Judith Snow, M.A., was an actor, artist, writer, nature enthusiast, and leading international activist for inclusion. She created Canada’s first post-secondary learning support program, at York University. She also served on the faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, and was the founder and leader of several community-based non-profit organizations.
Snow lived with spinal muscular atrophy, and defied medical predictions both by living well into her sixties and by living well. She embraced life with vigor, curiosity, determination, a sense of adventure, and a fiercely independent spirit. At one point in her life, Snow defied her medical team by refusing to return to a nursing home and, instead, taking refuge with friends in university housing. “Circles of Support,” a now widely-heralded approach to supporting community members, evolved from what she and her friends called her “Joshua Committee,” the group of supporters that was then formed with and around Judith to ‘blow down walls’ and support her independence and autonomy. Judith’s life experiences and thinking helped enormously to shape the development of person-centered planning, community-building, and self-directed supports.
In Judith’s words:
"There really is no disability: People are always contributing something. The work is to see the value and potential in what they are contributing and build that through relationships into community and economic opportunities.”
"I have lived on the margins & fought hard to become a participating citizen. I am a thinker & a dreamer. I have a reputation as a visionary. Let’s look at what fosters community capable of including people in all the diversity of their gifts & dreams."