Donnie Winokur is an internationally known speaker, writer, producer and advocate who has spent the last 30 years in the communications arena. While Donnie’s interest is based on first-hand experience parenting her own son who is affected by fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), autism, mental illness and a host of differing abilities, her outreach extends to the international level in the field of developmental disabilities. Her passion for education in the area of self-esteem, sexuality, and challenges resulting from disability comes from years of innovative community building.
Donnie became nationally known several years ago for her pioneering efforts in developing programs for healthy self-esteem and body image beginning with the Atlanta Jewish community. In 2000, she became the Founding, Executive Director of The Body and Soul National Institute™. In this capacity, she developed and facilitated programs for the six years the Institute flourished. Over time this educational resource was employed in secular communities, Women’s Shelters and workshops for women and girls living with disability. The program was eventually adapted for the Harvard Center for Eating Disorders.
After learning of her adopted son’s organic brain damage and the accompanying physical, intellectual, mental and behavioral diagnoses, her attention and experience turned to a different kind of advocacy. From 2005 to 2009 Donnie worked diligently to develop and establish NOFAS Georgia, the first state affiliate of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS). She has since become an expert in training professionals on developmental disabilities, mental illness and FASDs: within the justice system, on crisis intervention, for professional service providers, parents and caregivers as well as special educators. As a consultant with Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disability she designed a Training Protocol for Parent Detailers to educate pediatricians in screening, assessment and referrals for children presenting with autism and other developmental disabilities.
In 2009, Donnie Winokur began FASDEmpowered an educational outreach to bridge understanding between professionals working with persons exposed prenatally to alcohol and their families.