Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year!

Judy Winter Images. All rights reserved.

Let disappointments of the old year go and dream big for the new.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Judy Winter's Holiday Special Needs Tips

Judy Winter Holiday Images 2015

Here are a few of my video suggestions for ensuring a less-stressful holiday season for families of kids with special needs.

Hope it helps.

Watch it here.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Merry Christmas

Judy Winter Holiday Images 2015

Holiday Words of Wisdom: Helen Keller.

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."

'Tis the Season of Giving to the Eric 'RicStar' Winter Music Therapy Camp

RicStar's Camp. Erik Taylor Photography.

As you plan year-end giving, please consider a gift to the Eric 'RicStar' Winter Music Therapy Camp, aka RicStar's Camp.

This yearly, award-winning music-therapy camp, now in its 14th year, welcomes individuals of all ages and disabilities into a summer-camp setting focused on nurturing and celebrating individual abilities.

Everyone is equal there.

No one is turned away from RicStar's Camp because of disability or financial need. Many campers could not attend this amazing event were it not for the scholarships we provide because of your generous support. 

Many campers return year after year, calling it the highlight of their year.

RicStar's Camp and music therapy change lives.

Please help us do that again for this too-often underserved and undervalued population in 2016.

From the bottom of our music-loving, ability focused hearts, thank you.

Find out more here. Watch the great camp videos, too. 

Check out my Facebook Page

A reminder that more regular special needs posts appear on my professional Facebook Page: Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs.

Check it out.

Joshua Perry. Ohio State Linebacker and Special Needs Sib Extraordinaire

Joshua Perry is an talented Ohio State linebacker and all-around great young man. 

He's also an outstanding special needs sibling. His brother, Jahred has Asperger's syndrome.

Watch the story here. 

Holiday Self Care

Judy Winter Holiday Images 2015

What have you done for yourself lately?

Oxygen mask on your own face first, especially during this trying holiday season.

Take time for YOU.

Permission granted.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

World Cerebral Palsy Day, October 7th, 2015

In honor of today's World Cerebral Palsy Day, my baby and on-going muse, Eric.

Never forgotten. 

Always in my heart.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Words to live by?

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." -Francis of Assisi.

Find me on Facebook!

A reminder that more regular posts and daily special needs updates appear on my professional Facebook page. 

Visit me there, too.

Tim Shriver talks with Robin Roberts

Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, speaks to Robin Roberts in this ESPN piece.

Check it out!

Hometown hero, indeed, but on a worldwide stage.

Well said, Tim!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Schooled by a dog -- from wounded shelter pooch to school hero: Judy Win...

School is coming and I'd love to see more schools with therapy dogs in the hallways. 

So I'm again featuring my TEDx talk about this subject, hoping more schools will take on this canine adventure this school year. 

Pure educational therapy dog magic that costs the districts nothing.

Will your school be next?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

RicStar's Camp Version of Bruno Mars Uptown Funk

Watch the 2015 RicStar's Camp participants rock out to Bruno Mars Uptown Funk.

Get up and dance, people!

Having fun, while changing lives.

Watch it here.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

MSU Conducting New Autism Research

My alma mater, Michigan State University, is conducting exciting new Autism research.

Find out more here.

Proud to be a Spartan.

Ryan Stamper Gets Video Role

A San Diego band has made a dream come true for Ryan Stamper by casting him in their new video. 

Stamper has Down syndrome.

Watch Ryan in action here.
Thank you, President Obama.

Much work remains.

See the President's words about the 25th Anniversary of the ADA here.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Faces of Ability RicStar's Camp

Registration ongoing for the 13th annual Eric 'RicStar' Winter Music Therapy Camp. Aka: RicStar's Camp. Scholarships available. More info here.

Erik Taylor Photography

Honoring World Autism Awareness Day 2015

Logo courtesy of Autism Speaks

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Steve Harvey "Sister O'dell" Controversy

RicStar's Camp participant. Focused on ability. Erik Taylor Photography.

Read my take on Steve Harvey's recent poor comic judgement targeting those with special needs, here.

Maya Angelou said, "When you know better, you do better." 

You can do better with your celebrity, media status and talent.

Right, Steve?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Registration for 13th Annual Eric 'RicStar' Winter Music Therapy Camp Now Open

Registration for the 13th annual RicStar's Camp, which celebrates the individual abilities of people of all ages with a wide range of exceptionalities, is now open for all returning campers.

Registration for new campers will begin March 1st.

Don't delay! Camp is often full. 

Scholarships are available.

More info, including downloadable registration form, here. Music changes lives. 

So does RicStar's Camp.

Focused on ability, friendship and fun.

Amy Purdy to Chat with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday Feb 22nd.

Paralympian, author, dancer and all around terrific example and activist, Amy Purdy, will appear on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday program this Sunday, February 22nd, on the OWN network.

Should be worth the view and the wisdom.

Can you tell I'm a Purdy fan?

I'm a fan of Oprah and the OWN programs, too.

Find our more here.  Sneak peaks. :)

Visit my Facebook Page

Reminder: there are lots of new posts and links at my professional Facebook page, It's updated more frequently that this blog and includes more posts that I think you don't want to miss. :)

Check it all out, here.

Purchase Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs

Special note regarding purchase of my book, Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations. ( the direct link on this page) is currently out of stock of my title and awaiting more books. 

But you can still buy Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs at all other major booksellers, including Barnes and Noble and places like Target and Wal Mart and independent booksellers, which I also love supporting.

Hopefully, Amazon will be restocked soon.

Kate Middleton Talks Mental Health Issues

Kate Middleton takes on the big topic of children's mental health and gets the valuable conversation going.

Let's help her keep it alive.

Watch/Read here. 

The BBC asks, "Is it OK to call disabled people 'Inspirational?'

Yeah. That's the real headline of a BBC article getting press today. 

Can't let this one go.

It comes after many recent Super Bowl commercials and recent press that have highlighted or are highlighting the successes of those with exceptionalities, including Jamie Brewer, actress and activist and the first person with Down syndrome to walk the NYC Fashion Week runway.

That's a big deal.

Here's my take. I'll be brief.

Personally, I think we're getting caught up in semantics here and wasting valuable chat time when there are much bigger special needs topics to fry and discuss, like education, insurance, respite, employment, etc.

Plus, the word inspirational sure beats many of the ugly terms many with special needs have been slammed with over history and still today, words like retarded, spastic, insane, stupid, brain dead, etc.

I'm thrilled we're finally including people with exceptionalities in our daily conversations and in the major media, and on the runway. If the stories told inspire others, that's cool, too. 

Many special needs families are desperate for positive examples for their own children. History books need to include more such stories, too.

Long overdue.

That said, I do wish the media would do a better job with people-first language.

Note the "disabled people" headline used by the BBC. They aren't alone in that editorial snafu.

Use people's names, please. Stop defining people by disability before the story even gets out of the equality gate. 

It does change perceptions about ability.

Disability is a part of someone's reality and life. It should never be the defining term.

Read the full article here.

What's your take on the "inspirational" discussion?

Monday, February 09, 2015


In honor of that terrific GRAMMY win by Pharrell Williams last night, this one deserves another look.

Your song sure made everyone at RicStar's Camp HAPPY!!!

Get HAPPY here. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

You can find my book at all major booksellers, including here.

Staying in Touch

Reminder that you can now view more frequent special needs posts on my professional Facebook page.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

You can find out more about my book and my special needs mission on my website.

Annual Day of Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is Monday, January 19th.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

How will you serve?

More information here.

Words of Wisdom from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Raise your voices whenever needed.

Logo courtesy of Abilities Expo

International Day of Acceptance 

Spread the word!

International Day of Acceptance is next Tuesday, January 20th.

It's a time to create greater awareness of the importance of embracing people of ALL abilities, including those with exceptionalities.

Reality is we need to stop leaving people with disabilities out of important conversations about diversity and equal rights, too.

You can learn more about this special day and share your own stories here.

And how about we practice this kind of acceptance all year long, too?

Equality for ALL.

Super Sibs

Those super sibs Hunter and Braden Gandee are at it again.

You may remember the Michigan siblings first captured our hearts and attention when Hunter carried his younger brother with cerebral palsy, Braden, on his back on a 40-mile cross-state walk to create greater awareness for cerebral palsy.

This time, it's about the chance to play sports like every other kid.

The short video is well worth the view and the lessons learned.


Out of the mouths of babes.

Watch here.