Celebrities with special needs have not always been in the limelight, but it’s important to remember that they not only exist but are thriving, successful, and talented individuals. Having a role model who looks or behaves like you is not always as easy for children with special needs. With the end of the year is approaching — offering us time to reflect — we’ve gathered quotes from disability activists, celebrities with special needs, and leaders from varying fields to show the heroic lives these stars have lead and the positive mottos that have helped them succeed.
“So remember, look at the stars and not at your feet.”
Scientist Stephen Hawking at the Sydney Opera House in 2015
“I’ve been working with amazing names: Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Denis O’Hare. I just — I beam, I glisten. I glow every time that I hear a fan mention my name. Even when my family hears like, ‘She’s in American Horror Story!’ It lights up my entire family, as well as myself.”
Stage and TV actress Jamie Brewer for Broadway.com in 2018
“Recognizing and respecting differences in others, and treating everyone like you want them to treat you, will help make our world a better place for everyone. Care… be your best. You don’t have to be handicapped to be different. Everyone is different!”
Savant Kim Peek, the inspiration for Rain Man
“If I regarded my life from the point of view of the pessimist, I should be undone. I should seek in vain for the light that does not visit my eyes and the music that does not ring in my ears. I should beg night and day and never be satisfied. I should sit apart in awful solitude, a prey to fear and despair. But since I consider it a duty to myself and to others to be happy, I escape a misery worse than any physical deprivation.”
“There is no place in our society for prejudice of any kind, yet it was not that long ago when Americans with disabilities were often not given equal rights and opportunities. We can all take pride in how much the ADA has accomplished, which is evident every time you attend a sporting event, ride the subway, or go to work. Yet, there is always more to be done, which is why it’s good not only to celebrate our successes, but to look forward at what still must be done.”
President George H. W. Bush on the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2009.
“People will tell you that I overcame obstacles…maybe. But the truth is I was incredibly blessed in my life. More was given than was ever taken away.”
New York Yankees pitcher Jim Abbott
“Don’t let nobody tell you that you can’t do it. Love what you do until you don’t love it anymore.”
Rapper and singer Fetty Wap