Henry Winkler: I thought I was ‘stupid’ before dyslexia diagnosis

Henry Winkler thought he was "stupid" before discovering he is dyslexic.

The 73-year-old actor – who rose to fame in his role as The Fonz on 70s show ‘Happy Days’ – only learned about dyslexia when he took his stepson to get evaluated when he was 31, and has said that before getting diagnosed, he had always assumed his struggle with reading and writing had been down to his intelligence.

He said: "I thought I was stupid … 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."

Since discovering his learning disability – which often causes problems with reading, writing and spelling – Henry has written 29 books with the help of Lin Oliver for his long-running children’s book series ‘Here’s Hank’, which are fictional stories about a child battling with the condition.

He added of the series: "It never dawned on me that I would have my name on a book. We set out to write comedies that happen to be about a kid who had a challenge, but they were funny first. If we didn’t make each other laugh, Lin and I, it wouldn’t go in the book."

The books tackle different forms of dyslexia, and Henry says he wants to make sure children stop feeling "inadequate" or "embarrassed" by the disability.

Speaking to NPR, he said: "Some people, it works on their ability to read and do math, to actually write a sentence. Some people write backwards. When you’re reading, you miss words, they drop off the page or the words start swimming.

"What I have found over the years talking to kids today about it is that our journeys are similar. The feeling of inadequacy, of embarrassment, of, ‘Oh my gosh, am I going to have a future?’"

Henry’s final book, ‘Everybody Is Somebody’, is out on Tuesday (29.01.19).

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