Presidents with disabilities


Today, we celebrate across the country the contributions of the 44 presidents including 10 that had disabilities while they were in office.

You may not know this but there have been many of our Presidents with disabilities.

I got the following list from the organization Ability Center at:

1. William Jefferson Clinton, 1946- (hearing impairment)
42nd President of the United States wears hearing aids.

2. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1890-1969, (learning disability)
34th President of the United States. Leader of the victorious Allied forces in Europe during World War II.

3. Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, (learning disability)
Third President of the United States 1801-1809 and author of the Declaration of Independence. Remembered as a great president, a diplomat, political thinker, and founder of the Democratic Party. Reported to have many learning difficulties.

4. John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, (learning disability, chronic pain)
35th President of the United States. Was the youngest man ever elected President. He was also the youngest ever to die in office. He won world respect as the leader of the Free World.

5. Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865, (mental disease)
16th President suffered from severe, incapacitating, and occasional suicidal depression. Also, thought to have Marfan Syndrome.

6. James Madison, 1751-1836, (epilepsy)
4th U.S. President 1809-1817, drafted the Bill of Rights. Often referred to as the Father of the Constitution. Played a leading role in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 where he helped design the checks and balances system that equalizes the roles of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. He also created the federal system.

7. Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004, (hearing impairment)
40th President of the United States. 1981-1989. Also served two terms as governor of California. In 1932, he became a radio announcer for WOC in Davenport, Iowa and later WHO in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1937 he signed a contract with Warner Brothers and his first film was Love is on the Air.

8. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1882-1945, (polio)
The 32nd President of the United States and promised to create jobs for the unemployed and gave assistance to those in need. Suffered with polio and worked very hard to hide the extent of his disability.

9. George Washington, 1732-1799, (learning disability)
1st President of the United States. Was unable to spell throughout his life and his grammar usage was very poor. Thought to have learning disabilities.

10. Woodrow Wilson, 1856-1924, (learning disability)
28th President of the United States from 1913-1921 who is known to have a (learning disability) (dyslexia). World War I leader awarded Nobel Peace Prize for Versailles Treaty, 1919, domestic reforms included 1914 creation of Federal Reserve.

I share this information with you all in my community on this prestigious occasion to remember that people with disabilities have contributed greatly to the success of our country, and that people with disabilities can do anything.

The work these presidents have done to improve our country remind us that “Disabilities are a natural Part of the Human Experience” – U.S. Congress 1973.

For more on Presidents with disabilities, or any other disability related topic, do not hesitate to contact NMPASI at 235-7273 or 4, TTY & Fax at 235-7275, or online at

Happy Presidents to all in our Commonwealth, from your Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc. AKA NMPASI!

Thomas M. Thornburgh
Program manager

Thomas M. Thornburgh

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