Success Stories Within the IDD Community: Stevie Wonder

If you are a fan of the classics or 1970s Music, you will know who Stevie Wonder is. Born with blindness, he did not let this stop him from taking the music industry by storm!

Early Life

Stevland Hardway Morris is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. His claim to fame came in the second half of the 20th century, as he is known to be one of the most successful songwriters and musicians. Stevie was born in Saginaw, Michigan, on May 13th, 1950, with five children. Stevie was born six weeks premature, which caused him to have retinopathy of prematurity, which is a condition that affects the growth of the eyes to be aborted and makes the retinas detach, in essence causing his blindness. His singing career began at a young age, where he sang in a choir at the Whitestone Baptist Church. He then started to play instruments such as the piano, harmonica, and drums throughout his early years. Eventually, he formed a singing partnership with his friend John, going by the street performing name, Stevie and John.

Professional Career

In the year 1961, he launched his professional career, where at age 11, he sang his composition, ‘Lonely Boy,’ to a record producer. This producer loved his Music so much, he moved Stevie to Motown and was given Little Stevie Wonder. From there is career took off with completely several records by the age of 12 and breaking into the Billboard 100. In the 1970s, Wonder’s career was at its peak, where he won three Grammy Awards for his works and became the only artist to have won the award with three consecutive album releases. Along with his individual works achievements, Wonder’s 1970s albums have had a vast influence on popular music in the following decade of the 1980s. Since Stevie’s entrance into the music world, he has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him the best-selling music artist of all time, with 22 grammy awards. Aside from his career in Music, he is quite the political activist, for which, in the 1980s, he campaigned to MLK day a reality for this nation. Eventually, in 2009, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace, as while in 2014, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Path to Wisdom

Stevie Wonder’s story is one of significant commonality and bound with hardships; a child born blind from the middle of Michigan grows up to become one of the most successful musicians of all time. It goes to show that dreams are achievable no matter who you are or what holds you back. Go out there and chase the moon!


Success Stories Within the IDD Community: Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli has been one of the most influential musicians of all time even though he has been blind for the majority of his life. 

Early Life

Andrea Borcelli, tenor what a wonderful voice. He was blinded by playing  soccer at an early age I think 12 years old. A very tale… | Andrea, Singer,  Opera singers

Andrea Bocelli was born on September 22nd, 1956, where his hardships had begun. Before his conception, the doctor advised his parents to abort him, as they figured he would be born with a disability with the doctor’s prediction that he would have numerous problems with his sight. Eventually, after he was born, he was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, which is caused due to abnormalities in the anterior chamber angle development that obstruct aqueous outflow in the absence of systemic anomalies. This abnormality is rare depending on the country of birth, with in the United States, it occurs once in 10,000 births. As he lacked the ability to see, he grew a great passion for music as a young boy. At the age of 6, he started taking piano lessons and later learned various other instruments. Eventually, at the age of 12, he got into a soccer accident which caused him to lose complete sight. However, this did not stop him from pursuing his passion for music. At the age of 14, he began to participate in song competitions; he broke into the music world from that point forward.

Andrea Bocelli


Since 1982, he has recorded almost 15 solo studio albums, three greatest hit albums, nine operas, and sold over 75 million records worldwide. Since he broke into the music world, his first compilation album Romanza is that of one of the best-selling albums of all time. Then in 1998, he was named as People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people. With many more record-breaking solos and albums, in 2019 his album Si debuted at number one on UK Album Charts and US Billboard 200. Asides from his vastly achieving records, he received a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2010 for his contributions to live theatre.

List of awards and nominations received by Andrea Bocelli - Wikipedia


Not only is his accomplishments for an ordinary singer extremely rare but to complete what he has while being blind is something extraordinary. He is a figure within the IDD Community not only for his success but to show the fact that anything is possible no matter your disadvantage or disability.


Success Stories Within the IDD Community: Aaron Fotheringham

Aaron Fotheringham: Longest wheelchair ramp jump | Guinness World Records


If you have ever seen Johnny Knoxville, you may have heard of Aaron Fotheringham. Fotheringham is a regular in many of Johnny Knoxville’s stunts. Aaron Fotheringham is most well known for his appearance in Nitro Circus, his claim to fame being his ability not just to skate but wheelchair skate.

Aaron Fotheringham — IE Disabilities EXPO

Early Life

Aaron was born in 1991 with Spina Bifida, a congenital disability on the spinal cord. This condition caused him to have no control over his legs, but this did not stop Aaron from achieving and succeeding. Even at a young age, he did everything in his power to do what every other kid was doing; he just made it work for his abilities. Aaron was known to wear a superman cape as a child and blast down the hallway on crutches, and most important, never stopped believing. After his crutches, he was placed in a wheelchair full-time from the age of 8. At a young age, he would watch his brother ride BMX at a local skatepark and wanted to give it a try with his wheelchair. Ever since that first drop-in at a skate park, Aaron was hooked to the mastery of Wheelchair Skating.

Historic First: Aaron Fotheringham Accomplishes Wheelchair Back Flip

Professional Career

His professional career in wheelchair skating began when he customized a wheelchair to allow him to do tricks. As wheelchair skating was not a big sport when Aaron started, he would make up and perform stunts on the fly. One of his most well-known tricks would be the famous back-flip that he portrays, featured throughout both the show and various movies of Nitro Circus.

4 badass wheelchair sports! - Briometrix


Not only is Aaron a superstar on the half-pipe, but he has been a role model for young kids with disabilities. He swears by the philosophy that a wheelchair is not a restriction but rather a tool. He travels all over talking to young kids and teaching them a trick or two along the way. He wants to change the world’s perception of people on wheelchairs and help every individual see their own worst challenges in a new way.

Aaron Fotheringham: Superman on Wheelz - Wheel:LifeWheel:Life

Success Stories Within the IDD Community: Nick Vujicic

Who is Nick Vujicic?

Nick Vujicic is an Australian born without arms or legs, who is best known as a World-Renowned Speaker, New York Times best-selling author, and coach.

Early Life

Nick Vujicic was born in Melborne, Australia in 1982, residing with his parents who were both Serbian Immigrants. He was born naturally, without limbs and legs, and to his parent’s surprise, there was no explanation or warning of his condition. His condition he was born with is called tetra-amelia syndrome, which is described as the absence of arms and legs. Sadly due to his condition, his mother declined to see or hold him after birth. His harsh treatment continued into Highschool, as he faced several challenges. He was constantly attacked by the bullies and admitted to suffering from depression and loneliness in his early life, as he can’t even hug his parents due to the disability. He constantly questioned his self-esteem and cut off all conversation with anyone he saw, leaving him alone and broken. This eventually led him to attempt to end his life by drowning in the bathtub, but he realized he couldn’t leave his family.

Turning Point

At the age of 13, he hurt his foot which he now uses for typing, swimming, and writing. This incident made a massive impact on him. It caused him to embrace his abilities and be somewhat less concerned for his disabilities. From his previous struggles of coping with the disability, he was finally able to embrace it. His idea of embracing the disability resulting in him becoming vocal about living with his disability and for others to find hope and meaning in life. He began to speak to dozens of people about motivation and finding hope, which eventually led to 100 people. Ultimately, he gives around 2,000 talks around the world.

Power To Tell Stories

His stories and talks are based upon the idea of excuses; as no matter your disability or lacking mentality, he embraces the idea that you are able! Nick is not just an advocate for the IDD community, but all of us, as he is there to welcome each and everyone’s ability not to let excuses slow you down!


Success Stories Within The IDD Community: Daniel Radcliffe


If you have ever seen Harry Potter, you may have heard of the lead actor in the movie Daniel Radcliffe. Although many only look upon his success as an actor, another success he attributes to would be his battles with Dyspraxia, creating a struggle for the actor, yet it’s what led him to so much success.

Early Life

Daniel Radcliffe is an English actor who is best known for playing Harry Potter throughout the trilogy during his adolescence and early childhood. He was born in 1989 and raised in London to parents from South Africa and Northern Ireland. He attended three separate schools throughout his schooling, and while attending school, he managed to release some of his very first Harry Potter films. Being both a child actor and student proved quite tricky to Radcliffe, eventually leading him to take acting over education. His first debut was in the 2001 film The Tailor of Panama, and from there was selected to be Harry Potter, taking off his career.

“Some people have it very badly and find it hard to, you know, catch a ball. I’ve never had it quite that bad, although you should see me throw, it’s also a processing thing, so I take in information slightly slower than everyone else does,”

Daniel Radcliffe

Challenges With Dyspraxia

Even though his success has been tremendous both on and off the screen, Radcliffe suffers from a developmental coordination disorder called Dyspraxia. This disorder can make things even as simple as tying your shoes and writing a constant struggle, which in Radcliffe’s case, he only had a mild chance. Even though it is a soft case, it still gives him huge trouble daily, but it did not stop him from achieving greatness. This disorder was not going to stop him from achieving what he wanted, as he has had this dream since the age of five.

“Through doing training and through doing bits of gymnastics when I was younger on Potter, that has absolutely stood me in very good stead and has made all the dyspraxia stuff kind of decrease a lot,”

Daniel Radcliffe


Even though Radcliffe did not have a severe case of the disorder, it indeed plagued him daily. However, through determination, like most within the IDD community, success is in the eyes of the beholder. He had a dream, and he chased it, which shows anyone that their goals are within reach if you persevere and put your mind towards the sky.