Autism Light Classic
Updated on July 17, 2020
Autism Light #114 is Julia Degler-Whitmore
Julia Degler-Whitmore is from Mattoon, Illinois. Her son Jacob Isaac Boyd has autism. She also has a daughter Jackie Boyd. Julia is a singer/songwriter, entertainer, motivational speaker, actor, and storyteller. Recently she became the Development Director for The Land Connection. Julia draws upon her Christian faith in her writings, prayers, and encouragement to the autism community, which includes a Christian Anthem called I Am the Child You Love. Julia Degler-Whitmore is an Autism Light because of her passion and expertise to bring music and movement to the autism community.
Julia and Jacob
I Am the Child You Love: Julia Degler-Whitmore wrote an autism awareness song in 2003 called I Am the Child You Love. Julia wrote it following her son Jacob's diagnosis with autism. Jacob, now a young adult, has made wonderful strides since Julia was named an Autism Light in 2011. You can read about his activities in a news article published on July 27, 2019. Though Jacob struggles with communication, Julia believes the lyrics are Jacob's message to the world. In this song she reflects on how Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated by Christians around the world this weekend, is important in the life of her son Jacob. You can listen to this song on Spotify. Below is a video on the song.
Julia shared these thoughts with Autism Light about this song that has become a Christian Anthem:
The song gave me hope and still does to this day. Jesus' birth changed everything. Jacob's birth changed me. Being his parent has given me new light and perspective that is beyond precious. I thank God every day that He loved me enough to give his son Jesus to me and that he would choose me as Jacob's mother (Julia Degler-Whitmore).
Development Coordinator: Since May 2020, Julia Degler-Whitmore has served as the Development Coordinator at The Land Connection. Julia wrote a blog post recently called, "It's a New Season" at the Land Connection. She shares about her life and interests in this personal blog post.
The following is a photo that was shared recently on Julia's Facebook page about autism.
Articles in the News: There have been several articles about Julia Degler-Whitmore appear in news stories.
- September 22, 2003. 'I Am the Child': Mother Writes Song to Promote Autism Awareness.
- June 23, 2016. Notes-Worthy: Julia Degler
- February 8, 2017. Julia Degler-Whitmore Joins FCC Mattoon Staff.
First Christian Church: Julia Degler-Whitmore has served as the Chancel Choir Director at the First Christian Church in Mattoon, Illinois from 2016-2017.
Children of Destiny: Children of Destiny is a Christian support network for autism that has been especially helpful to Julia’s family in their journey with autism. As an appreciation Julia Degler-Whitmore has donated some proceeds from her song in the past to Children of Destiny. Children of Destiny can be found at www.childrenofdestiny.org. One of the services of Children of Destiny includes an email list people can subscribe to in which they will receive daily prayers of interest to Christian families experiencing autism.
Pepsi Refresh Grant Challenge: In 2012 Julia Degler-Whitmore won a Pepsi Refresh Grant Arts & Music Award to assist the special needs community with arts and music. If allowed for training with The Miracle Project in Los Angeles. Performances were held in the community from 2013-2016.
DRAGONFLIES: Julia Degler-Whitmore is the Founder and Former Director of Dragonflies. Dragonflies uses the techniques of Autism Movement Therapy that were founded by Joanne Lara. They are located in the Dance Life Center. Julia explains her work like this: "In our DRAGONFLIES Autism Music Therapy classes we wake up the brain by using music and movement exercises with counts and patterns."
Below is a brief video of Julia using ABC movement therapy with her son Jacob.
Social Media: You can interact with Julia Degler-Whitmore and her work at the following social media areas.
- Facebook (Julia's Entertainer Page)
- Facebook (Julia Degler-Whitmore)
- LinkedIn Page of Julia Degler-Whitmore
Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.
Photo: The photos in this post were used with permission of Julia Degler-Whitmore. Note: In some older online information you will find her under the former name of Julia Boyd and it refers to the same individual.