The Legend of Independent Man

Meet Judy and Casey.

Judy is my best friend. She is a published writer, co-developer of Wordy Worm® Reading and national speaker on Down syndrome, advocacy, parenting and education. She is hysterically funny and Casey’s mom.

Casey is a clerical assistant at our local justice center. He takes the bus wherever he wants to go, grocery shops, does his own banking and lives in his own condo. His quick wit, which he probably inherited from his mother, transcends his disability and is far beyond “normal” intelligence.

Casey calls me his second mom. He calls himself “Independent Man.”

Their journey together was not easy…for either of them. They both experienced judgment and discrimination. When Casey entered the school system, the local school district had segregated schools for “those kids.” That was not an option for Casey’s parents. Judy and her husband became strong advocates. Casey became the first student with Down syndrome to be fully included in a “typical” classroom. The advocacy covered many areas including reading. Determined that Casey not graduate functionally illiterate, which seemed inevitable if left up to the district, she spent years researching and taking additional post-graduate reading courses until she discovered the quantum leap that allowed Casey to read independently.

Casey worked at everything that was given him. Despite all his disabilities, he never gave up trying. I saw him work as hard as any Olympic athlete out there. He just never received the medals that go with the effort put in to “beat the odds.”

We both share a passion for reading. It is our hope that no child should feel shame, embarrassment or struggle when learning to read. Judy draws from over three decades of experience and research as a teacher, tutor, volunteer, consultant and parent in the area of developmental disabilities. As Judy explains, “I’m an educator. It’s in my blood to share what I have learned and make it easier for the next person.”

We know there is an easier road. It is our desire to help you with that.

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