Yellow Pages |   News Updates |   Local Jobs |   Events Calendar |   Movie Times | Recycling
Rocklin and Roseville Today Local Events

Many U.S. Politicians have had Disabilities



The idea of a person with a disability being elected president of the United States may seem farfetched to some Americans, especially given the physical demands of campaigning. But persons with disabilities have presided over our country and likely will again.

Of course, most Americans already know the story of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who acquired polio in the 1920s. Though a public figure, he managed to hide his disability and become governor of New York and president of the United States.

Since 1972, at least three presidential candidates have had disabilities: George Wallace was paralyzed from the waist down after an assassination attempt; Bob Dole had a World War II arm injury; and Mo Udall lost an eye in childhood. Also, three recent U.S. Senators lost limbs in war: Bob Kerrey, Daniel Inouye and Max Cleland.

Add to these names another well-known politician, one who had two disabilities, with the first greatly helping him become president. He was Thomas Woodrow Wilson, son of a Presbyterian minister from Virginia.

Wilson couldn't read much until age ten and was considered a poor student early on. Nearly all historians believe he had dyslexia. According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by problems in "single word decoding" that are "unexpected in relation to age and other cognitive and academic abilities."

For instance, a child with dyslexia often reverses words or letters in spelling, turning "dog" into "bog" or "tip" into "pit." He or she may also invert letters, such as "m" for "w" or transpose them as in "felt" for "left." Dyslexia affects perhaps five percent of Americans.

Often, people with dyslexia have above-average intelligence. As for Woodrow Wilson, though he was highly intelligent, his intelligence went unrecognized by teachers. Many children with dyslexia are branded slow learners or taunted.

To help compensate for his son's learning disability, Wilson's father began training his son in debate and oratory, the mastery of which resulted in an illustrious political career. His father helped make good from what many people considered bad.

If not for having dyslexia, Wilson likely wouldn't have been president.

In 1919 and while in office, President Wilson had a stroke paralyzing his left side. He never fully recovered and his wife successfully kept his condition hidden from the public. Woodrow Wilson was the first and only president to simultaneously juggle two disabilities.


LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.

Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.

Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com



Placer County News Headlines

Pediatric Telemedicine Consults Delivers Cost SavingsResearchers at UC Davis have conducted a comprehensive study to determine whether pediatric telemedicine consultations with rural emergency departments

50 Days of the Grateful Dead: Sugar MagnoliaIn a nod to the recent Dear Jerry Celebration held at the Merriweather Post Pavilion and an online request, we step back in time 32 years to June 1983.

Memorial Day Weekend : All Aboard as Railroad Season BeginsWhen the whistle blows Memorial Day weekend it will be full steam ahead this summer aboard the historic Virginia & Truckee Railroad

American River Project: Water Transfer ApprovedDrought Watch: At the May 21 meeting of the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors, the Board approved a resolution authorizing the release of 12,000 acre-feet

Granite Bay Cuts Water Use 32 PercentDrought Watch: Customers in San Juan Water District's retail service area reduced their water use by 32 percent in April compared to 2013.

When 20 Billion Gallons of Water Savings is Not EnoughDrought Watch: Even though customers from 19 Sacramento-area water agencies have saved more than 20 billion gallons

$900,000 Window Project: Placer County Courthouse AuburnWork is under way on a construction project that will restore and repair aging windows at Placer County's Historic Courthouse in Auburn.

Squaw Valley High Profile Development ProposedA proposed high-profile project is in the works that would transform 94 acres in Squaw Valley into a development offering numerous resort residential options and amenities

Auburn Library Opens with Flooring Project CompletionThe Auburn branch of the Placer County Library has been closed since May 1

Kaiser Permanente Roseville Honors Fallen for Memorial DayKaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center held a special ceremony yesterday honoring the memories of all who have died on behalf of our country

Raley's and iFoster Launch Foster Youth Hiring Program iFoster has partnered with Raley's Family of Fine Stores to develop a new hiring program for foster youth.

Auburn Non-Profit Above All Adventures Utilizes IndiegogoIn Placer County, 13 is the average age for first time alcohol and illegal prescription use, and binge drinking increases threefold between 9th and 11th graders


more news