Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Judy Winter Image 2014

Kudos to Meryl Davis and Amy Purdy-Dancing with the Stars 2014!

Meryl Davis (has dyslexia) and Amy Purdy (double amputee) took first and second place last night on the finale of Dancing with the Stars.

Both women have worked incredibly hard to overcome some big challenges and achieve impressive success. Both are mucho talented, beautiful and gracious, and Amy just made ground-breaking history.

I've been doing this special-needs-advocacy work a long, long time. I began at a time when few if any even people talked about the potential of this population, much less looked beyond disability to showcase individual talents.

This is a big deal.

Today, my special needs advocacy heart is overflowing.

Two remarkable women. Two Olympic champions. Two great dancers. Two stellar role models for young women everywhere. No tables thrown. No fighting. No profanity. No embarrassment.

Just class and talent and dignity and ability showcased in all its glory on live television. 

Long overdue.

There is no runner-up status here. Both women were/are spectacular.

The ladie's partners were pretty darn sweet, too. 

Special shout out to Derek Hough. The way he approached this unfamiliar special-needs situation showed rare class, professionalism and total commitment to learning something brand new and out of his comfort zone.

I love that he didn't handle Amy with disability kid gloves or turn her into a DWTS mascot.

He looked beyond the obvious to challenge this incredibly talented and spirited young Paralympian, helping her achieve her full dancing potential, and then some.

Paid off in dancing spades.

Hough was willing to take a chance on himself, too. And let's not forget his incredible talent as a choreographer/dancer.

I've no doubt Derek Hough is a better person today because of this remarkable experience.

We all are.

Best season of Dancing with the Stars, ever!!

Thank you for the thrill ride and the media-worthy example. This was about so much more than grabbing a glittery trophy.

Pure class, and focused on ability.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Olympic Ice-Dancing Gold Medalist and big contender for the Mirabel on Dancing with the Stars tonight Meryl Davis is dyslexic.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Image courtesy of Sprout Film Festival


The annual festival showcases several works of art featuring individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

It's held from Sat. May 31st thru Sun. June 1st in NYC.

Sprout does a lot of other good stuff, too.

Check out all the Sprout details here.

Jack taking a well-deserved bow after our TEDx Lansing talk.

My TEDx Lansing Talk

I think I forgot to share my TEDx Lansing talk Schooled by a Dog with you here.

So here you go. It's about my experience/success using a therapy dog (my dog, Jack) in public schools during the past three years (including with students with special needs) and my belief that all schools could benefit greatly from these terrific canine teachers.

Watch it here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder!!

Celebrating 64 years of Wonder-ful music.

Focused on remarkable ability.

Watch the YouTube tribute here.

Reminder: Find me on Facebook!

My professional Facebook page 'Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs' (same name as my book), now includes much more frequent updates than this blog currently does. 

Feel free to visit me there, too.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Judy Winter Image

Life After Paralysis

Monday Inspiration: Karen LeGrand and her son Eric LeGrand.

Here's a belated Mother's Day message from Karen LeGrand, mother of former Rutger's football player, Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down during a Rutger's football game.

Read the words of wisdom here.

Judy Winter Image

Monday Inspiration: Amy Purdy.

I'm a big fan of the Paralympic bronze medalist and fan fav on the current season of Dancing with the Stars.

She's amazing, and focused on remarkable ability.

Follow her and her wonderful DWTS success, here.

Visual courtesy of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation


It's that time again. Time to submit your choice for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation 2014 BEST DAD ON WHEELS!

Go to it!

RicStar's Camp. Erik Taylor Photography.

UM Engineering Students Take on Software Challenge that Could Open Up the World for Young Girl with Cerebral Palsy, and Many Others

Please take a moment to watch this wonderful video highlighting the power of technology to open up the world for those with special needs.

Computer Science with Soul features one of our favorite RicStar Camp participants, the beautiful, smart and gutsy Grace Simon.

It is a potentially life-changing project of University of Michigan (UM) Engineering College students, the techi-software results of which could impact many other kids (and adults) with special needs, especially those with speech and motor challenges.


This is one time that I can say with my whole MSU-Green-to-the-alumni-core heart, Go BLUE!!