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 HeadlinesDrexel to Shutter Sacramento ProgramsDrexel University's board of trustees has decided to begin the process of phasing out Drexel's undergraduate and graduate programs in Sacramento
Sutter Roseville Addresses Patient Care During CNA PicketThe California Nurses Association (CNA) has informed Sutter Roseville Medical Center (SRMC) it will hold an informational picket in front of the medical center on Thursday, March 5
Placer SPCA Reduced Adoption FeesThroughout the month of March, all Lucky St. Catrick's cats have waived adoption fees and all St. Pitty's Day pit bulls have a reduced adoption fee
Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts Get Boost with SnowstormTahoe South launches into spring with more than a foot of fresh powder falling on area ski resorts: Heavenly, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood this past weekend
Local Women Recognized at Soroptomist Awards CeremonySoroptimist International of Loomis Basin (SILB) recently presented nearly $5,000 in community awards
50 Days of the Dead: Mission in the RainThe Jerry Garcia Band ripping through a powerful Mission in the Rain from one of our favorite shows.
Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (3.3.15)The Roseville, CA weekly police crime report update for March 3, 2015.
Roseville Thieves Targeting Mail and Catalytic ConvertersRoseville police are reporting an increase in both mail and catalytic converter thefts.
Led Zeppelin in Roseville on March 30thRoseville area residents have the opportunity to see Led Zeppelin on the big screen March 30th at Century Roseville
Vertical Express for Can Do MS Squaw ValleyVertical Express for Can Do MS at Squaw Valley March 14- 15.
California Nut Festival Tickets on Sale March 6thTickets for the 2015 California Nut Festival held in Chico go on sale March 6th.
Ophir Gardens: Safe Water Flows AgainResidents of Ophir Gardens no longer have to worry about having a safe, reliable water supply.