Donnie Winokur is an internationally known speaker, writer, producer, and advocate who has spent the last 30 years creating conversations for marginalized people who come from hard places. Sometimes the conversation is raw and painful to navigate. Donnie has a map. Sometimes the conversation is joyous with newly found optimism or validation. Donnie shares her inspiration. Sometimes the conversation ends with fur-covered love. Donnie educates about Service Dogs.
While Donnie’s interest is based on first-hand experience parenting her own son, who is affected by fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), mental illness, and a host of differing abilities, her outreach extends to the international level in the field of developmental disabilities and child welfare.
Donnie became nationally known 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 a 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), now known as FASD United. 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, and 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 prenatally exposed to alcohol and their families.