The Special Needs ‘Spa’
Jen Porter is an award-winning educator, author, and special needs mom who promotes faith and interdependence.
Jen and her husband Jim live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with their oldest daughter, their youngest daughter, three jealous and paranoid rescue dogs, and a lot of fish.
Jen began her teaching career in 2001 teaching language arts (grades 5-12), and then found her true calling teaching students with autism and related special needs in 2009 (grades K-8). Jen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Language Arts Teaching, as well as a Master’s Degree in K-12 Special Education.
In 2011, she was honored with the Lion Newcomer Award from her school district – awarded to a person who “has made a significant impact on students through an extraordinary contribution of time and talent outside of employment responsibilities.” In 2017, she was a co-recipient of the ARC of East Central Iowa Teacher of the Year Award — awarded to an individual who goes “above and beyond for those with disabilities.”
Her greatest honor as a teacher, however, was getting to know and learn from each incredibly unique student and family — as well as many amazing, deeply committed educators and paraprofessionals.
As a special needs mom and teacher, struggling to find time to breathe, Jen often said she wished she could just clone herself. Jen created The Special Needs Spa as an “easy button” for educators, caregivers, and service providers to say goodbye to the guilt–and renew their creativity, increase their impact, and rediscover their lives.
Jen has also been an author from a young age, where her office was found on a branch of her grandma’s big backyard tree. Now she prefers to write with the company of her dogs in her home office, on her back deck, or by her koi pond. She is the author of The Frozen, a Christian dystopian sci-fi novel that questions the way we place value on other human beings.
Jen enjoys spending time exploring her many other interests, including reading, music, gardening, swimming, and crocheting…but her husband claims to have married her because she can’t get enough Star Trek.