There are numerous examples of people with disabilities who go on to achieve greatness. These people apply their best efforts to accomplish greatness despite lacking abilities that others take for granted. We’ve selected several examples of extraordinary people applying their unusual talents in creativity, athleticism, visualization, and leadership. Sometimes there are links between the disability and the resulting achievement. For example, Einstein was a non-verbal thinker who excelled in spatial visualization. Some people who rise to the level of genius never reveal that they have struggled with a disability, and similarly, there are others we suspect had a disability, but there is no formal diagnosis.
Biographers look for clues in the writings and letters to see if they can puzzle out and put a name to the disability of past geniuses. Some people on this list are in this category of not having been professionally diagnosed. But, they did experience challenges that make their achievements even more noteworthy. There are only ten people on this list, but we had to pass over numerous other examples of genius because their lives were not about their disability, but about their passions.
1. Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin is known for having contributed to the foundational science of evolution, stating that all species of life descended over time from a common ancestor. Professor Michael Fitzgerald authored a book called In Autism and Creativity: Is There a Link Between Autism in Men and Exceptional Ability? He claims that Darwin had Asperger’s syndrome and that the condition explains his poor social skills and obsession with examining and explaining the complex topic of evolution.