With around 10% of the population being dyslexic, we often find our dyslexic compadres popping up in some pretty unexpected places. So it was no surprise when we realised, some of the characters from our favorite films and TV shows were fellow dyslexics.
Number 10: Donna Martin (Beverly Hills, 90210)
She has the whole of Beverley West High in the palm of her hands; she’s pretty, popular and always wears the latest fashion trend. Our number 10 spot goes to Donna Martin from 90210. Her good taste in fashion eventually leads her to become a famous fashion designer but before she gets there she has some challenges to overcome. Behind the front she puts up, Donna is secretly struggling with her undiagnosed dyslexia and some insecurity issues that come along with this.
Number 9: Jordan Catalano (My So Called Life)
Number 9 goes to Jordan Catalano, who starred in My So Called Life as the typical bad boy that every teenage drama needs. However, his ‘bad boy’ exterior was often used to disguise his struggles with his undiagnosed dyslexia. Despite this, he is shown to be deeply emotional with regards to his feelings for love interest Angela Chase. This is revealed through his song-writing abilities and occasional “profound thought” expressed to her.
Number 8: Theodore Aloysius Huxtable (The Cosby Show)
Next up is childhood star Theo Huxtable from the 80s classic, The Cosby Show. The show focused on family life through elements of comedy but also sought to display a more serious side through Theo’s difficulties in school and the struggle for his father to understand. It wasn’t until the sixth season that directors decided to dedicate a whole episode to “Theo’s Gift” which enlightened the family and also taught Theo how to cope with his dyslexia.
Number 7: CeCe Jones (Shake It up)
Bella Thorne who stars as CeCe Jones has something in common with her fictional character—they’re both dyslexic! Disney Channel is home to the hit show Shake It Up, where best friends and partners in crime, CeCe and Rocky dream of dancing their way into the spotlight, as they regularly perform on the local Chicago teen dance show.
Number 6: Maggie Feller (In Her Shoes)
Maggie and Rose Feller are sisters who couldn’t be further apart from each other. Rose deals with responsibilities, while Maggie is a free spirit who shrugs off her feelings with partying. It’s not until she goes to stay with her grandmother in a retirement home that she starts to turn her life around. Having previously been embarrassed about her dyslexia, she finds comfort and confidence in reading to a blind retired professor.
Number 5: Cassandra Cain (aka Bat Girl from Marvel)
In at number 5 is none other than the unstoppable Cassandra Cain aka Bat Girl! She was trained from birth to become the perfect warrior. Brought up by her father and powerful assassin, David Cain, she had been trained to not speak but instead use those parts of her brain to predict her opponent’s next crucial move. Having neglected those parts of her brain, it developed differently to most, growing into a form of dyslexia.
Number 4: Ryder Lynn (Glee)
Ryder Lynn makes his first appearance in Glee during the fourth season, after he transfers to McKinley High as a sophomore. He soon gets involved on the football team and starts to bond with ex-quarterback Finn Hudson, who recognises he’s struggling with school work. Finn persuades him to audition for the school’s musical production of Grease, noticing his talent and believing it will help advance his grades.
Number 3: Captain Rafe McCawley (Pearl Harbourn)
In at number 3 is Lieutenant Rafe McCawley who struggled with his dyslexia but found ways to work around it. Rafe and his best friend Danny had grown up wanting to experience flying ever since they were young, and accidentally started up his father’s biplane. He has one barrier to get past if he’s going to become a pilot though and that’s passing his medical exam, despite the low score on his written test.
Number 2: Percy Jackson (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
In a world intertwined with mythological creatures and Greek gods, dwells the creation of half human and half god, Percy Jackson. He is the son of mortal Sally Jackson and great Greek god of the sea, Poseidon. Rick Riordan who wrote the books, based the character Percy on his own son, Haley who has both dyslexia and ADHD. The traits Percy often struggles with in the classroom are presented as qualities that will contribute to his greatness as a “demigod”.
Number 1: Hank Zipzer
The world’s greatest underachiever becomes the world’s greatest dyslexic fictional character! Henry Winkler created the books, basing the character on himself and his personal experiences with dyslexia. In 2014 we saw the mischievous fictional character come to life on our screens, when CBBC commissioned an adaptation of the books.