Judith Bluestone had a special passion for working with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She had personally made the journey from autism and other neurological disorders to "neurotypical functionality." In her 40+ years in the field of education, she served as a teacher, a learning disabilities specialist, a director of pre-school special services, a therapist, a private consultant, a university adjunct faculty lecturer, and a conference presenter.
Born in Chicago in 1944, Judith Bluestone suffered from brain damage, cranial abnormalities, seizures and sensory hypersensitivities, probably as a result of exposure to toxins in utero and as an infant. She struggled to articulate, and could only eat pureed food. She required eleven surgeries to repair the bones and nerves in her face, and surgery to recover her hearing which she had lost at age eight.
Her early years determined her life’s work. Working with people with learning disabilities and neurological impairments, Judith pioneered the Holistic Approach to NeuroDevelopment and Learning Efficiency—a proven, practical tool that achieves functional outcomes by applying a systems approach to assessment and treatment programs for individuals and families around the world. The HANDLE Institute of Seattle, Washington develops training programs for educators and neurorehabilitation therapists who interact with children and adults experiencing cognitive, motor, and behavioral difficulties.
“My mission is to move hundreds and thousands from dysfunction to function, from despair to hope.” Judith Bluestone
In June 2002, Judith was recognized for her outstanding contribution to the human condition when she was honored as a Distinguished Alumna, the most illustrious award offered by her alma mater, Case Western Reserve University. Judith was one of five Washington state winners of the Jefferson Awards. The award recognizes ordinary people who do extraordinary things in their communities. She also won the 2004 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for public service for her work helping others. This award is considered the “Nobel Prize” of volunteering.
Judith is the author of The Fabric of Autism and The Churkendoose Anthology. She passed away in 2009.