Spatial Celebrity Profiles

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

Here's a list of artists and explorers who used their spatial skills to find their way. Each of them also happened to live with a disability. Their unique combination of intelligences -- strengths as well as weaknesses -- made them such successful people.

Leonardo da Vinci
Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, and scientist. Renaissance Man. Did you know he had a learning disability?

Admiral Peary
American arctic explorer and naval officer. He had a communicative disorder.

Vincent Van Gogh
Post-impressionist painter, originally from the Netherlands. Van Gogh had epilepsy and struggled with mental illness, including depression and dementia.

Marc Chagall
Russian Cubist and Expressionist painter. He had a communicative disorder.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
French painter and lithographer. Lautrec fell and broke both legs when he was a child and his growth was permanently stunted.

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

  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Andy Warhol
  • Georgia O'Keeffe
  • Martha Stewart
  • The Wright Brothers
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Sacajawea

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

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

    Linguistic Logical-Mathematical Intrapersonal Interpersonal
    Bodily-Kinesthetic Musical Naturalistic Spatial

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