Defying Disability

By Tonka Dobreva 12.03.2014 interact

Living with a disability, whether physical or mental, can be difficult. Though public awareness has increased, there are still many people who believe the myths and stereotypes about people with disabilities. One such myth is that a disability can hold someone back from accomplishing things they’d like to achieve. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five people who moved past stereotypes and defied their disability to become extraordinarily successful.

Marlee Matlin


Images: Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons

Marlee Matlin is the only deaf performer to ever win the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Deaf since she was 18 months old, Matlin has also gone on to win several Emmy Awards, write four books and performed the Star Spangled Banner in American Sign Language at the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

Stephen Hawking


As one of the most famous scientists of our time, Stephen Hawking didn’t allow his disability to stop him at all. Though he cannot speak or write due to a motor neuron disease, Hawking has received countless awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and written many books, including “A Brief History of Time,” which stayed on the best-seller list of the British Sunday Times for 237 weeks.

Frida Kahlo


Images: Wikinedia Commons

Artists often draw inspiration from themselves, and Frida Kahlo was no exception. Getting polio as a child and being involved in a serious bus accident later in life left Kahlo in extreme pain for the rest of her life. Still, she created over 140 paintings, including her famous self-portraits, some of which show her in her back brace and wheelchair. Kahlo’s work has been displayed all over the world, and the prestigious Lourve museum even purchased one for their collection.

Christy Brown


Christy Brown was an artist and author, who taught himself to type, draw and write with only his left foot. When Brown was born, his parents were told that he had cerebral palsy, which left him with little control over his limbs. He became a renowned artist, and eventually wrote a book called “My Left Foot,” which was turned into an Academy Award-winning movie.

Sudha Chandran


Images: Facebook

After having a leg amputated following a doctor’s error, few would have guessed that Sudha Chandran was going to become one of India’s most famous performers — but she did! After receiving her prosthetic leg, Chandran went on to dance in hundreds of performances around the world, and is a popular figure in Indian movies and television shows.

For more information on how you can help dispel the myths and spread awareness about living with a disability, visit the resources below:

Center for Disease Control and Provention: Kids’ Quest on Disability and Health

Palo Alto Medical Foundation: Living with Disabilities

Museum of Disability History: Myths and Misconceptions

Syracuse University Disability Cultural Center: An Introductory Guide to Disability Language and Empowerment


  1. bob2.020

    good for them

  2. Ulises cuevas

    People with disabilities can still be famous

  3. Nolan

    Really inspiring

  4. john

    thats just amazing

  5. Toby hayes

    this thing is so good its just amazing that people that have disabilities are able to surf is just amazing because they are just as good as any other surfer
    on the waves.

  6. Sir Shadow

    I feel that they are like gods because, despite their disabilities, they still try to accomplish what they love.

    • Nariahae johnson

      I argee good God is real

  7. Tamika Ross

    This is a awesome site because people that has disability like some others can look at this site and stuff but its good for kids to read to so they can helps others

    • Ulises cuevas

      People with disabilities can still be famous

  8. Tamika Ross

    This is very great for kids and adults because it helps all around the world and stuff.

  9. Tamika Ross

    This is very great for kids and adults

    • Nolan

      Inspiring greatly inspiring

  10. Justus vest

    that inspires me and tells me i can become what ever i want i just half to work at it

  11. Caroline Billiot

    This is awesome! I’m on the autism spectrum(Asperger’s Syndrome) and have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This is really inspiring! 😀

  12. Nick Kunigk

    I think its wonderful that people still find ways to get active and enjoy life. Programs like S.I.N.E.P are great for people with disabilities who want to get involved with sports.

  13. Aidan trivette

    I think it good because kids or adults that could not do that has a chance

  14. TonyRMS

    I think it is cool that they can do things like that with there disability and still do what they dreamed to do.

  15. Faeya

    I think it is great that people with disabilities are doing what they love, they are not letting any thing get in there way,

  16. Mermaidshell

    Amazing. Just Amazing. My little sis has cerebral palsy too, but she is fine.

    • Jon Tupper

      I think that’s so cool that they can do that. Anyway there still people and were all diff. too

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