As an infant Albert Einstein’s mother was concerned that his head was much too large. He was apparently quite delayed in learning how to talk, not using words until sometime after the age of two years which worried his parents and caused the family maid to nickname him the dopey one. When he did finally learn how to talk he would whisper what he needed to say, over and over to himself, until he thought it sounded good enough to say out loud. Was Albert Einstein learning disabled? Maybe we would have labeled him as EI or even EMI?
At the age of six Albert Einstein was enrolled in a Catholic elementary school even though his parents were Jewish. While he did well in elementary he was quiet and distant from his peers and preferred building card houses and playing with his sister. Then at ten years old he was accepted into a prestigious institution but apparently he had become a real trouble maker in school and out. He had a rebellious nature toward authority and questioned wisdom imparted to him on a regular basis. This caused one of his schoolmasters to kick him out of school and another to say he would never amount to anything. If he were in public school today would we label him as ADHD?
He was then homeschooled for a while and tutored by a twenty-one-year-old medical student that ate dinner with the family once a week, lent him books on popular science and philosophy and tutored him in Geometry for a short time until Einstein’s mathematical ability exceeded that of the medical student’s. At the age of 14 he was supposed to attend boarding school, however, he was so unhappy that after six months he got a doctor to officially diagnose him with “neurasthenic exhaustion” so he was sent back to his parents who had moved to Italy. He then renounced his German citizenship and his Jewish faith. He studied physics diligently the summer he was 16 years old because he wanted to attend Zurich Polytechnic, however he failed the admission exams.
The school suggested that he spend the next year in a Swiss secondary school preparing for the exams. By the time he was 17 he received his diploma and he had become more confident and self-assured.
“The ordinary adult never bothers his head about the problems of space and time. These are things he has thought of as a child. But I developed so slowly that I began to wonder about space and time only when I was already grown up. Consequently, I probed more deeply into the problem than an ordinary child would have.”
Read more on childhood disorders.