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He first read a book at 31, and after a diagnosis, he now motivates children facing similar challenges

1924

Henry Winkler, known for his remarkable acting career, faced many challenges on his road to success.

His journey began in his childhood, where he faced difficulties in school. His parents, who valued education highly, often criticized him, thinking he was lazy. This constant criticism affected Henry’s confidence deeply.

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Despite these struggles, Winkler did not give up. He continued to work hard, trying various methods to excel in school. However, this was not easy for him. He often faced punishments and missed out on school activities like dances and plays. He recalls being grounded for most of his high school years.

Nevertheless, Winkler’s perseverance led him to graduate with a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University. But his challenges didn’t end there. Reading scripts was a difficult task for him, yet he found ways to adapt, often improvising and memorizing parts of the scripts.

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His acting career saw a significant breakthrough when he was cast as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli in “Happy Days”. However, he faced embarrassment during script readings due to his difficulty with reading. He relied on his ability to memorize well-written scripts quickly.

The turning point in Winkler’s life came when he was 31. His stepson’s struggle in school and subsequent testing for a learning disability led Winkler to realize that he might have dyslexia. This diagnosis was a revelation for him. For the first time, he understood the root of his difficulties with reading.

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Following his diagnosis, Winkler felt a mix of emotions, including anger, as he realized that his struggles in childhood were due to a learning disability. But he turned this revelation into an opportunity to inspire others, especially children. He wrote a children’s book series featuring a young boy named Hank, who has dyslexia. These books have resonated with many children, and Winkler makes it a point to respond to every letter he receives from them.

Winkler’s achievements extend beyond his acting career. He has won numerous awards and has authored several books. His memoir is set to be released in 2024. Despite his success, Winkler considers his books, especially those that have touched the lives of children with learning challenges, as his proudest achievement.

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Henry Winkler’s story is a testament to resilience and the power of overcoming obstacles. His journey from being criticized for his struggles to becoming an inspiration for others is truly remarkable. He serves as a beacon of hope for anyone facing similar challenges, showing that with determination and hard work, any obstacle can be overcome.