The Dragonfly Forest

They have been given names such as devil’s darning needle, ear sewer, horse stinger, skeeter hawk, and the snake’s servant. Actually, Dragonflies are beneficial, peaceful, and stunning. You are a Dragonfly if you are: ADD/ADHD, dyslexic, dysgraphic, Asperger’s, NLVD, autistic…

Friday, May 23, 2014

Freaky Friday Fun! The Truth of Lies & IPODS

Watch Macro Tempest use 3 IPods to teach us about truth, lies and deception.  This is a short video that you will want to watch a few times - very fun!  Happy Freaky Friday my Dragonfly friends!  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Feature Friday - Sharing my story - Jill Lam

Hi Dragonfly Friends!  I would like to say thanks for following me and all my adventures.  I sometimes share some personal information but sometimes my blog is a place I can share insights into what it is like to be a person with a disability.  I am in many school districts all over the state of Ohio and so I hear comments that I find shocking, frustrating, and down right sad.  When this happens I tend to write a blog post to enlighten others to the reality of what is going on. 

Today, I wrote a different blog post for one of the other things that I volunteer my time to- Decoding Dyslexia Ohio.  I have started a new blog so people with dyslexia can share their own stories & the stories of what it is like to be a parent of a child with dyslexia.  Please feel free to email me if you are interested in sharing a story at  

Here's my first blog post which is all about ME!  So please check it out and share it with others so I can start posting the stories of others.  If you do not have dyslexia and want to share your story please email me ( that information too because I am willing to share it here on a future Feature Friday post!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Words from Parents and Dragonflies Wednesday - Stories about the impact of one teacher

For Words from Parents and Dragonflies Wednesday I will be sharing information about teachers who impacted the lives of students. 

As a teacher you may have an idea of what life is like for your students but you probably have no idea what is really happening in their private life.   

The student may be performing poorly for a variety of reasons without your knowledge.  

  • The student may have a learning disability which makes learning VERY hard and therefore they may avoid all types of academic work.  
  • The student may have an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol because they got caught up with the wrong group of kids.  
  • The student may have one or both parents addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.  
  • The student may come from a family that is on the verge of bankruptcy or eviction and therefore the student may have to work long hours on just has to live with the stress of never having enough money.
  • The student may be living in a physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abusive environment.
  • The student may have a family member that is sick (cancer, depression, MS...).

As a teacher you really don't know exactly what the student is dealing with outside of your classroom, especially if the student appears to have a "perfect" home environment.  If you assume that a student is NOT participating or studying because they are LAZY you are wrong.  Students avoid the work for a reason- it's hard, they are overwhelmed, they have more pressing things on their minds, they don't see the value in academic work, or they are experiencing so much shame trying hide what is really happening in their lives. 

The list above are just some of the reasons why students may not be performing up to their potential in school.  Most of the time it takes just one teacher to make a positive impact on the life of a student.  This one teacher can help the student know they are valued and worth saving.  This teacher can see beyond the bad grades and poor performances and make sure the student does not fail. Here is a clip from one of my favorite movies: Freedom Writers that shows what it would be like to have a teacher care.  Think how this interaction from one teacher could change the life of a student no matter what they were dealing with in his/her personal life.  I pray we have more teachers like this and less teachers who shame, blame, and assume a student is LAZY!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

5 Qualities a parent appreciates in a teacher

Today for National Teacher Appreciation Day I wanted to touch on 5 qualities a parent appreciates in a teacher. 

There is nothing better than a teacher that really cares for your child because all parents want their child to learn with their self-esteem intact.   

I often here these comments from parents of children with special needs when they talk about what they appreciate about their child's teacher.

To my child's teacher - Thank you for...

  • Never giving up on my child.  Learning is not easy for my child and he can give up quickly but you have always been there to encourage him and motivate him to persevere.   
  • Leaning about my child's disabilities.  I can't tell you how much it means to me that you are willing to spend your extra time researching the most current information about my child's disabilities so you can empathize and teach her based on her own individual needs!
  • Having the courage to stand up for my child.  Because of my child's disabilities he cannot advocate for himself and needs adults around him to be his voice.  
  • Not letting my child fail.  My child's brain does not process learning like the brains of other children and it takes her much longer to learn.  Thanks so much for being patient with her and using all your tricks and techniques to assure that she is learning the curriculum.
  • Communicating with me!  I love my child and want him to learn and be successful.  I cannot be at school with him to know what he is learning and what he is not learning so thanks for keeping me informed.  There is nothing worse for a parent than thinking your child is fine and learning only to discover that they have been failing for weeks and you didn't know.  Those are weeks that are now lost and causes me, as a parent, to panic. Thanks for keeping me updated.  It makes me feel more secure.
Teachers have a lot of impact on the lives of our children so I'd like to leave you with a video and some pictures I posted today on all the different Facebook pages I admin.

This video I posted on my Forest Alliance Coaching FB page is a collection of clips from the Movie "Temple Grandin." Temple is a hero of mine and someone you should know no matter what disability you and/or your child has!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Motivational Monday - Asking for help

I have been struggling over the past few year.  Some how things seem to be getting worse and I'm hoping that they will eventually get better.

I have been working hard asking for help from others. Not just my normal, "hey, when you get a chance would you mind doing..." or "if you can will would you help me with..."  These ways are actually me minimizing the importance of my needs.

I am a giver and have always helped others at the drop of a hat, but it has never been easy for ME to ask for help.  I knew that one of the reasons I don't ask for help was because I felt it would be very hypocritical.  Here I am a "helper" of others and I need help. That's like the professional organizer's home is a disaster and she is actually a closet hoarder but she goes into the homes of others and helps get them organized and cleaned up.  If I need help then who am I to be the one providing help.

I learned from Brene Brown's work that if I cannot ask for help without self-judgement then I am actually judging others when I am helping them.  This was a slap in the face for me to digest this concept because judging another person goes against my moral and ethical codes.  Sadly, she is so right - watch this short clip to see this discussion between Brene and Oprah:  

So what do I do when I learn that I've been "doing it wrong?"  I work on making changes to become a better person.  Remember I really do live my life by only being in competition with myself and no one else so I want to be the best I can be even if that means admitting I've been wrong.  

I have now been able to define the box I was living in - judging myself and others in relation to asking for help.  With my box defined I needed to step outside of this box and become better and stronger.  Being outside of my box is being outside of my comfort zone but needed.

One might think all that is needed to change is self-awareness and some actions but change isn't about just me it is about others around me as well.  For example, I have been asking for help more then I ever had from the school - teachers, administrators, and so on...  I never new that just asking for help wouldn't be enough.  I discovered that others in the world are NOT like me and they do not jump at the chance to help someone in need.  I discovered that most people are judging others who ask for help (wow there sure are a lot of people judging themselves in a negative way too). These were shocking because when I see a person or even an animal in need I run to help, I jump right in and see what I can to, and I genuinely care about making life better for others.  

I will not go into all the details but I can assure you that you would be shocked to learn what happens when I ask (via face-to-face conversations & emails) for some help for my children.  It is assumed that people in education are in the profession because they care about children learning but that is not always the case when a parent asks for help (well, at least when I ask for help).

I'll admit these experiences have brought me to my knees many times and I have had many sleepless nights because of the tears and feelings of fear, anxiety, and total even panic!   I continue to ask for help the best way I know how but it has been a trying process with more lessons I care to learn.   I'll be frank the pain of asking for help for your child makes a parent feel powerless and sometimes hopeless.  It hurts to know that I have asked, begged, pleaded, and groveled so far outside my box that I now feel shame.  

I don't want to feel shame.  I should not be feeling shame about asking for help; I should be feeling proud of myself for going outside the box. I should be proud that I am a parent who is willing to go above and beyond to help her children and most of the time I am but I don't feel this way after I ask for help and receive little to no support.  When I ask for help and nothing changes, I ask for help again a few months later (stronger this time) and then still nothing changes.  Now, after many months of throwing myself out there taking risks, pleading for help, and still nothing changed. Well, I'm sure one thing changed - I am more negatively judged by all those I've been asking to help me and my children.  

If I were not being judged in a negative way (and my children) then those I've begged to help us would have actually provided assistance. Things would have changed.  My children would be learning exactly what they needed to learn and the teachers would be teaching it to them in a way so they can learn.  Administrators would be stepping up to assure that no child is failing, no child is bullied, and no child is excluded but these things have not changed and the adults in the situations have not performed their job duties. So, I am left wondering why ask for help if help will never even be given.  

I wonder this every day.  I wonder if I should take all the years of documents I have (emails, notes, IEP's, journal entries...) and go ahead an pay the attorney's retainer fee so I can ask for help from the courts.  Although I have had meetings with the special ed lawyer over the years I have never wanted to ask for help from high levels of the educational and legal systems until now.  I always believed that schools would just do the right things so there would be no need to go above the school district but now I regret this line of thinking.  I've wasted years by asking for help from the school at the school level.  So my lesson I have learned here is once help is asked for explicitly and directly and there is no evidence of this help after 9 weeks it is time to move up to high levels to ask for help.  I want to help other parents by not making my mistakes because our children really do matter!  

All children matter!  Know it is okay to ask for help but also know it is okay to ask for help from the Department of Education and the Legal system.  There is no shame in not being able to advocate for your children by yourself sometimes you need to ask for help. Stop judging yourself for asking for help!  Asking for help does NOT make you a bad parent or your child a bad or lazy child.  Asking for help is good and things are great when the person you ask help from has empathy and really does care so they actually do help.  This can happen but be prepared to go higher up in the chain of command if help is not occurring and don't stop until change really does happen because your children are worth it.