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.
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
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 HeadlinesBella Vista HS Wins Sacramento County Academic DecathlonSacramento, CA- Bella Vista High School, from the San Juan Unified School District, is the winner of the 2017 Sacramento County Academic Decathlon competition
Topgolf in Roseville to host WJU Fundraiser in AprilRoseville, CA - The Jessup Athletic Association will host the inaugural TopSwing event - a fun gathering, providing golf, games, food, beverages, prizes and awards - on Sunday, April 23
Roseville Bucks for Bikes Application DeadlineRoseville, CA- Apply for an opportunity to receive up to $200 toward a new commuter bike. Bucks for Bikes helps commuters
Mom Turns Caregiving Into CareerSo taken up by their moving story, I'm devoting the next two weeks to Joe and Tish Griffin, 21-year-old son and 60-year-old mother
PCWA affirms opposition to weaken Prop 218AUBURN, Calif. - At its February 16 meeting, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors expressed opposition to any legislative effort to weaken Proposition 218
Rocklin Music Artist Quinn Hedges New AlbumLocal Rocklin music artist Quinn Hedges will unveil his latest album in spectacular fashion. He and several collaborators created a dozen captivating videos
Roseville Gas Price Declines Coming to an End?Roseville, CA- Declining gas prices in Roseville may be coming to an end as experts continue to anticipate a rise in fuel prices nationwide heading into the warmer months
Bill would provide independent oversight of Mental Health ServicesROSEVILLE - This week Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville) introduced a bill to assure that the $2 billion allocated each year from Proposition 63
Roseville to host Junior Singles ChampionshipsRoseville, CA - Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville is set to host annual Junior Singles Championships Feb. 18 - 20.
Kidney Transplants: UC Davis Leads NationSACRAMENTO, Calif.) - UC Davis physicians gave lifesaving kidney transplants to more than 400 people in 2016, making it the highest-volume kidney transplant program in the nation.
Kid-O-Rama Festival Returns to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Olympic Valley, Calif. - The 8th annual Kid-O-Rama extravaganza returns to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows this President's Day weekend from February 18-25.
Dementia Support Group in Grass ValleyCascades of Grass Valley, a senior living community located at 415 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley, will be hosting a monthly support group for family and caregivers