New Disney Channel Star Overcomes Dyslexia, Reaches Out

Bella Thorne Disney Channel photo

Bella Thorne is making a splash on the Disney Channel’s new “Shake It Up!” – in fact, the network is banking on the fetching 13-year-old becoming a breakout star as Miley Cyrus moves on into adulthood.  Thorne tells us that, along with the high jinks of the comedy, in which she plays a teen backup dancer on a fictional TV program called and “Shake It Up Chicago,” there’ll be a few serious moments ahead on the show.  “We deal with teen issues like having friends, and dealing with learning disabilities.”  Her character, CeCe Jones, she says, “is dyslexic, like me.

“She just, like, tries her best to stay in school, to stay on the show.  Sometimes it’s really challenging.  Sometimes she handles it kind of rough.”

How does Bella handle it?  Does she have someone read lines with her?

“I do that with my brother sometimes.  I do it with my mother.  She will say a line, read a word, and say ‘That’s how it’s supposed to be pronounced.’”

Bella is glad that her series alter ego is dealing successfully – albeit not always easily — with her learning challenge.  She says, “I would love to reach out to kids with dyslexia, or actually any learning disability.  When I found out that CeCe has it, I thought, ‘That’s a great way to show that it’s normal.’  Kids can see how she works through it.  Her mom is encouraging her, helping her out with it.  She has to balance her school with work and friends and do good in school in order to stay on ‘Shake It Up Chicago.'”  She adds, “These characters on the show, they’re not perfect, they’re real-life kids.  They get in trouble.  They get grounded.”

The actress tells us that the character’s condition was never specifically spelled out up front.  The casting breakdown said, “’CeCe struggles for C’s in school.’  It is a big part of her life like it is mine.  I have to deal with it every day.  School work is not really my thing.  It’s hard, but you just get through it.”

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

16 thoughts on “New Disney Channel Star Overcomes Dyslexia, Reaches Out

  1. daron seals

    I love it how Disney Channel is willing to put something, like that on their programs, it shows that they are not afraid to get in trouble for broadcasting that kind of problems, and I cannot wait to find out if Cece, contiunes to fight through her dyslexia, and stay strong, and I hope that they get a Season Two- and possibly, up to season five, or more. I know that it is hard, to deal with that kind of problem, because I have “special needs to but that doesn’t stop me just because I am in the “Individual Education Program”(IEP), and I go to Horizon Science Academy ( one of the best school’s in cleveland, ohio, at least I think so, well I said my point, and hope this message inspires other people to never give up, or anything, and just keep strong.

  2. daron seals

    I love it how Disney Channel is willing to put something, like that on their programs, it shows that they are not afraid to get in trouble for broadcasting those kinds of problems, and I cannot wait to find out if Cece, contiunes to fight through her dyslexia, and stay strong, and I hope that they get a Season Two- and possibly, up to season five, or more. I know that it is hard, to deal with that kind of problem, because I have “special needs to but that doesn’t stop me just because I am in the “Individual Education Program”(IEP), and I go to Horizon Science Academy ( one of the best school’s in cleveland, ohio, at least I think so, well I said my point, and hope this message inspires other people to never give up, or anything, and just keep strong).

  3. Sue Fernandez

    Yay!!! My 10 yo loves this show and thought she was “most like” CeCe….little did we know she’s dyslexic…as is my daughter. She struggles with this everyday, although now that she’s fortunate to attend a school which is for children with dyslexic she feels less left out…hurray for Disney for incorporating it into the character…

  4. Lori Bennett

    I wish it would be portrayed more as a way of learning, rather than a learning disability that needs to be accepted. The way I see it, there are 2 ways of learning, verbal and non-verbal. So why are the non-verbal learners given a “label” and treated differently? Why not just teach them for the way they learn-I would rather see the show move in the direction

  5. Haley Blattel

    I love it how she shows that it’s normal to have dyslexia. I too have dyslexia and I was going to back out of my dream of being an actress when I found out I did have dyslexia, but ever since my favorite actress, Bella Thorne, had it I decided to try harder than ever. Hopefully someday I’ll get my big break on Disney Channel. Thanks Bella you’ve inspired me.

  6. Taylor Wolfe

    My dyslexic 5-year-old daughter might just be CeCe’s biggest fan! I was thrilled to see the this episode on her reading disability. It just tells the dyslexic world to stand up and be proud because it is not what they know, it is how they learn it! And, remember…. Walt Disney himself was a Dyslexic – yeah!!!!

  7. rockstar

    i think that it is really great how she wants to reach out to the kids with learning disorders and that she is such a nice person and that she overcame her dyslexia by having her parents make her read stuff.

  8. Diana

    I love the show Shack It Up. It seemed a lot of fun. I have dyslexia too. I agreed with her it can be hard. You are probably think to yourself how do i now it is hard how i now is because i am dyslexia too. If you are dyslexia like me and Ce Ce Jones be happy you are dyslexia it is nothing to be afraid for tell people that you are dyslexia we all what to now. Put the potent is to tell people that you are dyslexia do not and i mean do not be afraid to tell your friends and family too be happy :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :). I was scared too but i told my mom and dad they helped me a lot i was happy to tell them. Do not be afraid to tell people. HAVE FUN BE EXCISED.

  9. austin

    its nice how bella is over comeing dyslexia but i whant to now how to be abel to act on tv like you bella because ive always wonted to be an actor.

  10. Maggie Schwalbert

    its really amazing to see bella thorne get through her dyslexia and admit it on tv i could never stand up and amit that stay strong bella i believe in you. I LOVE u Bella!!!!!!!!

  11. Angela-Gianna's mom

    I just want to say that today my girls and I saw the story on Disney while watching Game Plan – even if today wasn’t special this story would have touched our family- My oldest daughter has Dyslexia as well, she is currently in 3rd grade and beginning to over come the mountain as she considers it she goes to a reading and writing group every day at school for a few hours. I am so proud of her and I am very proud of Bella for putting out there what my daughter considers to be something very bad as she is teased about it. Bella (if you read this) you really will help girls who have anything that may be standing in there way. To top everything off I know you didn’t make us see the story today but earlier tonight she was cast into her first play part!!! you gave her the extra belief that she can do it

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