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, January 30, 2015

You deserve to be treated as an individual

You are unique so DO NOT settle for a "cookie cutter" program such as; education, training, counseling, or coaching.  You deserve to be treated as an individual because what works for one person may not work for you!!!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

You know your child best so don’t let others get you down.

When you have a child that learns or behaves differently than his/her peers know that you will be judged.  Don’t take it personal.  Does it feel personal?  Heck yea it feels personal.   It hurts!  Sometimes it will hurt so bad that you will perseverate on these negative judgments and these thoughts will make you depressed and ruin your day, week, or year. 
Since these judgments are about you and/or your child why is it not personal?  What you have to do is take a huge step back and look at the big picture.  The person who has made these judgmental statements does not live your life, they do not walk in your shoes, and you and/or your child make them uncomfortable. 
For example, say you email a teacher trying to help him/her understand how your child struggled understanding the homework or to give insight into a specific behavior at school because of your child’s disability.  When that teacher reads the email they feel responsible.  It is their JOB to educate these children.  They may also feel threatened if you have more knowledge about the disability and or teaching methodologies.  So when they are reading the email they are not doing so with the perspective of “oh, this parent has a concern, how can I help” but from a perspective of “eek this parent knows more than I do” or “I have no idea how to teach this child.”  The point is the teachers are the ones that are feeling judged, uncomfortable, or insecure and what happens when a person feels this way?  They lash out.  So this is why you end up with an email back telling you how your child isn’t doing the work, doesn’t show effort, or needs to control their behavior.  More or less you will receive a blame email.
So if you receive an email from someone and you get the impression that they are defending themselves, you are probably right.  Attacking/blaming you or your child either overtly or covertly is more about them then it is about you.  It is a clear message saying that they are uncomfortable, insecure, or feel threatened for some reason so they are defending themselves.  It is their issue not yours!
The key is to remember that you know your child best and you need to not let other prevent you from advocating and supporting your child!  Keep up the good work!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Things that make you think!

Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation
If you don’t know Dan Pink you should!!  Here is Dan talking about motivation.  If we could only get managers and teachers to really understand motivation!   Yes, it is 18 min long but well worth every minute! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dr. King's legacy regarding discrimination in education

I have re-posted this from 8/13/2013 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - a day to celebrate him (Jan 19, 2015)  
Parents often tell me that they just want their child to be given the same opportunities as all other children.  So the post today-- Words from Parents and Dragonflies Wednesday will take a slightly different turn in honor of the 50 anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech. 

Dr. King gave a powerful and significant speech regarding the importance of race equality.  He stated, “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.   This note was a promise that all men, yes black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.” 

Racial equality has come a long way since these words were spoken 50 years ago.  Thanks to Dr. King I reaped the benefits of growing up in a very diverse community.  I am a proud alumni of the Columbus City schools in Columbus, Ohio where I formed bonds we friends of all different races, ethnic backgrounds, and religions.  Even attending college at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio I was fortunate to have racially diverse roommates.  I was also blessed with accepting parents who embraced all of my friends (and boyfriends) equally with no judgments regarding race, religious beliefs, or backgrounds.   I learned to see the beauty in a person for who they are, not for the color of their skin.  This is a code I live by and how I am raising my three wonderful multi-racial children (my husband is Asian).   I have been privileged to live this rich diverse life because Dr. King brought to the attention of the world how equality is not based on the color of a person’s skin.   

Because I live this diverse life, I am well aware that we still have a long way to go in regards to race relations.  My experiences in my life have allowed me the ability to see the world through a variety of different perspectives so I can see discrimination still exists.   I could continue, regarding ways I see racial discrimination today in 2013 but I’d like to bring to your focus another type of discrimination that is just as important.

This is disability discrimination, especially in our school systems.   Our educational systems are failing our students at an alarming rate.  Students are NOT receiving Free and Appropriate Educations (FAPE) based on how they learn.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy 19% of high school graduates can’t read.  Ummm these are the students who actually graduated think about the 20-38% who do NOT graduate (2013 national graduation rates of 80% of white to 62% of blacks).  Why are we failing to teach these kids how to read? 

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 attempted to improve reading through the Reading First provisions, to close the test scores between ethnic minorities and mainstream “white” students.  If you want evidence that this didn’t work just look at the statistics again in the last paragraph!  One reason students in the United States are not learning to read is because many students are still being taught via a “whole language” approach to reading.   Unfortunately, students with language based learning disabilities such as, dyslexia will not learn via a whole language approach.  Since one-in-five is a person with dyslexia, many students are not being taught appropriately.  The National Reading Panel (2000), recommends explicit, systematic, phonics, evidence-based reading programs for all students and these programs ARE conducive to students with dyslexia.  Some whole language supports have put the failure to read blame on; the challenges ethnic minorities face (race), students in low economic areas, and lack of motivation to learn.   So what is actually happening here is discrimination.   Often parents have to work very hard to advocate for their child to receive reading programs that are recommended by the National Reading Panel and are evidence based.  At times, school districts have flat out refused to provide these students with an appropriate education – that is discrimination.   Instead of blaming race and poverty on failure to read school districts (and the general population) needs to have a better understanding of dyslexia.  The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity Center created the Multicultural Dyslexia Awareness Initiative (MDAI) for just this reason – go here to check it out:Multicultural Dyslexia Awareness Initiative Yale

Furthermore, students who do not fit in with the “mainstream” environment are often discriminated against.  If a student needs extra support because they are on the autism spectrum a school district may exclude these students from some of the educational opportunities and activities offered to their non-disabled peers.  If a student is physically disabled, blind, or deaf, they too may be excluded from these events.  Instead of working to assure these students are included and made to feel valued some school districts have allowed these students to be left in the classroom during assemblies or they are not permitted to attend field trips.  This is discrimination.  Oh, the school district may try to say they are doing this for the child’s sake (safety, embarrassment, or even emotional distress…) but this is not in the best interest of the student.  Students need to feel they belong and are accepted.  Including the student and making appropriate accommodations teaches empathy to the other students as well.  It teaches the other students that we should include others and not judge them based on a learning difference or disability. 

Some students need extra support during the day by attending resource rooms, intervention centers, or individual tutoring.  It is discrimination when these students are excluded from the curriculum offered to all the mainstream students.  School districts will tell parents that their child cannot take a specific elective because the child’s schedule will not allow it to fit since the child has to receive academic support.  Parents often accept this excuse but it is really just discrimination.  The child is being excluded because they have a disability that requires extra learning support.  Some parents have been willing to bring their child in early or even stay after school so the child can receive the extra support they need and yet still attend the same elective classes like their peers, but most of the school districts refuse this option.  Teachers have a set schedule and many refuse to work longer hours (plus school districts don’t want to pay a person to provide this support before or after school either).  Now, do not think that I am anti-teacher because I am not.  I do understand their job stressors and know that it is very difficult to teach a large number of students on a daily basis.  I blame the system not the individual teacher! 

I am anti-discrimination!

So instead of pointing out other ways students, who are disabled or learn differently are discriminated against in school districts I’ll end on my own version of “I have a dream.”   

I have a dream that one day all students will be educated appropriately based on their own needs.

I have a dream that every child will be included and accepted by their peers. 
I have a dream that one day that all school districts will openly embrace parents who are advocating for their child instead of oppressing them.

I have a dream that students will be taught phonics so they will be able to know how to decode any word and not have to rely on sight memory alone.

I have a dream that that one day school districts will not blame race or income as the reason a student is not achieving and focus on ways to just help those students achieve.

I have a dream that my children and grandchildren will one day live in a nation where they are not judged by their grades or test scores but by their compassion and empathy. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why a Dragonfly?

I am often ask – Why refer to people who are different as a Dragonfly.  So here’s why:

Dragonflies are often misunderstood, undervalued, and labeled as wrong, bad, or evil.  They have been given names such as devil’s darning needle, ear sewer, horse stinger, skeeter hawk, and the snake’s servant. 

Many people dislike Dragonflies or even fear them; mainly because they have never taken the chance to see the gifts Dragonflies provide the world.  Dragonflies are beneficial, peaceful, and stunning.   Dragonflies do not bite you or harm you in any way.  If you actually look at a Dragonfly you will see the Dragonflies reveal iridescence – the ability to show itself in different colors depending on the angle and polarization of light falling on it~~ making the Dragonfly breathtaking. 

You are a Dragonfly if you are different because you have some type of disability, disorder, or difference.   You know if you are a Dragonfly because you will feel that you just don’t “fit-in” with what main-stream finds acceptable.  Some Dragonflies are obvious because they have physical disabilities that can be seen but many Dragonflies have hidden disabilities/disorders such as ADHD/ADD, Anxiety, Asperger's, Autism, Depression, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Nonverbal Learning Disability, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Twice Exceptional (gifted but has a disability).

Finally, the Dragonfly symbolizes change – self-realization!  So this is why The Dragonfly Forest was created – as a place where Dragonflies can come to for motivation, inspiration, education, and be accepted as a Dragonfly!   

I try to keep my blog posts short and to the point (I know many of you Dragonflies don’t like to read long posts or lose interest if a video is longer than 15 – 20 minutes).  Please stop by and visit The Dragonfly Forest often and share this with your other Dragonfly friends!  

By the way I also have a Facebook page for The Dragonfly Forest, a business FB page for Forest Alliance Coaching, and a FB page for dyslexia Decoding Dyslexia Ohio, Decoding Dyslexia OH Family Support and Decoding Dyslexia Oh Homeschool Support ~~~  Go show your Dragonfly spirit and like these Facebook pages!!! 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Spiritual Sunday - You can only depend on yourself!

One of the most painful things that can happen is when you are hurting and/or things in your life are completely falling apart and no one is around to help.  

Sometimes people are just too caught up in their own lives to notice and other times they notice but don't want to be bothered.  Still, there are some people who just don't know how to help.  

What we need to learn to be is our own best friend.  You should always be there for yourself and yes, it is sometimes lonely.  As humans we have a part of us that wants connections.  So, connect with yourself.  Get to know who you are and embrace your unique qualities.  Be your own cheerleader because sometimes you will be your only cheerleader!  

Life is tough and when it comes down to it you are the only person who will be with you for your entire life so support yourself! 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cartoon Saturday - Crazy cold and snow

I've been very busy this last week this cartoon may give you a clue as to what's up in my life~

Monday, January 5, 2015

How to be happy- Motivational Monday!

There are billions of people in the world so you can't expect that everyone will like you.  What we often don't understand is when a person doesn't like you it is actually a mirror reflection of their own issues. You behave and the other person interprets the behaviors and then reacts based on their own perceptions.  

People with integrity will still treat you with respect even if they do not like you.  If a person treats you with disrespect than they are the one showing their true colors - which are not pretty.  

Do not be tempted to be disrespectful in return.  I often hear people say "but they started it," or "I'm just giving them what they gave me."   This is childish and immature.  You are the one who is compromising your integrity.  You are allowing the other person to "get to you."  

Be the better person even if you are the only one who knows YOU are better.  This is being true to yourself.  By not lowering your standards and you are being a good quality person with integrity. The other person is the one that is the bad person.  Now, think about it... Do you really care if a bad person likes you or not?  I hope not because YOU are better than that!  

Let the bad person be a bad person but don't be negative or bad in return.  Continue to be your good positive self and the world will be a happier place.  Remember negative begets negative.  Also remember that Karma will happen~ it always does although you may not be around to see it ~ just know they will not have a good happy life.  Your success and happiness will be the best revenge. So if they start disliking you more - you are being the better person and that is irritating them that they can't make you like them (bad) or control you.  Ahh the sweet success of living with integrity! 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The best way to be happy - Spiritual Sunday!

Today is the first "Spiritual Sunday" in 2015!  For this Sunday I would like to discuss happiness.  We often think that if we are a certain weight, have a bigger house, better job... we would be happy.  We also think to be problem free would be to be happy but all these are not what makes a person happy.  We will always have problems, that's just part of life, so we need to know how to handle the problems when they come.  When we have problems we can't handle that is when we become stressed.  This year pay attention to all the problems you have and think about how you are solving these problems.  You will than have a nice collection of ways to solve problems.  When you are able to solve problems you will be happier!