Famous People
Lifelong Guidelines
&
LIFESKILLS
These are people who
have persevered to live life
to the fullest even though
they have special needs
and/or disabilities.
TRUSTWORTHINESS
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the
United States. was 39 years old when he was stricken
with polio. He struggled to regain the use of his legs.
During the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s reassuring
"fireside chats," calmed a worried public.
TO ACT IN A MANNER THAT
MAKES ONE WORTHY OF TRUST
AND CONFIDENCE
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
TRUTHFULNESS
Ronald Reagan, the 40th American President, was
one of the most famous people identified as
having Alzheimer’s Disease. He started out in
show business and also served as Governor of
California for eight years.
TO BE HONEST ABOUT THINGS
AND FEELINGS WITH ONESELF
AND OTHERS
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
ACTIVE
LISTENING
As a baby, Helen Keller was very ill and lost her sight
and her hearing. A wonderful teacher, Annie Sullivan
taught Helen to fingerspell words and to talk. She
attended Radcliffe College and later became a
speaker, author, and spokesperson for the blind.
TO LISTEN ATTENTIVELY AND
WITH THE INTENTION OF
UNDERSTANDING
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
NO PUT DOWNS
Jean Driscoll, born with spina bifida, is a seventime winner of the Boston Marathon, setting world
records in five of those races. She won silver
medals the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, as well as two
gold medals, one silver and one bronze at the 1996
Paralympics.
NOT TO USE WORDS, ACTIONS,
AND/OR BODY LANGUAGE TO
DEGRADE, HUMILIATE, OR
DISHONOR OTHERS
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
PERSONAL BEST
Manny Guerra, goalie on the U.S. Paralympic Hockey
Team, says he just wants to be seen as an athlete doing
his best -- not as a paraplegic overcoming adversity to
play an able-bodied sport.
ONE’S BEST POSSIBLE
PERFORMANCE GIVEN THE TIME
AND RESOURCES AVAILABLE
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
CARING
When Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Special
Olympics in 1968, she envisioned a program of
athletic competition for people with mental
retardation that sidelined prejudice and substituted
opportunity and understanding. Through her
advocacy, she has brought to millions of lives what all
people deserve.
TO FEEL AND SHOW CONCERN
FOR OTHERS
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
COMMON SENSE
Patricia Polacco has been writing children's books
even after she was diagnosed as having dyslexia,
dysnumeria and dysgraphia at the age of 14. Patricia
did not learn to read well until after she was 14
years old. A teacher was able to get the additional
help Ms. Pollaco needed to overcome her reading
problems!
TO USE GOOD JUDGMENT
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
COOPERATION
Mark Zupan, 30, is the captain of the U.S.
quadriplegic rugby team, which competes in the
Paralympics and took home a bronze medal at the
Athens games. He appears in Murderball, a film
that won the Documentary Audience Award at
the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
TO WORK TOGETHER TOWARD A
COMMON GOAL OR PURPOSE
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
COURAGE
Jason McLewain, student with autism, played his first
four minutes of his high school team’s last basketball
game. During that time, he scored six 3 pointers and one
other shot (after missing the first two) and scored 20
points for his team. A movie is being made about this
courageous young man.
TO ACT ACCORDING TO ONE’S
BELIEFS DESPITE FEAR OF
CONSEQUENCES
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
CURIOSITY
Stephen Hawking, British physicist and author, is
perhaps the world’s best known scientist. He has
been diagnosed with AML but still leads a full life
despite the fact that he is wheelchair bound.
A DESIRE TO INVESTIGATE AND
SEEK UNDERSTANDING OF
ONE’S WORLD
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
EFFORT
Christopher Burke, born August 26, 1965 in NY
is an American actor with Down Syndrome who
played Charles "Corky" Thatcher on the
television series Life Goes On.
TO DO YOUR BEST
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
FLEXIBILITY
Lou Ferrigno, deaf American film and television
actor, professional bodybuilder who won titles of
Teenage Mr. America in 1970, Mr. Universe in
1973, Mr. America in 1973, and Mr. Universe in
1974. He acted in the original Incredible Hulk TV
series.
TO BE WILLING TO ALTER
PLANS WHEN NECESSARY
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
FRIENDSHIP
Walt Disney, who is believed to have been dyslexic,
was a cartoonist and the visionary founder of
Disneyland and Disney World. His characters are
friends to everyone!
TO MAKE AND KEEP A FRIEND
THROUGH MUTUAL TRUST AND
CARING
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
INITIATIVE
Christopher Reeve became a quadriplegic as a result
of injuries when he fell off a horse. He and his wife,
Dana, founded the Christopher Reeve Foundation.
This organization supports research to develop
effective treatments and a cure for paralysis caused
by spinal cord injury.
TO DO SOMETHING BECAUSE IT
NEEDS TO BE DONE
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
INTEGRITY
Working for a law firm as a file clerk in 1991, Erin
Brockovich discovered the medical records of people
with illnesses caused by toxins in their places of
employment. Her investigation into the matter resulted
in one of the largest direct action lawsuits in history.
She is dyslexic.
TO ACT ACCORDING TO A
SENSE OF WHAT IS
RIGHT AND WRONG
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
ORGANIZATION
People have speculated that Albert Einstein had
Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism. In his words,
“My passionate sense of social justice and social
responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my
pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other
human beings and human communities...."
TO PLAN, ARRANGE AND
IMPLEMENT IN AN ORDERLY WAY,
TO KEEP THINGS ORDERLY AND
READY TO USE
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
PATIENCE
Brian Wilson was one of the original Beach Boys.
American composer, singer and record producer.
He is almost completely deaf in his right ear and
has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
TO WAIT CALMLY FOR
SOMEONE OR SOMETHING
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
PERSEVERANCE
Marlee Beth Matlin is an Academy Award
winning American actress who is almost
completely deaf. She lobbied Congress to
require close-captioning on all sets.
TO KEEP AT IT
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
PRIDE
Tony DuBlois is a 31-year-old pianist who is
blind, autistic and has Savant Syndrome. He has
been playing the piano since age two. Tony was
the subject of the 1997 CBS “Made for TV
Movie of the Week "Journey of the Heart"
which was inspired by actual events in Tony's
life. “
SATISFACTION FROM DOING
YOUR PERSONAL BEST
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
PROBLEM
SOLVING
Temple Grandin, PhD, is an associate professor at
Colorado State University and arguably the most
accomplished and well-known adult with 'high
functioning' autism in the world. Grandin is also a
world renowned professional designer of humane
livestock facilities.
TO CREATE SOLUTIONS FOR
DIFFICULT SITUATIONS AND
EVERYDAY PROBLEMS
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
RESOURCEFULNESS
Famed major league baseball player Jim Abbott
overcame a birth defect of having only one hand. He
beat the odds, and became an amazing professional
baseball pitcher and ball player for the Angels, the
New York Yankees, the Expos and other teams.
TO RESPOND TO CHALLENGES
AND OPPORTUNITIES IN
INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE WAYS
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
RESPONSIBILITY
Charles Schwab is an American creator of a multimillion dollar brokerage firm. He earned a Business
MBA from Stanford despite severe dyslexia. He
founded PERC, Parents' Educational Resource
Center in San Mateo, Ca., which provides counseling
to families dealing with learning disabilities.
TO RESPOND WHEN APPROPRIATE;
TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR
YOUR ACTIONS
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006
SENSE OF HUMOR
Robin Williams, actor and
comedienne, was diagnosed
as having A.D.D. and
learning disorders as a
child.
TO LAUGH AND BE PLAYFUL
WITHOUT HURTING OTHERS
LG/LS © Susan Kovalik & Associates 2006