Available in Conference Keynote, Professional Presentation, and Staff Training Formats.

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Before we can address literacy, before we can speak about reaching challenged students, we must speak of humanity. We must take every student where they are, but we also must understand where they have been. To ignore the messages imprinted on their hearts is to miss the route to educational success.


• The Foundation of Literacy
• Literacy and Humanity
• On Teaching Well: What You Must Know Before You Teach
• The Heart Cry of Every Student
• Bullying Revealed

Mental Health

Separation; isolation: words that wound. We all have something to offer, to share with this world. We all have a purpose, a dream. Growing up with Tourette syndrome, Jonathan experienced the pain of exclusion. He also experienced the hope that rises when a dream comes to fruition. Those who experience mental health issues are not a community unto themselves; they are part of the greater community. Hear the challenge. End the separation. Embrace the hope.


  • Living with Tourette syndrome: Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way
  • Dare to Dream
  • The Whole in the Center
  • Connected
  • Make Us Visible
  • Dismantling the Pain Grid: Reaching Their Hearts
  • Working with Challenged Youth: Tell Them What They Need to Hear


To overcome: to climb when everyone believes the road is too steep. We climb because the mountain is in our way. We climb because it is who we are to do so. Disabilities do not define, they refine.


  • Overcoming
  • Living with a Disability: a Life of Hope
  • Make Them Visible
  • Dismantling the Pain Grid: Reaching Their Hearts


How do you define yourself? Who were you made to be? The most precious part of each of us is found at the core of our humanity. That is where we ask the two questions we cannot run from: Does anybody see me? Does anybody like what they see?


  • Make Them Visible
  • Dismantling the Pain Grid: Reaching Their Hearts
  • Ostracism and Isolation
  • Pressing in, Reaching out

School Visits and Staff Trainings

(High school, middle school, elementary school, and university level talks available)

Jonathan’s challenge to students is to be their best selves, to make one another visible. Drawing from his life lived with Tourette’s and epilepsy, his stories provide uplifting and passionate examples of overcoming adversity and ostracism. Looking for an anti-bullying thread? His message will change the environment of your school or setting! All can be summed up in the phrase, “Make one another visible.” Your students will laugh, and cry (in the best of ways).

In his staff trainings, Jonathan gives education personnel a unique glimpse into the life of hurting students, and reveals how educators can touch the hearts they work with everyday.


  • Life with Tourette syndrome: a Personal Story of Hope
  • Ostracism and Isolation
  • True Fiction: The Writing of Jerk, California
  • Writing with Emotion
  • Honing Your Writing Craft
  • Overcoming: You Can Write a Different Story

Dismantling the Pain Grid: Reaching Their Hearts

  • Before You Teach
  • Bullying, Ostracism, and Hope
  • Initiations: the Forgotten Map of Life

Corporation Presentations

  • The Invisible Workplace
  • Silent Success: Inner steps toward Outward Transformation

Selected Keynotes and Addresses

Keynote “The Whole in the Center” 2014
• MACMH Annual Conference
(Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health)
Duluth, Minnesota

Keynote “Make Them Visible” and “Dismantling the Pain Grid” 2014
• Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Cambridge Campus
February Faculty Development Day 2014: Student Mental Health
and Wellness
Cambridge, Minnesota

Keynote “The Big Read” 2012
Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada

Keynote Address Series: “The Genesis of Literacy” 2013
• International Reading Association
Jamestown, North Dakota

Mini-Keynote: “On Teaching Well” 2013
• Education Minnesota Professional Conference
St. Paul, Minnesota

Keynote: “Ostracism and Hope” 2012
• Healthy Minds, Strong Minds Regional Conference
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Keynote: “The Two Questions Learners are NOT Asking” 2010
• International Conference for Children with E/BD
Denver, Colorado

Keynote: “The Silent Learning Needs of Troubled Youth” 2010
• Annual Conference for Juvenile Justice Professionals
St. Cloud, Minnesota

Address: “The Disability Experience” 2009
• American Library Association Annual Conference
Chicago, Illinois

Address: All-Campus Disability Address 2009
University of Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Address: “Reaching the Young Adult Heart 2010
Estes Park/YMCA of the Rockies

Keynote: “Does Anyone See Me?” 2011
Indiana Educational Disorders Conference
Brown County, Indiana