maker-health-human-services-dcToday is a big day for Born Just Right! We are in Washington, DC this week. Thanks to the combination of my travel for work and the fact that it is summer break, Jordan and I fell into a really cool opportunity. We were invited to share Born Just Right’s mission and Jordan’s Project Unicorn creation during an event focused on the Maker Health movement. It’s called “Making Health” and the event is hosted by the Health and Human Services Department’s Idea Lab, MedStar Health and the National Institutes of Health. We are incredibly honored to be invited to display Project Unicorn and how Born Just Right is a part of the special needs world.

What is “maker health?” Well, the health world is just getting started when it comes to helping patients take a bigger lead in the way they design their own care in chorus with his or her medical practitioners. Jordan had a chance to take the lead and develop something super fun that sparkles. While developing a glitter cannon that shoots from her arm, she and her design partner at Autodesk, Sam Hobish, also had a chance to look deeper into designing 3D printed elbows and designs that are totally based on Jordan’s concepts. I pulled in her prosthetist, David Rotter, to see if he could help Jordan’s design partner and also see if there may be ways to mashup Jordan’s standard prosthetics with 3D printed items that can be produced quickly based on Jordan’s input. It’s a really cool combination of patient/design/practitioner-focused development.

And Jordan is only just getting started!

We are super excited to share the various prototypes of Jordan’s glitter cannon. She’s going to demonstrate how it shoots at least a few times during the three-hour event. We’re also excited her brother, Cameron, has a chance to join us at the event. We’re going to learn a lot! I can’t wait to report back what we’ve learned throughout the White House National Week of Making. It kicked off with the National Maker Faire (where Jordan won an Editor’s Choice award!) and it ends with the Maker Health event. I’m so proud we have the opportunity to be involved in this Nation of Makers!!

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finding-dory-jordan-bornjustrightLeading up to the release of Finding Dory, I heard so many tales about how special needs played a big role in this movie. But I wanted to see it to believe it. This Pixar movie series has been an important part of our special needs parenting lives ever since Jordan was born. Nemo and his lucky fin were one of the easiest ways I could explain Jordan’s difference to kids in Cameron’s pre-school class. But time fades and fewer kids knew about Nemo.

When this new movie was announced, all I had hoped was the chance to see Nemo involved in this movie about Dory. Limb different kids around the world can point to that tiny clownfish as proof that a physical difference doesn’t have to hold you back.

What we got in this movie was much more nuanced. Finding Dory is more of a movie that allows a lot of different sea life to show how they survive and thrive WITH differences. Not despite. Dory and her short-term memory loss are obviously the main focus as she searches for her parents. Nemo, his dad, Merlin, and a host of new characters join in to support Dory.

This movie celebrates differences without calling it out. Many characters work together when they may have a difference that requires help. (Just like in Finding Nemo.) Interestingly enough, I never heard the term “lucky fin” mentioned during this new movie. Limb difference wasn’t the big focus. Nemo is just treated like any other fish. That’s because his fin difference (I just made that term up! I like it!) doesn’t matter. It doesn’t hold him back. Obviously, Dory and everyone else in the movie knows that fact as well. Not once does a fish or another animal ask if Nemo needs help. Nemo gets it done. So do Hank and Bailey and Destiny. Dory learns that lesson as well in this movie.

There are similar themes in this movie that match Jordan’s current life. She’s powering through her life showing how she’s able and not disabled by having fun with her differences. One-handed life isn’t a hindrance. It’s different. It might need to require extra work. I think Finding Dory shows how your difference isn’t in the way of your progress in life. You just have to build a path toward learning things differently.

I asked Jordan what she thought about the movie. Here’s her official review. If you had a chance to see it over the weekend, I’d love to hear what you thought as well. (Warning: She hints at some spoilers.)

I love seeing movies that offer perspectives on physical and invisible differences. Finding Dory offers a positive outlook in a gentle way. It isn’t forced onto you. And yes, as Jordan mentions in the video, it’s worth watching the movie until the very end of the credits.

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Speaking and Sharing Camp No Limits

June 9, 2016

Months ago, we were invited to a local Kiwanis Club meeting to share the story of Born Just Right and all the cool things we do in the limb difference community and beyond. I didn’t realize how crazy our life would be, but it is so fabulous to have a chance to see Jordan develop […]

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American Girl: Limb Different Dolls Are More Important Than You Think

June 3, 2016

I hope you’ve seen the video… Emma opens an American Girl doll box and discovers the doll of her dreams: A doll with a helper leg just like her. A Step Ahead Prosthetics started making alterations on American Girl dolls earlier this year. It’s remarkable how special this can be for kids. My heart is […]

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Project Unicorn on display at Maker Faire

May 25, 2016

Jordan had the fastest, most intense weekend in the San Francisco area. But it ended with all kinds of memories and a successful new prototype for Project Unicorn. We were in the state for a full 44 hours and I’m pretty sure we made the best out of every minute. After arriving at midnight and getting […]

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Get Ready, Maker Faire – Glitter is Coming

May 13, 2016

After getting back in town from Walt Disney World Resort, there was no time to waste! Jordan met up with her design partner, Sam Hobish, to talk about how their project is going. Where is it going? Well… It’s going back to San Francisco where this project started in the first place! Jordan and I […]

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Dream Big, Princess Innovator

May 12, 2016

My head is still spinning a little after this past long weekend. Jordan was given a one-of-a-kind invitation by Disney Parks: To receive a special award for her innovative work in the limb difference community. It’s a part of a campaign called Dream Big, Princess. I’ve written time and time again how I consider Jordan […]

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A Special Visit to Orlando

May 5, 2016

Jordan and I are on our way to one of my favorite places in the world: Walt Disney World! We’re taking part in some very special things this weekend and I can’t wait to share all of the details. One detail I can share right now is our chance to attend the Invictus Games Opening […]

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An Upworthy Moment to Share

May 4, 2016

Yesterday, Jordan and I had a chance to do an interview with a local magazine. During the conversation, I was asked how I feel about Jordan’s recent success in sharing her efforts to raise awareness about physical differences. It’s a question no one has asked before. All of this very kind attention is based on ten years […]

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The Joy of Running

May 3, 2016

I picked up running a number of years ago as something that helps calm my very busy brain. In the last few years, Jordan has taken a liking to it and I’ve discovered it’s something I really love to do with her. Blame school schedules and travel, but we don’t get to run together often… […]

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Growing Up Right in Front of Me

April 25, 2016

This year seems like a big turning point for Jordan… and maybe for me as well. When we kicked the year off together asking American Girl to consider limb difference options with its dolls, I watched Jordan come into her own. She has a voice that is full of hope and understanding in a world […]

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What if… Project Unicorn Creation Excitement

April 15, 2016

Jordan and her design partner, Sam Hobish, met twice this week to keep plugging away at Project Unicorn. Last weekend, Jordan realized the most recent design plan wasn’t going to work out. I was worried it would leave Jordan down on this project. Luckily, the disappointment didn’t last long. Sam’s great attitude helped Jordan pivot […]

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Jordan Shares Her Project Unicorn Thoughts

April 12, 2016

Yesterday, I shared an update about how Jordan hit some snags in the building process for her latest 3D printed arm design. I know she was disappointed when she couldn’t find a way to bend the elbow based on the newest arm we have right now. After I posted the video we shot during the […]

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Good Ideas Don’t Always Work

April 11, 2016

Jordan learned about the process of making ideas into a reality earlier this year at the KIDmob Superhero Cyborg workshop. But it’s been a while since she hit a huge wall in the maker process. And we’ve most certainly hit a wall. Last week, Jordan got a new 3D printed design to try and make into […]

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A New Project Unicorn Prototype

April 5, 2016

Jordan continues to work on Project Unicorn with her design partner, Sam Hobish. They’re trying to figure out a way to take one of the newest 3D printed prosthetic designs and find ways to harness the little bit of movement at the base of Jordan’s little arm. Jordan and Sam met to talk through ideas […]

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