For the women who need us most

For the women who need us most

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I’m Werking On My…

Learning Disability Week: Do you see me?
By Lucy Hainsworth
Graphic: Do you see me?

In honour of learning disability week, Werk are creating articles surrounding each day of this awareness. On Monday 17 June, it is ‘Do you see me?’. We have created a list of inspirational women with learning disabilities to show you, we do see you. 

The theme for this year’s learning disability week is ‘Do you see me?’. This is about challenging the barriers people with a learning disability face and wanting to celebrate the things people with a learning disability bring to society. 

No two people with a learning disability are the same, but we thought it was important to highlight some inspirational women you may have seen before, but may not have known have a learning disability themselves.

  1. Whoopi Goldberg 

Whoopi Goldberg is an actress and humanitarian who starred in household films such as Sister Act and The Lion King. Whoopi is a hugely successful Black American woman and serves as an inspiration to many Black women through her portrayals of strong Black Women in films such as The Colour Purple where her character overcomes being raped and abused.

Whoopi Goldberg dropped out of school aged 17, but only discovered as an adult that her learning disabilities were due to her dyslexia. This led her to struggle in her youth as being labelled ‘dumb’ and ‘lazy’, yet she overcame this to win an Emmy Award, A Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Tony Award. 

  1. Cara Delevingne

She’s got the looks, the glamour and the fashion, some may say she has it all. But, life hasn’t always been easy for model Cara Delevingne as amongst multiple mental health issues, she has suffered with learning disability Dysparaxia since she was a child. 

Cara was diagnosed after having excessive energy, and she told Vogue that her diagnosis was the beginning of her mental health issues. Dyspraxia can also affect coordination, movement and organisation but this hasn’t stopped Cara from becoming one of the most successful supermodels in history. 

  1. Agatha Christie 

It may be surprising to find out one of the greatest authors of all time, Agatha Christie, actually struggled with a learning disability which affected her ability to write. Agatha Christie suffered from dysgraphia, a condition which impairs handwriting, according to the International Dyslexia Association. 

Despite this disability inevitability affecting her writing skills, it did not stop Agatha Christie from becoming ‘The world’s best-selling author of all time’, according to her website Agatha Christie books. 

  1. Caitlin Jenner

Gold medal-winning Olympian and public sensation Caitlin Jenner is not only an advocate for transgender rights, but also for learning disabilities. Caitlin told Women’s Health magazine it was not just her gender issues, but her dyslexia diagnosis that made her an Olympic champion through channelling them to drive herself. 

Although Caitlin did not excel in the classroom due to her learning disability, she put her focus to her sport and made it all the way to the top. She can serve as an inspiration to young dyslexic people that even if you do not excel in the classroom, there is a space for you somewhere in the world. 

  1. Salma Hayek

You may have seen her in films like Grown Ups and From Dusk Till Dawn but did you know that she has a learning disability? Salma immigrated over from America from Mexico and had to balance learning a new language with a learning disability.

But, despite her dyslexia she succeeded to embrace the English language and became a successful actress and film producer. She has been nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award and in 2001 received Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year award. 

All these women can serve as inspiration that we see you, and despite your learning disability, you can go on to be anything you want to be.

To read more on learning disability week, click here.