ADHD and dyslexia in Leonardo da Vinci: Why Leonardo succeeded (plus Video)

If Leonardo da Vinci would be in our classroom today, he would not only be diagnosed with dyslexia but also ADHD. Despite his ADHD and dyslexia, Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) became one of the greatest geniuses in history. So what enabled da Vinci to grow up to be the amazing man that he was destined to be?

As Leonardo da Vinci’s life shows, as a child and as a teenager, he was free from the constraints of what anyone else thought he should be. By being allowed to follow his natural talent and interests, Leonardo was able to succeed.

ADHD and its amazing energy

While Leonardo is best known for some of the greatest paintings in the history of art, it is his ADHD energy — his unquenchable curiosity, his powers of invention, his studies on nature, mechanics, anatomy, and architecture — that made him a true Renaissance man and one of the most diversely talented individuals to have ever lived.

Da Vinci is recognized as mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician, and writer.

More than 500 years ago, da Vinci used his ADHD energy to design flying machines, shoes for walking on water, robots, submarines, underwater breathing gear, solar powered industries, weaponry, and buildings. His wide-ranging ADHD interests included faces and emotions, animals, babies, dissections, plants, rock formations, whirlpools, war machines, and helicopters.

Dyslexia 500 years ago

Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy, as the illegitimate son of a 25-year-old notary and a peasant woman. As an illegitimate child, he did not take his father’s last name and was therefore known as Leonardo da (from) Vinci. As a child, Leonardo had an enormous interest in the world around him and loved to observe nature. He also showed a talent for drawing.

When Leonardo was 15, his father arranged an apprenticeship for him in the Florentine studio of the acclaimed painter, Andrea del Verrochio. It was during his apprenticeship that Leonardo’s talent for art developed and flourished. By 1482, da Vinci was in the service of the Duke of Milan, not simply for his artistic talents, but for his clear engineering prowess and scientific genius.

Leonardo da Vinci’s personal life

Leonardo’s personality and personal live has been the source of much speculation by many researchers. Beyond friendship, Leonardo preferred to keep his private life secret.

It appears that Leonardo had a deep respect for life, which is not only evidenced by his vegetarianism but also by his habit of purchasing caged birds in order to release them.

Leonardo died at Clos Lucé, France, on May 2, 1519, at the age of 67. In accordance with his will, sixty beggars followed his casket.

After his death, Leonardo’s friends distributed his notebooks — originally loose papers of different types and sizes. These notes, consisting of over 13,000 pages and drawings, were made and maintained daily throughout Leonardo’s life and travels as he made continual observations of the world around him.