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Julia is a mom, wife, marketing account executive, advocate and volunteer raising two kids – Gage and Quinn – who’ve needed (and still do) a lot of services from the medical and public school communities. Their histories include a vision disorder, developmental delays, kidney failure, dialysis, kidney transplants, each at the age of 8, and therapy for the side effects of medical trauma. She’s a volunteer with the non-profit group, The PKD Foundation and fields calls from parents with children diagnosed with PKD. Never wanting another parent to feel alone in what can be the isolating world of special needs parenting and knowing there’s a bigger world out there than failing kidneys from which she can support and be supported, she co-founded SupportforSpecialNeeds.com. She blogs her family’s story at Kidneys and Eyes and is a contributor at Hopeful Parents and Aiming Low (hey, a parent had to laugh!) She advocates for rights of all kids with special needs through her volunteer efforts on Children’s Health of Atlanta Parent Advisory Council and serves on the The Board of Trustees of the PKD Foundation. Julia speaks on topics surrounding raising kids with special needs as well as to the medical community sharing her story and offers sound advice on working with special needs families. Accolades include Best Online Community Nominee 2011 & 2012 and Best Special Needs Blog from About.com, BlogHer ’11 Voices of the Year Honoree and many other recognitions personally and professionally.
Dawn Friedman, Co-Founder and Managing Editor-At-Large
A long-time, long-distance friend to Julia, Dawn has been creating, hosting and managing online communities since 1997. She is a strong advocate for families, mom to two homeschooling kids as well as an award-winning blogger. Her essays and articles have appeared in Salon.com (where her essay about her daughter’s adoption was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for 2006); Brain Child (her essay “You’re Not the Boss of Me” about non-coercive parenting was reprinted in both Utne and Ode); Huffington Post, Parenting, Yoga Journal, Wondertime, Adoptive Families, Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture and Greater Good.. Her work also appears in in Rebecca Walker’s anthology One Big Happy Family (Riverhead Press, 2009) and Mothering and Blogging: Theory and Practice (Demeter Press, 2009). An early adopter, Dawn has been blogging since 2001 and her blog has been featured in Time Magazine, the Washington Times, About.com’s Parenting section, About.com’s Adoption section, and was voted “best adoption blog” on TheBump.com. She was one of a dozen bloggers honored with a Parenting Magazine/BlogHer’s 2010 Must Read Moms award at the BlogHer Annual Conference in NYC and was called “ridiculously smart” as one of the top 50 Parenting bloggers for 2010 by Babble.com.