The only disability in life is a bad attitude. -- Scott Hamilton
I have a Disability yes thats true, but all that really means is I may have to take a slightly different path than you. -- Robert M. Hensel
If you're an underdog, mentally disabled, physically disabled, if you don't fit in, if you're not as pretty as the others, you can still be a hero. -- Steve Guttenberg
It is a lonely existence to be a child with a disability which no-one can see or understand, you exasperate your teachers, you disappoint your parents, and worst of all you know that you are not just stupid." -- Susan Hampshire
One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar. -- Helen Keller
Let's face it, in America today we don't have a health care system, we have a sick care system. We wait until people become obese, develop chronic diseases, or become disabled - and then we spend untold hundreds of billions annually to try to make them better. -- Tom Harkin
Limitations only go so far. -- Robert M. Hensel
“We are the trade union for pensioners and children, the trade union for the disabled and the sick... the trade union for the nation as a whole.” -- Edward Heath
I choose not to place "DIS", in my ability. -- Robert M. Hensel
And for a very special group of people, we've provided their only job. I'm speaking of course of the disabled. They have stated they don't want a hand out just a hand. We are happy to give them one. -- Carl Karcher
You can take them in a wheelchair and put them in a pool, so they can move their arms and legs. In a pool disabled people can do things that they can't normally do otherwise. -- Jack LaLanne
"Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you're needed by someone." -- Martina Navratilova
We, the one's who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has, and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap, but as a well intact human being. -- Robert M. Hensel
“There are so many opportunities in life, that the loss of two or three capabilities is not necessarily debilitating. A handicap can give you the opportunity to focus more on art, writing, or music.” -- Jim Davis
It is unacceptable that disabled veterans in Illinois rank at the bottom of the list when it comes to disability pay. We owe our disabled veterans more than speeches, parades and monuments. -- Dick Durbin
Placing one foot in front of the other, I've climbed to higher lengths. Reaching beyond my own limitations, to show my inner strength. No obstacle too hard, for this warrior to overcome. I'm just a man on a mission, to prove my disability hasn't won. -- Robert M. Hensel
Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision. -- Stevie Wonder
One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered. -- Michael J. Fox
"It will kill four times as many Americans as AIDS will over the next decade. I feel that whatever kind of disability God has given me, as an entertainer and as a public figure, it is so I can be a representative for others." – Naomi Judd
"We know that equality of individual ability has never existed and never will, but we do insist that equality of opportunity still must be sought." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. -- Christopher Reeve
Having a disability shouldn't strip away the person, but instead, create a life that's uniquely tailored, to fit an individuals needs. -- Robert M. Hensel
“Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life. -- Emma Thompson
"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." – Helen Keller
Our first famous person with a disability is Bruce Willis, star of the "Die Hard" series and "The Sixth Sense." He enrolled in a high school drama class as a way to overcome a debilitating stutter.
To his surprise, he found the speech impediment disappeared when he performed. Needless to say, he used that coping tool to his advantage and now rakes in up to $25 million for his roles in action films.
Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning actress, Marlee Matlin, was first discovered for her role as Sarah Norman, a deaf teacher, in "Children of a Lesser God."
Deaf from infancy, she went on to become a well-known film and TV actress, most recently starring in the TV-series, "The L Word," and competing in season 6 of the popular reality TV series, "Dancing with the Stars," where her vivacious personality and uncanny sense of rhythm wowed audiences in the U.S.—and around the world.
She is also an author, comedian and activist who currently serves as the national spokesperson for The American Red Cross. Her amazing talent and determination have given her international acclaim, and a platform she uses to support the deaf and hard of hearing community. This is one of the famous people with disabilities who didn't let anything get in her way.
Raised as a normal child by his parents in New York City, Chris learned to trust his talents and pursue his passions whole-heartedly—a habit he continues to use as a singer, inspirational speaker, writer and editor for the National Down Syndrome Society magazine, and dedicated ambassador for Down syndrome issues around the country.
More famous for his acting roles, highly-debated religious beliefs and marriage to actress Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise isn't as well-known for his struggle with his disability: dyslexia.
But the long-time actor grew up with the common reading disability (where written words are omitted, distorted or modified while reading) and admits to suffering abuse from his father because of his resulting struggles in the classroom.
In spite of his disability, Tom Cruise excelled in high school theater productions and went on to enjoy a celebrated acting career, receiving three Golden Globes and nominations for three Academy Awards.
Stevie Wonder stands out as one of the most famous people with disabilities, celebrated as one of the top American musicians of all time. His 26 Grammys and an Academy Award have earned him a well-deserved place in the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame.
Wonder was born prematurely and was never able to see as a result, but he threw himself into music from a young age. By age 12, he was signed to his first record label and had his first major hit by the time he was 13. He tells the story of his musical dreams well: "People at school told me I couldn't make it… But after I thought I was going to be a musician, I became very determined simply to prove those people wrong."* And he did he ever!
He went on to record over 30 Billboard top 10 singles in the 60s, 70s and 80s. He continues to record and perform, and a recent album, "A Time to Love," reached #2 in the U.S. in 2005.
When you think of famous people, disabilities might not immediately come to mind as an issue many of them face.
But, knowing that these celebrities overcame learning disabilities, physical impairment and special needs to gain international success will hopefully inspire you to believe in your special needs students, foster their growth, and encourage them to pursue their dreams despite struggles or opposition.