To celebrate International Women’s Day we’re taking a look at the fantastic achievements of 10 Neurodivergent women who are autistic, dyslexic and have ADHD and dyspraxia.
Neurodiversity doesn’t often come up in the news, but there are so many extroardinary neurodivergent women that have made history for their work, courage and contribution.
Emma Watson – ADHD
ADHD is one of the most misunderstood and overlooked conditions in adult women. 50 – 75% of adult women with ADHD often aren’t diagnosed until adulthood and are three times less likely to ever receive a diagnosis compared to their male counterparts.
Actress Emma Watson has achieved some incredible things in her life so far, from starring in Harry Potter to her work with the UN on feminism.
Emma has never spoken about her ADHD and was said to be taking medication during the filming of Harry Potter.
Jennifer Aniston – Dyslexia
Jennifer Aniston is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, and is best known for her role in Friends.
In a 2015 interview, she revealed her struggle with dyslexia in an interview. She was diagnosed in her 20’s, which only happened due to her getting prescription glasses.
“The only reason that I knew [that I had it] was because I went to get a prescription for glasses” she said. “I had to wear these Buddy Holly glasses. One had a blue lens and one had a red lens. And I had to read a paragraph, and they gave me a quiz, gave me 10 questions based on what I’d just read, and I think I got three right.
Billie Eilish – Tourettes
Billie Eilish is famous for her music and features in film soundtracks, such as James Bond No Time To Die. She was diagnosed with Tourettes when she was a child and exhibits physical tics.
She wrote on Instagram about it after fans published a youtube video of her tics. “I’ve never mentioned [my Tourette Syndrome] on the internet because nobody thinks I’m deadass,” Eilish wrote on her Instagram story. “As well as the fact I’ve just never wanted people to think of tourettes every time they think of me.”
She mentioned how the disorder has been a constant part of her life since she was a child.
“I’ve taught myself ways of suppressing my tics and certain techniques to help [reduce] them when I don’t want to be distracting in certain situations,” she wrote. “Wasn’t planning on talking about this on here maybe ever, but it’s gotten to a point.”
Cher – Dyscalulia and Dyslexia
Cher is an international pop star, actress, fashion icon and an author. As well as this, her life has been focused on campaigning, whether politically, to support animal liberation or helping disadvantaged people through the pandemic.
Cher has both dyscalculia and dyslexia. In school, she struggled with reading, numbers and calculation.
She said in her autobiography The First Time “I couldnt read quickly enough to get all my homework done and for me, math was like trying to understand Sanskrit”.
“Almost everything I learned, I had to learn by listening. My report cards said that I was not living up to my potential”.
When a fan asked, “If you could turn back time and change one thing, would it be to not have dyslexia?” Cher replied: “No! It caused pain, but it’s me!”
Daryl Hannah – Autistic
Daryl Hannah is an American actress who has appeared in multiple films, such as Blade Runner and Kill Bill Vol 2.
She said her autism left her with “debilitating shyness and a need to rock for self-soothing and make public events a terror for her”. At the time of her diagnosis, Hannah said that medical professionals that she be medicated and institutionalised.
After leaving Hollywood, she says her true love is environmental work. She has been arrested multiple times for her activism. In 2012 she was arrested she was arrested for trying to halt the construction of an oil pipeline.
Cara Delevigne – Dyspraxia and ADHD
Cara Delevigne is an actress, musician, author and model. She was diagnosed with dyspraxia and ADHD as a child, and said writing and taking tests was difficult. She started playing the drums at a young age to burn off energy.
At 15, she started experiencing anxiety and depression which is common for those with dypraxia.
She said in a vogue interview: “This is something I haven’t been open about, but it’s a huge part of who I am,” she says. “All of a sudden I was hit with a massive wave of depression and anxiety and self-hatred, where the feelings were so painful that I would slam my head against a tree to try to knock myself out. I never cut, but I’d scratch myself to the point of bleeding. I just wanted to dematerialize and have someone sweep me away.”
Florence Welch – Dyspraxia and Dyslexia
Florence Welch is a world renowned singer and voice behind the band ‘Florence and the Machine’. Her music has been featured in numerous hit movies and TV shows like Covert Affairs, Pretty Little Liarsand Gossip Girl. You may recall the song “Dog Days Are Over” from the trailer for the film Eat, Pray, Love.
She takes pride in the fact she’s diagnosed with dyspraxia and dyslexia and supports causes that help children with these types of neurodiversity despite her busy schedule.
Welch identifies with her challenges with learning and motor skills although she doesn’t say they’ve impacted her music career. “The fact that I work in a creative industry probably helps. We dyspraxics think in a different way,” Welch has said.
Before a concert in Ireland in 2012, she attended an event for young kids with dyspraxia. There, she said that the condition doesn’t get as much attention as it should. She also told the children that she was “very proud to be dyspraxic.”
With her words and achievements, Welch sends a powerful message to kids. Dyspraxia and other learning and thinking differences may create some challenges. But they don’t stand in the way of finding success.
Kiera Knightly – Dyslexia
Kiera Knightly is a world famous actress and is best known for her roles in Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean. She was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age.
“I was diagnosed when I was six. I worked hard to get the better of it and by the time I got to secondary school, it was much better. I can read and write – badly – but I’m fine reading scripts”
“I was – am – dyslexic and the way she (her mother)got me over it was to say: ‘If Emma Thompson couldn’t read, she’d make ——- sure she’d get over it, so you have to start reading, because that’s what Emma Thompson would do”
Simone Biles – ADHD
Simone Biles is an American gymnast who boasts 30 Olympic and World Championship medals. At a young age, she was diagnosed with ADHD.
She isn’t ashamed of her ADHD, and tweeted that “Having ADHD, taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of [and] nothing that I’m afraid to let people know”
Solange Knowles – ADHD
Solange Knowles is Beyonces sister and a successful artist, dancer and actress.
Solange was diagnosed with ADHD, twice. She said shes always been full of energy and that her sporadic speech led people to believe she was on drugs.
Knowles says that when a doctor told her she had ADHD she did not believe him: “I was diagnosed with ADHD twice. I didn’t believe the first doctor who told me and I had a whole theory that ADHD was just something they invented to make you pay for medicine, but then the second doctor told me I had it.”
She also said that she feels everyone in the music business seems to suffer from the symptoms of ADHD. “The symptoms seem to apply to everyone around me in the industry. Loss of memory, starting something and not finishing it…”
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