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.

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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.

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So Many Questions to Answer

February 22, 2017

Answering questions over the phone or Skype with journalists is now a daily experience for Jordan. That’s a bit surreal, right? But that got me thinking. What if you have questions and want to know something about prosthetics or parenting or glitter. (I know more about glitter than I ever thought I needed to know. […]

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The Best Brother in the Shadows

February 21, 2017

Jordan has so much support. I have found articles in South Africa, France, England, India and even Serbia sharing her Project Unicorn story and how Born Just Right is launching a nonprofit so more kids have a chance to learn inclusive design. What you may not know is one of Jordan’s biggest supporters is her […]

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Cookies, Basketball and Trying to Keep Things “Normal”

February 20, 2017

We’re trying to get life back to normal after a month that feels a bit surreal. The combination of Jordan’s trip to New York City to take part in Kid Inventor Day and a separate trip to visit The Rachael Ray Show has led to a lot of exciting developments for Born Just Right and Jordan. […]

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The Thrill of a Tweet

February 16, 2017

Last yesterday afternoon, I was just wrapping up a work phone call when I noticed a post a friend left on my personal Facebook page. She mentioned Chelsea Clinton had tweeted about Jordan and the CNN article about her. It was jaw-dropping because of the kindness she showed in the tweet and her follow-up tweets […]

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Using littleBits on a Valentine’s Day Box

February 15, 2017

I’m not sure when the Valentine’s Day box became a high-pressure, competitive experience. But my kids skipped the drive to win the award for the best box until Jordan’s final year of elementary school. Weeks ago, she started plotting a way to use her littleBits to power her box. She looked at all the functions she […]

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What’s Next for Project Unicorn

February 13, 2017

We had a really big week last week. Jordan powered through nerves and faced the Shark Tank and got to go on national television for the first time. She got to show off a brand new version of Project Unicorn and show off an extra sparkly version of her project logo shirt. (Not to mention, […]

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Jordan and Project Unicorn Pitch to The Rachael Ray Show and Shark Tank

February 10, 2017

Talk about a power combination! Jordan and I had a chance to spend 22 hours in New York City earlier this week. It was so fast, we only had enough time to take a walk through Times Square, eat, sleep and record a segment on The Rachael Ray Show WITH members of the Shark Tank. […]

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Small Gifts of Tinkercad for Valentine’s Day

February 7, 2017

This is the final year for Jordan to participate in class Valentine’s Day cards. I’m a bit nostalgic about it all. I’ve had a kid in elementary school for the last ten years. Getting those cards done each year is a combination of fun and a bit tedious. This year, I wanted to make sure […]

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Exploring Disney Through Three-Year-Old Eyes

February 3, 2017

It’s been a long time since we had a pre-schooler in Walt Disney World Resort. With Jordan just celebrating her 11th birthday, we haven’t traveled with a “little” in the parks for at least six years. So when Born Just Right mom, Rachel, set up a day to play with us in Disney’s Animal Kingdom […]

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Public Speaking to Hundreds of Kids

February 2, 2017

Through the years, Jordan has had opportunities to speak to college classes, basketball teams, community organizations, and even do live interviews. But she’s never talked to more than 50 or 60 people at one time (other than Maker Faire last May). Sure, there are bigger audiences when she’s talked to journalists. But you can’t see […]

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Helping People Who are “Different”

February 1, 2017

I have never focused on politics in my Born Just Right world. I have shared the challenges and concerns I have with the process of building prosthetics and detailed how we’ve worked through services that support Jordan and kids like her. I shared moments about Jordan’s three-year-old reaction to when Barack Obama became president. I […]

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Innovation Featured on Fast Company

January 24, 2017

The sensation behind Jordan’s sparkle-shooting prosthetic started with a simple article in Fast Company about ten months ago. Since then, Jordan’s work on collaborating between new design concepts and traditional ideas led to her new prosthetic mashup between traditional and 3D printed attachments for her new elbow arm. Today, Fast Company published a new follow-up to Jordan’s […]

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Introducing a Completely New Prosthetic Design

January 18, 2017

Jordan is exhausted after a full day of sharing her invention story to the media during Kid Inventors Day at NYU’s MakerSpace. She had a chance to spray glitter live on Good Morning New York and so many other members of the media, young and old. But there was one brand new reveal that I […]

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