ishaan, an 8-year-old with dyslexia, whose art teacher helps him get the academic accommodations he needs to succeed.

What are the signs of dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability that causes trouble with reading, spelling, and writing. Signs include difficulty learning new words, issues with spelling and grammar, avoidance of reading out loud, and a lower reading level than peers. Proper accommodations can help manage dyslexia effectively.

What artist has dyslexia?

Pablo Picasso, the renowned painter, had dyslexia. His difficulty with reading and writing in school did not hinder his ability to create timeless artwork, demonstrating that dyslexic individuals are capable of great achievements.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects reading and interpreting words, symbols, and letters. It does not impact general intelligence but can pose challenges in academic settings without proper support.

What do they struggle with?

People with dyslexia may struggle with reading, comprehension, and spelling, often taking longer to complete tasks due to the need to check for transposed information.

Why does the character have dyslexia?

Characters with dyslexia are relatable as they showcase intelligence and potential despite learning differences. By featuring dyslexic characters, authors and screenwriters highlight the importance of understanding and supporting diverse learning needs.