English actress and 3-time Emmy Award winner Susan Hampshire went 30 years of her life before finding out she had dyslexia. Now, when she’s not acting in television or film roles, she devotes her time to dyslexia awareness and intervention efforts. This work has earned her the Order of the British Empire award, a recognition also achieved by dyslexic swimmer Duncan Goodhew.

Hampshire was born in 1937, and took on her first movie role in 1947 at age 10 in The Woman in the Hall. She originally wanted to become a nurse, but as she progressed through school and was unable to pass the required exam, she turned to acting. Although undiagnosed in her childhood, her dyslexia affected her learning; she was unable to spell her name until age 9 and could not read well until age 12. Despite this, her family has always been supportive of her. After realizing Hampshire’s challenges in school, her mother founded The Hampshire School in London where she taught all the classes based out of her ballet studio. Hampshire attended this school all her life and therefore never experienced the harsh realities of being dyslexic in a traditional school. Although she grew up in a protected environment, she still struggles with her confidence surrounding her abilities.

In addition to being known for her roles in TV series The Forsyte Saga, The First Churchills, and Daily Mail, “That’s why it’s so important to give children self-belief, because they can achieve so much anyway.”

Read more about Susan Hampshire in her two books, Susan’s Story: My Struggle with Dyslexia and Every Letter Counts: Winning in Life Despite Dyslexia. Also, learn more about performing artists with dyslexia here.