I didn’t really have many people I knew were learning disabled to look up to as I was growing up. The only one that sticks out in my mind as an adult is Albert Einstein.
This man’s brilliant theories have shaped a great deal about western culture. In fact, “He’s no Einstein” has been an insult for as long as I can remember.
|Einstein sitting in his office.
Public domain photo from WikiMedia
School and Work Struggles
Few people realize that not only did this Nobel Prize winner struggle with language and the popular teaching structures of the day as a child. He actually dropped out of high school at the age of 16, in part to avoid being forced into the military.
He later reenrolled in a Swedish school, based on his marks in physics and mathematics.
However, because of his distaste of their teaching structure, he’d cut class to study alone on a regular basis. This didn’t win him any points with his professors, and he suffered the consequences after he graduated. They had blacklisted him from being employed in any academic position he applied for.
Eventually, he began tutoring children, before working as a clerk at a patent office. The work was easily mastered, and he was able to use that time to ruminate on the theories which would later revolutionize the scientific world.
1905 was the year he wrote and submitted the essays which earned him recognition. From there, his fame grew and he was able to work full time on his passions.
During those years, the Nazi party rose into power. He was actually on an assassination list because of his Jewish faith. They went so far as to hire their own scientists with the express intention of discrediting his “Jewish Science”, and published a magazine with his picture on the cover with the chilling caption, “Not yet hanged”.
Unsurprisingly, it was around then that he moved to the United States. Several years later, he and fellow scientist, Leo Szilard, wrote a letter to the White House warning them of the Nazi’s work on atomic weaponry. There had been letters before this one, but it was this final letter which held weight in persuading President Roosevelt to investigate the possibility of nuclear arms.
However, Einstein was a lifelong advocate of peace, and was a supporter of various peace organizations. In fact, J. Edgar Hoover had suggested he be banished from the US with the help of the Alien Exclusion Act because of that. The US State Department was able to put the kabosh on that.
When the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, he joined in the effort to band numerous nations together to control atomic weaponry, instead of allowing the bomb to stay in only one country’s hands. To me, this global way of looking at politics and weaponry ties in well with his ideas of the universal theory of relativity.
Another sign of his holistic thinking was his membership in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and took an active role in campaigning for the civil rights movement.
Even after his death in 1955, his brain gave knowledge to the scientific community. I don’t know if the doctor’s had the permission of his family, but they still removed his brain and kept it for future neuroscientists to study. Today, it’s at the Princeton University Medical Center.
All in All
Although the term dyslexia wasn’t even coined until Einstein was 9 years old, in 1887, he showed some very telling symptoms of the neurology:
- Delayed speech
- Poor organization
- Difficulty spelling
- Poor memory
- Great ability to visualize
- Global thinking
- Ability to see out of the box
- More ease with advanced theories
There are claims denying the fact he was dyslexic, but his history, both professional and educational, speaks volumes of their own.
Regardless, this man is a great inspiration, due to the way he overcame the political, religious and neurological discrimination he faced in his day.