Jo Lynn Osborne
In 1975, Jo Lynn Osborne’s life was forever changed with the premature birth of twin boys, one who died at birth and the other later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Back then there were not many options available or supports for families with children diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Jo Lynn was determined to raise David with his family, which included her husband and David’s two sisters. She worked with the school district to create an option that allowed David to attend a neighborhood elementary. In 1980, Jo Lynn joined The Arc staff. She began to see just how many parents were struggling to get appropriate education and community for their kids. She knew there had to be a better way. Jo Lynn began to develop programs for children, provide educational advocacy and develop training classes. She stayed at the chapter for 34 years! It was during this time she developed an award winning, transformational training called Mobilizing Families. The content from this pivotal training is still changing lives today. This curriculum has even been translated into European languages. Jo Lynn pioneered educational advocacy in Jefferson County and participated in community work that influenced the local school district and public policy. It’s not possible in one article to enumerate the contributions she has made to people with IDD. We honor her for dedicating her career and using her powerful voice to help build better lives for her family and for countless others. Jo Lynn has chronicled her experience raising a child with a disability in her memoir, Try Another Way.