Reflecting on the life of Judy Blake, I realized that everybody has 24 hours in a day to ration time for various activities...working, relaxing, socializing. We pretty well take for granted that each day will be relatively typical.
Judy's days are anything but typical. As a single mom of two boys who have a combination of special needs that include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Trichotillomania and Attention Deficit Disorder, her time is precious.
Having experienced the anxiety of raising a child with special needs, I could relate to Judy's initial feelings upon hearing the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder with her oldest son. As is often the case, she knew no one with a child with special needs or anything about any of the disorders that were to become part of her life. She only knew she had to educate herself by attending seminars and reading every book she could get her hands on to become an advocate for her child.
My head was spinning as I read Judy's story, but a calmness washed over me as she described focusing on the job at hand. She realized her children's problems would not disappear with age, so she became committed to exposing them to the world around them to help them adapt to it to the best of their ability at a pace and level appropriate for them at each stage. Support from friends and family led to her desire to help other parents cope with the challenges they faced, as well as reach out to extended family members. Everyone in the life of a special needs child contributes to their becoming as independent as possible.
Judy’s book, Judy's World, describes her journey over the past 20 years. Her blog chronicles day-to-day events in her life. Judy travels around the country speaking to students, community groups and teachers to educate them about people living with disabilities, ones that can readily be seen and ones that may not be so obvious. Judy is also Owner and International Booking Agent of Cirque Imagination, a unique line of cirque performers that entertain at private and corporate events. Her public shows even help raise funds for non-profit organizations. Make plans to see them perform at the Stafford Centre in October.
Amazingly, Judy accomplishes these things within a 24 hour day! Her drive is that she truly believes everyone has something to offer and each person's life has a purpose and meaning.