A big reason Jordan encouraged me to work on transitioning Born Just Right from a community to a non-profit community came from a huge realization. As Jordan learned more about design this past year, the more we saw how a lot of the inclusive design world is supported by typically able engineers and designers. There are many people jumping into the inclusive design world but most have no personal experience of what it is like to live in the special needs world. Many people we’ve met through the year couldn’t even conceptualize life without two hands. The default reaction is to help build “hands” for Jordan or kids like her. There are many times when those hands are cool and can be fun. But I’ve written before that 3D printed designs aren’t the ultimate solution when it comes to prosthetics or adaptive tools.
Since Born Just Right’s story has grown, we are getting a lot of requests to promote events to connect limb different children to people who want to give the kids a 3D printed hand. I will make those connections when the events let the kids learn how to make his or her own designs. That’s our goal. I know it feels really good to build things. But I hope Jordan and I can help advance that energy into education and empowerment. All kids have a chance to take ownership of their own design needs. Not just Jordan.
We’re twisting the concept of 3D adaptive design just a bit. But I think it’s important.
UPDATE: Just to be clear. If you are interested in building a 3d designed hand with E-Nable or Enable Community Foundation, we are happy to help make the connections. But I cannot be the person who is tracking down kids to help every group of 3d makers create hands. I will promote every event that gets kids involved in the design process.
Last night, a very cool thing happened. Jordan was publicly announced as a speaker at TEDxCoMo – a local TEDx planned in Columbia, MO in April. Jordan has a chance to contribute to a conversation about being a “citizen.” That’s a general word that has a lot of opportunity for interpretation. Jordan plans to share her perspective about what she thinks about physical differences and how she views differences in society. Big stuff.
This past year has given Jordan an opportunity to step up as a voice of confidence and creativity. These past few weeks have turned up her message of confidence. And when a news producer from a different part of the world contacted me early this morning about traveling abroad to give Jordan a chance to share her perspective, it hit me how all these years of work advocating for our kids is making an impact. It took a lot of glitter and years of learning and growing as a parent and for Jordan to grow into her strengths.
When CNN.com came out with the piece on Jordan, some friends told me their kids had an assignment to write about a current event and they picked Jordan’s story. How incredible to know kids were sharing details about limb differences and the power of using your differences for fun? A high school student from North Carolina, Emma Waller, was given an assignment in her visual arts class to draw a news article. The result was this beautiful piece of work depicting Jordan as a superhero, The Glitterator. Wow.
We don’t dwell on this swell of attention at home. The impact and reach Jordan is making is thrilling and a bit overwhelming. I’m not quite sure how to frame it all for Jordan without it feeling like a burden. I want to frame it in a celebratory way. All these years of mentoring and advocating is helping the world change its perception of physical differences one blast of glitter at a time.