He’s known as an open book when it comes to his own struggles with dyslexia, and now Happy Days icon Henry Winkler sharing his own advice with Kelly Clarkson’s daughter River.
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While making an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Henry Winkler spoke about his approach to dyslexia after Kelly Clarkson spoke about her daughter’s diagnosis. “She was getting bullied at school for not being able to read like all the other kids,” Clarkson stated.
Henry Winkler then said that dyslexia is prevalent, with one in five kids being diagnosed with it. “It’s more common, I didn’t know that,” Kelly Clarkson noted. To which, Winkler replied, “She’s in the tribe.”
Clarkson then told Winkler that River’s school has a program for students struggling with dyslexia. She then pointed out other celebrities that have the learning disorder. “It really empowered her that y’all are so open about it,” Kelly said about Henry’s openness on the topic.
The Happy Days alum then gave his advice to River. “How you learn has nothing to do with how brilliant you are,” he declared. The statement stirred up some emotions within Clarkson.
Henry Winkler Says His Dyslexia Made Him Think He Was Stupid While Growing Up
During a 2019 interview with NPR, Henry Winkler admitted that his dyslexia made him think he was stupid while growing up.
“I thought I was stupid,” Winkler explained. “You take that mantle with you when it’s said often enough and when you’re young enough. There is an emotional component, I think, that comes along with learning challenges, where I had no sense of self.”
Henry Winkler then revealed that he didn’t know he had dyslexia until he was 31 years old. This was after his stepson was tested for the learning disorder. “I went ‘Oh my goodness, that’s me,’” he recalled. “And so at 31, I found out I wasn’t stupid, that I wasn’t lazy — that I had something with a name.”
However, Winkler admitted that he was frustrated about finally being diagnosed. He said his parents would blame his learning struggles in school. “I was grounded 97 percent of my high school career,” he explained. “I saw the moon through the window.”
Despite his struggles, Henry Winkler said it didn’t stop him from achieving fame. “It gave me fight,” he declared about his dyslexia. “It gave me understanding that it doesn’t matter. There is not one road to get where you want to go. There is your road.”
In regards to how he would push through his learning disorders for auditions, Winkler added that he would memorize as quickly as he could. “I couldn’t read the page and act at the same time to make an impression on the casting person or on the director and the producers. And I improvised the rest.”