Naturalistic Celebrity Profiles

This article contains a short list of famous and historical figures who had highly developed natural observation skills depite a disability.

Here's a list of visionary thinkers whose exploration of the natural world led to many inventions and insights that still enrich our lives. Each lived with a disability. Their unique combination of intelligences--strengths as well as weaknesses--made them such successful people.

Jules Verne
Jules Verne incorporated his passion for geography into his writing. His extraordinary view of the world continues to capture our imagination. His works include A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870). Jules Verne is believed to have had ADD.

Louis Pasteur
Among this French chemist's discoveries in the late 1800s are the process of pasteurization and the rabies vaccine. Pasteur's scientific insights helped make the world a safer place. He had ADD.

Henry David Thoreau
This American author and naturalist depicted the beauty of the world through his poetry and essays. This brilliant writer had ADD. Thoreau's experiences living in a cabin on Walden Pond inspired his masterpiece, Walden (1854).

What do your kids think?
Ask your kids if they can think of any famous people who have high naturalistic intelligence. Start them off with a few familiar names:

  • Ansel Adams
  • Jane Goodall
  • John Muir
  • John James Audubon

    Brought to you by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

    Source: Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom by Thomas Armstrong (ASCD 1994)

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