The Turner Town Project – A Turner Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Awareness Campaign
The problem entails unknown medical conditions, a mysterious diagnosis, uncertain impact, uninformed professionals, bewildered families and distressed patients. These could be challenges experienced by those affected by Turner syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities. How can society help?
I am THE 1 in 2,500 girls born with a chromosomal disorder called Turner syndrome. Affecting only females, primary characteristics of TS are short stature, ovarian failure, heart defects and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities.
Just before entering high school, my world was turned upside-down with the diagnosis of Turner syndrome. Unfortunately, my physician never treated anyone with TS, website articles were discouraging, books about TS were unavailable in libraries, and I found misinformation in school textbooks.
Most of the general public is unaware of these conditions, symptoms and how to support someone with TS or NLD. NLD can be found in both genders, but the symptoms may be subtle, unrecognized or misdiagnosed. NLD might lead to motor skill problems, visual/spatial/organizational/time misperceptions and social difficulties. Therefore, I decided to research these issues, consult with experts, participate in medical studies, volunteer with Turner Syndrome Society of the United States (TSSUS), and create my own multi-media awareness campaign.
Initiated in 2005, my mission to educate society encompasses speaking to diverse audiences, providing interviews, and designing an interactive traveling exhibit, Turner Town. The Project includes educational posters, workshop materials, children’s activities, teen newspaper, growth charts/measuring stations, flip books, photo collages, resource guide and portable TS/NLD library.
Turner Town is a collection of dollhouses with storyboards in front of each building. These scenes (over 20+) depict everyday challenges of Joy, a girl with TS and NLD, from birth through her teen years (while offering solutions in overcoming social, medical and academic obstacles). Appealing to all age groups, it showcases one’s abilities while dealing with disabilities in a positive light.
Turner Town strives to eliminate stigmas labeled to people with health concerns or educational problems. The Town has been on display in multiple states at libraries, community centers, hotels, hospital and children’s museum. Thousands of Town guests are now cognizant of the impact of TS and NLD. Hundreds of brochures and literature have been distributed to affected families, teachers, medical professionals and interested parties with critical information about testing, academic accommodations and the latest health recommendations.
It’s been said that “it takes a village to raise a child!” I submit that “it takes a Town to SAVE some children!” I am very proud that my Turner Town was directly instrumental in convincing expectant mothers carrying babies with TS to continue with their pregnancies, both locally and internationally. My efforts helped two little girls be here today.
“With Turner Town, Jennifer has done an amazing job increasing awareness of TS which is a major objective for the TSSUS. The earlier girls can be diagnosed, the earlier they can begin their lifelong care,” says Natalie Bonfig, TSSUS Marketing Director.
More About This Charity
Volunteer of the Year
Jennifer Wakenell for Turner Syndrome Society of the United States
Create awareness, promote research and provide support for all persons touched by Turner syndrome.
- This Volunteer helped 30,000 people through this Achievement
- This Volunteer helped 10,000 people in the past year
- This Volunteers’ efforts helped make 30,000+ people aware of Turner syndrome through project display, news, social media, TV and radio interviews; direct help to TS affected families