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For All Abilities

Jun 22, 2020

For All Abilities – The Podcast: ADHD and Creativity with Julia D’Ambrosi  


In this episode, I interview Julia D’Ambrosi. We discuss the challenges and the benefits of her diagnosis of ADHD. Julia and I attended the same small, liberal arts college and we talk about the challenges she faced in college. We also discuss how she has navigated work with the diagnosis. Julia is a very creative art teacher and she has a YouTube channnel where she teaches children and adults how to complete fun art projects at home. 

To connect with Julia, please go to her YouTube channel ,follow her on LinkedIn (Julia D’Ambrosi) and on Facebook at  artpoet paintings  and @creativityjulia on Twitter. 


Please subscribe to For All Abilities – The Podcast!

Please follow me on Instagram @forallabilities, LinkedIn (Betsy Furler) and on Facebook (For All Abilities). Go to our website for information on our software that enables employers to support their employees with ADHD, Dyslexia, Learning Differences and Autism.

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Betsy Furler  0:06  

Hi, everybody, welcome back to the for all abilities Podcast. I am so excited to be back with another special guest. And again, this podcast is all about showing the world the amazing things that people who have brains who work a little bit differently than what we consider the norm are doing for our world. So as you listen to this podcast, please also share it rate review, subscribe, you can do that on the podcast platform that you're listening to it to this on. And please go back and listen to my past episodes I should have by the time this episode airs I should have about 25 out there. And also you can feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at Betsy walling Furler. It's f you are LR and you can also find out more about this topic. software and consulting services that I offer to employers to help them support their employees with ADHD dyslexia learning differences in autism. Get find out that information at www dot for all abilities calm. So without further ado, let's welcome our guest today, Julia. Hi Julia, can you please introduce yourself to my audience?


Julie DAmbrosi  1:24  

Hi. I'm nice to get to be here. I'm really excited about this. I'm always passionate about learning differences. I am Julia D and Rosie major. I grew up as Julia de ambrozy but now I'm Julia major.


And I have a strong background


in theater. But now I'm a visual art teacher for elementary school in the District of Columbia, DC public schools called Horace Mann elementary school, and I have been teaching art for three years and I absolutely love it. I also during this pandemic have recently started my own YouTube channel called creativity time with Julia major. And it's focused on art lessons that emphasize creativity basically really open ended art projects and art ideas that can be used by both kids and adults rather than just cookie cutter crafts.


Betsy Furler  2:23  

Yes, and there are so much fun. I've watched some of your videos, and I just love them. And I found Julia because we both went to Austin college up in Sherman, Texas. And we're going to talk a little bit about our experiences up there and a little, you know, a little bit further into the interview. But I found Julia through our amazing alumni page, our college is tiny, and I think over 25% of living alumni are on the Facebook group together. And that's been really fun. So I'm so glad I found you over there as well. Yes, it is a really


Julie DAmbrosi  3:02  

vibrant community of people from Austin College in DC to considering how small the school is. So that's kind of fun.


Betsy Furler  3:08  

Oh, wow. That's amazing. That's a Yeah, I love getting together with my Austin college friends. I was with one of my sorority sisters yesterday, actually. So, I'm glad to meet you and I'm so happy you're on the show. And I always ask my guests First off, what were you like when you were a little girl? So can you tell us a little bit about your childhood?


Julie DAmbrosi  3:32  

Absolutely. Um, sometimes I think about you know, people ask that question of like, what would be adult version of you feel like if they met the kid version of you. And I think that I grow closer and closer to the kid version of me with every day.


There might have been a little part where who's different,


but I'm very similar to the kid version of me. She like all the same things. I was diagnosed around I think age nine with ADHD sometimes they would say non hyperactive type sometimes they would say combined type and I know the DSM on that and all that has changed from time to time. But basically mainly inattentive ABB and I repeated first grade. Which is another thing that I have reflected on a lot. Because the funny thing is, I think a lot of what first grade involved I would still be not very great at um, and my strengths are creative thinking and engaging with other people and connecting and I'm not necessarily the strongest person that quickly tying shoes or things like that hood first grade really values


Betsy Furler  4:48  

and first grade is a lot about sitting in the desk or sitting at circle time on a rug in your spot and absolutely not moving a lot of paradeen and not a lot of


Julie DAmbrosi  5:00  

Being more in depth. I also joke that as I've gotten older, the very things that got me in trouble when I was younger in terms of answering questions are the things that they love when you get older in graduate school, they're like, don't just answer the question, dig deeper, dig deeper. And that was the sort of thing that got you in trouble in first grade. Not that I had. I actually have an absolutely remarkable teacher in pre K, kindergarten, first grade, I had her for all three years. And then I repeated first grade and she actually because she respected kids so much asked me Do I want to have her as a teacher again, and I won an adventure. So I saw another teacher, but to this day, she's one of the best teachers I ever had. But just the system of schools in first grade is really a lot about handwriting and rote tasks. And I also have dysgraphia. So handwriting was a real struggle for me. And I mean, that is one big difference between me as a kid and now I was really late to read I severely struggled with reading it was a big part of why I repeated first grade. And now I read in the 99th percentile almost any time when I've been tested on anything for reading and I absolutely love reading.


Betsy Furler  6:14  

Wow, yeah, I, I was a very good student. And very I'm a kind of am in, you know, kind of kind of in that imaginary box of norm. And I did very well in school because I was very obedient and I was quiet and I didn't get distracted and I followed the rules and a lot of that I've had to unlearn actually as an adult, because those skills that are really serve you well, when you're in first grade, don't serve you so well when you're an entrepreneur. So I've had to unlearn so much of that. As I've grown up.


Julie DAmbrosi  6:55  

Absolutely. I think that's also something that a lot of women in general feel with With sort of das idleness I was not I was not a kid who really got in trouble for squirming or, you know, talking out of hand. I mean, maybe a little bit like you suck here I'm a little overeager, but in general, I didn't get in trouble in school. Um, I my struggles were with homework and things like that, in fact, actually growing up a moment that really shocked me. I can't remember what grade I was in, but I was in seventh grade and the kid said, I bet you've never had a bee in your whole life. And what they meant, you know, they thought I was a straight A student, they thought I was top of the class and they didn't realize that I was a kid who frequently got you know, B's and C's and work really hard for them. Um, I also got quite a few days to but I was never a straight A student. And I was never someone that school came easily to me even though I often was someone that teachers really respected. I even had an AP history teacher in high school. who looked at I think I had like a C plus I think I eventually brought it up to like a B plus. But he looked at my grade and said he had no idea how I had that low grade. He's like, you're one of the best smartest people in the class and you know, all this stuff. How was this your grade? Like? I don't, I don't know. You don't need all of them work tried. Um, so yeah, I've, I've Oh, I've always Um, there's a book called The twice exceptional child. And I think the fact even that I read it. I read it, maybe in high school, but I think probably like middle school, my parents would have books about learning differences and things on the shelves and I would find them and read them myself, which I think already sort of shows the precocious side of me, and I read it and it said, having one foot in ice and one foot in fire doesn't make you look warm. And I thought that was one of the best descriptions of how I felt as a kid. I had a lot of teachers who thought I wasn't trying hard enough because They saw me and they saw it was right. And they they just couldn't understand the inconsistencies in me.


Betsy Furler  9:07  

Right, right. Yeah, I think that happens so many so many times with with people who are, do have the TV thing going I know that my son is the same he has severe medical issues but he's also very exceptionally gifted. And so it's been it's it's interesting to navigate the school system, especially when you when you are a person who's like that and I also wanted to add that I think 100% of the people that I've interviewed for my podcast who have ADHD or a DD have mentioned the struggle with homework. I think it's a that is such a thread that runs through everybody. So what about high school? How did you do in high school, you said A little bit about AP obviously you were taking advanced classes.


Julie DAmbrosi  10:04  

Yes, I had and I had to fight to be in those again. It was just so funny that the extremes of things I scored high enough on a standardized test that we had to take that it they put me in like a john hopkins study where you took the LSAT when you were in fifth grade. But I scored low enough on the punctuation side of things that they wouldn't let me be in honors English when I was in school. And finally in middle school, they had an essay test that I did well enough on to allow me to be in honors English, which was a huge goal of mine was something I really wanted all my friends were an honors English, I was passionate reading, I wanted to be an honors English and they automatically assumed because they knew that I had add and learning differences that I shouldn't be an honors English. So they talked about there being a second teacher in my classroom and I broke into tears and my mom didn't understand what upset. And I said they're obviously you know, talking about a teacher who is an assistant for kids with needs. And my mom was like, I don't think so. And I was like, Yeah, they're not putting me in honors. And we looked at and we, we called and we spoke with the counselor. And sure enough, they were going to put me in non honors and she basically tried to intimidate me into not going into honors and AP English, and said, You know, like, well, it's basically your own funeral if you do this, and I said, I'm going to do it. Because the way I looked at it, I said, you know, they're all they're gonna have spelling and punctuation and both English is the difference is going to be how much Shakespeare right? And so sure enough, I did honors English and it wasn't easy for me. But um, I did really well and I had some amazing English teachers in high school and high school in general. I chose to go to um, it was not a charter schools, a traditional public school, but it was a school that you chose to go to my brother went to it school wasn't a magnet school either. It's a very weird thing called school of choice that I've never heard before since. But you had to get in by lottery. And people thought it was strange because my brother's school was very well respected that I want to go to this other school, but I went there and I was so lucky because the schedule let me take more classes. And it allowed me to take theater and allowed me to take visual art. And I really loved my high school was a very eccentric High School, but I loved it there. And I loved that people really smart, interesting. Well, it was actually really nice time. It's funny, because since then, almost every friend I've ever made, has said that high school is a terrible time almost every person I meet that seems to have similar personalities that high school is terrible, but high school is pretty nice. For me. It was much better than Elementary, which was really difficult. And also I heard in your one of your other podcasts, you said that every pretty much every person you've spoke to had an experience with a club or something being a lifesaver. theater was something I got into in fifth grade. And I cannot imagine my life without it. It was saving for me in so many ways. It gave me confidence when I had none. And it gave me a place where people treated me like I was smart. And I wasn't just you know how I did on homework. That was a lifesaver for me.


Betsy Furler  13:25  

I think it's so important for people to find their tribe.


Julie DAmbrosi  13:29  



Betsy Furler  13:31  

So our college we went to Austin college and Sherman, Texas, and you know, we always have to add the tagline. It's a small liberal arts college, and it's very far in North Texas, almost Oklahoma. And we're the kangaroos. So our college is a very academically challenging college. So I would love to hear how you how you decided on Austin college and then how that experience went for you. I know that in the preamble interview I had told you that when I was at Austin college, I'm a really good writer. That's kind of one of my strengths. But it was a lot of writing. I think it's, I can't wait to hear what you have to say about the amount of writing, reading and writing that you had to do there. So how did you choose AC?


Julie DAmbrosi  14:22  

Um, I had a second cousin who went there. And my mom is from Texas. And I was looking at the book colleges that change lives. And there were a lot of, sorry, a little bit of noise behind me.


There were


a lot of schools in that book that really interested me. And my mom kind of was just like, you know, you should look at the school too. And I wasn't that interested in it. But when I visited I was just so impressed by how intellectually passionate the people at the school were. And how diverse the school was in terms of people's interests. I wish it was more diverse in other ways, but that really spoke to me. And so that is what convinced me to go there.


Betsy Furler  15:13  

Awesome. So when she got there, and what? how did how did it go?


Julie DAmbrosi  15:20  

Um, it was a little rocky. Um, I wish I could say when better than it did. I made a lot of really great friends. I was in a sorority that I really enjoyed. Which sorority were you in? I was in Beta Sigma Chi, which I actually remember looking at my agenda when I first got to Austin college and laughing at their motto because I thought it was bogus. It was individuality. And that sounded like they were just making it up. But they really embody that a lot. And I really felt supported by them. So I'm grateful. I did it. I'm people are always shocked that I was in a sorority and I don't consider myself to fit a lot of the stereotypes of sorority. I'm sure many people in sororities and fraternities feel that way. But I think I probably wasn't ever cut out for like a big sorority. It was very small. When I joined I was the reason that they didn't go under basically, I was a freshman in my pledge class. Oh, wow. Another person who was a senior and another senior, um,


Betsy Furler  16:34  

but I was like patho. And for for all the listeners, which are probably, you know, 99.9% of them who don't understand Austin college. They're all local sororities and fraternities. And the Kappas were are the loud, the loud, purple people. I think I think our color perfectly represents us, but I think that's Data started the year I was a freshman or maybe the year before.


Julie DAmbrosi  17:05  

I started in 1987. But I'm not actually positive but close to that close to that year.


Betsy Furler  17:14  

So But yeah, I love the Greek system at Austin college because I think again, it kind of it gives you a tribe and it's so helpful for alumni events, and homecoming, you know, it's, it's so nice to go back. I'm super outgoing, but it's still really nice to go back and have a group that you belong to to go back to.


Julie DAmbrosi  17:40  

Yeah, for me it was really interesting that I like to think that I attracted a diverse group of people but in the sorority I there was probably a wide variety of people than any other group I've been in and it was really interesting to be part of a group that wasn't interest base. But yeah, I'm I met them at a poetry slam with I think says a lot about the sorority and a lot about me that was actually one of my favorite things at Austin college by far was the poetry slams. And I looking back I really wish that I had been more involved with the organization that man then I went to the meeting really early on my freshman year and didn't seem to click with them, but then went to the slams themselves. And it was one of the places that I felt most support and most treated like I was intelligent. I really loved it.


Um, I studied


Betsy Furler  18:29  



Julie DAmbrosi  18:30  

Yes, I was gonna say, Yeah, I studied Communication Arts, which they later changed. Like they changed the name as I was graduating to communication studies. But now it would be a theater major, it was theater emphasis then, but yes, that is what I studied. And I was in I had a theater scholarship, and I was in some plays. But I didn't get cast and very much which was hard for me because at that point, being in place had been a huge part of my life. Since I was in fifth grade believe in before that, um, but I'm kind of glad to because it gave me time for what I most valued at Austin college which was just sitting around the fireplace and having intellectual conversation with people. And I think if I had been both in plays and doing schoolwork, there's no way we would have had time for that.


Betsy Furler  19:24  

I think that's the same. I mean, I I still love talking to my friends from us in college, and I loved talking to them back when we were in school and both in and out of class rooms, the level of like, diversity in thought, but respect for other people's thoughts, whether they're the same as yours or different. was really, really amazing. Sam did some Tell me about academic workload.


Julie DAmbrosi  20:03  

Yeah. So I was gonna say in terms of going back to your question, um, I, it was really hard for me how much writing was it awesome college, I wouldn't say I'm a bad writer, I can be really strong writer. But writing is probably now I guess when it comes to differences between me as a kid and me now. Or, I guess more similarities. Writing is the hardest thing for me. And I think I've only really recently come to realize that that homework was such a struggle was because of writing just in general writing is very hard for me because I always have a million thoughts and when I write I get overwhelmed by those thoughts. It's just like having 10 writers in my head instead of one I always say I don't have writer's block. I have writer's slug. Um, so that was really difficult. And there was just so much fun. Writing required and it was very poor writing, I do much better when it's more informal writing and graded creative writing, even though I have some struggles with that as well. And sometimes I write amazing essays, but the level at which they consistently wanted you to be writing content and writing was hard. And also, to be honest, one thing that was strange that I fully never experienced before or sins was a bit of a creative burnout. Um, my, under. So my minor was in visual art. And it was really hard because I was being asked to write formal writing but also semi creative writing. Uh huh. I'm, um, there was no escape into something where you could just be like, you know, let me like I had friends who would like open their books, their query met and they were just studying something. I like never had anything to just study other than occasionally lines. So if you were feeling overwhelmed or feeling like you didn't have ideas that you just had to do it and keep coming up with ideas, also, I found out just a little info to everybody. Be wary of turpentine because secondhand turpentine was giving me a sort of artistic with RG. Oh, I didn't realize until we built the new art building, which they bought my senior year. And I thought I was in a bit of a painter slump. But actually, when I switch to the new building, I was just churning out paintings. And I think that was because of turpentine. I had to ask for special permission not to paint with oils because I knew that turpentine made me feel bad, but I didn't realize that was happening secondhand to I thought I was just tired or something. And but yeah, it was amazing. When I switched I was I had such productivity that somebody in my class that's like, what's in the water you're drinking and I was like, what's not in the water?


Betsy Furler  23:00  

So and I i wonder too because the the writing load when I was at we were at we were at Austin college a couple of decades apart but what but I don't think it's changed that much or changed in between the time so we were there about when I was there I my concentrations war, psychology and sociology and then I had enough religion credits that I would have had a minor had the school recognize minors and so obviously a heavy load of writing type classes but I mean I would consistently be have four to five research papers a week. And you know, these were, I don't know, six to seven to eight page long papers each, which is really when you think about it such a heavy load and I wonder if that also like suppressed your create tivity because you are constantly having to put out all of this written work. And I do think on a good note, as far as I'm concerned is I can knock out content like nobody's business for my businesses now because to me writing a, you know, a little LinkedIn article is like, I just knocked that out in about 10 minutes, because Austin college trained to me so well, to just produce written content.


Julie DAmbrosi  24:35  

Yes, I very much agree. I didn't have quite that load. But when I went to graduate school, I was absolutely floored, floored that people were complaining about the amount of research papers we had to write, because it was nothing compared to Austin college. And also just again, going back to that issue of what you're writing on Research Papers made sense in graduate school. And there were some crazy assignments in terms of lesson plans and things. But I was so excited to write a research paper on something that seemed like it needed a research paper, there was some really strange sort of do research about plays or playwrights or acting theorists, where it was really hard to find something that seemed concrete enough to write about in that sort of format on and again, like I said, being overwhelmed by possibilities. So it was really nice. Like, actually, I remember one of my easiest classes that Austin college was environmental science because even though it's a complicated issue, there was some some concrete things and I just, it's I'm a very creative person, but it's one of those things about the yin and yang of, I guess, needing some structure. I love open ended things but only if they're truly opening ended when something is like kind of sort of open ended, but you're being judged on it in a certain way. I often take a route. That's not what people wanted or expected. And that can be a blessing or a curse. So I think that happened in Austin college sometimes. But yes, I don't regret going there. And there's amazing people there. And I absolutely I loved Terry hoops in the anthropology department. He was phenomenal. And I think so good at adapting. Um, I really do think one thing I would change about Austin college I think writing is really important. But allowing, I believe in Universal Design for Learning and allowing more ways for people to express knowledge and just writing if you want to teach writing to teach writing, that's great. And everyone should learn it to some degree. But if that's the only way you're judging what people know, it is going to give an automatic advantage to people who are really great at writing and really create a deficit for anyone who's Not


Betsy Furler  27:00  

Right, right. So that, um, what do you think, with your ADHD and your dysgraphia? And how or what other kind of drawbacks Do you think they they gave during college and then what? What strengths Did you grow from it? It sounds like your creativity is really one of your major strengths and that I know a lot of people with ADHD who are extremely creative as well and really can think outside the box.


Julie DAmbrosi  27:38  

Yeah, um, I think Yeah, those strengths and weaknesses are really intertwined. It's


really hard to separate them from each other. I also always


talk about like, how I'm a paradox is one of the things I like to really refer to myself as, um, but I would say, just in general in academic settings, Strength and a weakness for me is that I'm, I really genuinely love learning. And I think there's a lot of great stuff out school. I'm not someone who wants to dig on school, I work as a teacher, I believe that you're working really hard. But a lot of school is set up for like the quickest, easiest answer. They say they want you to go deep, but they don't really write. And I really cared about stuff like I don't I don't know how to do things halfway. So if you ask me to research something, I'm gonna super research it. And if you ask me to reflect on something, I'm going to reflect about it till the cows come home. And so because of that I never had been capable of like just churning something out. I finally picked up that skill, a little bit on some things. But I remember in high school, I wrote this paper that this teacher absolutely loved and they will allow me to write a paper on any topic and I wrote it on Shakespeare, and she said, Do you know enough to write this paper and I said, I know enough to write it and not enough to get confused. And the funny thing is, by the time I got to college, I actually knew way more on Shakespeare and I knew enough to get confused. So yeah, so I think that's a struggle I've always had, and some organizational issues. I think the strengths that have come with it are creativity, like you said, and compassion. I have a really good memory from my childhood. And repeating first grade was really tough. It made me lose a lot of confidence in myself. And because of that, though, I have a huge amount of empathy for people, especially kids. I have a strong recollection of what it's like to be bullied. And I really value people's different opinions. I have since childhood since as far back as I can remember really love reading about people's learning differences, not just ABB, but those people on the autism spectrum, I was really into Helen Keller, I was into all that. Um, and I think respecting those people has not not only meant that I've had these gifts, but also I've been able to tap into other people's gifts, and see how they're shining in ways other people haven't. And I really like that.


Betsy Furler  30:20  

Yeah, that's awesome. I bet you're a wonderful teacher, for those kids in your class who don't think and work in the same way. That is we consider typical.


Julie DAmbrosi  30:32  

Yeah, it's really amazing to me how common a thread that is, among art teachers, when you ask our teachers, why their art teachers, a huge percentage of them will say that art was a safe haven for them, and that they wanted to be a part of a place that embrace kids for their differences instead of what made them the same. I'm paraphrasing a really common quotation. But yeah, I think that's really true. And I also Going back to your homework comment, I was really passionate about teaching a subject that didn't have homework now some art teachers do give homework but I'm very lucky to be at a school that doesn't require me to give homework and I just absolutely love the fact that kids view my classes can be instead of broccoli, you know, they forget some our teachers get mad that kids forget that artists academic and I try to talk to kids about how intellectual artists and how it can blow your brain and all those things. But at the end of the day, I love the fact that kids think that aren't the treat and not a chore.


Betsy Furler  31:38  

Yeah, that yeah, that is that is pretty cool.


Julie DAmbrosi  31:45  



Betsy Furler  31:46  

so you've you're in the you're teaching now and it sounds like you fell on you've again kind of found your your place and kind of your tribe. Did you ever did you have any accommodation ever had any accommodations either in college or grad school or in the workplace for your ADHD or dyslexia? I mean, your dysgraphia?


Julie DAmbrosi  32:08  

Um, yes, growing up, I was kind of a constant battle to keep those accommodations because there was that constant sense of like, you're smart, therefore you don't have this, therefore you don't need this. Um, but I had a lot of like, one of my biggest accommodations was being allowed to take tests on computers, because if I took them in handwriting, they would not have been able to read what I said. In fact, actually, I failed. I didn't actually fail but they said I failed the high school exit exam. At one point, it was a big deal. I wasn't going to be able to graduate and it's because they messed up and didn't see that my essay was typed and attached and not handwritten because I had accommodation to type it but whoever was grading it obviously missed that and just gave a zero for no entry. So we had to fight that. But that's, that's the biggest one. Sometimes I had combinations on homework. Often teachers were really, really locked in on that. And then I there was always this trend of teachers would sort of not want to provide a combination or they would provide a combinations but people locked in about things. So the beginning the year, come around to it at the end of the year, be very passionate about who I was and how I learned, and then try to tell the next teacher in the next teacher wouldn't really listen. That's, that's a bit unfair. I had some really amazing teachers and I understand the pressure features you're under. But yeah, I did have some accommodations for like extra time on tests or having tests beyond the computer, but the biggest thing I needed help with probably was homework. And there was like one time in my life when I had some sort of accommodation homework official one, I think, but normally that was really at the teacher Question and not much happens there. Right, right. Well, I


Betsy Furler  34:06  

bet I bet some of the teachers just forgot you had accommodations because you were so bright, and probably did great in class discussion. So they probably just totally forgot. And I think that happens a lot. Unfortunately, I think it ends up falling on the parents and the student to kind of continually remind and enforce the accommodations


Julie DAmbrosi  34:27  

very much so and it was an amazing advocate, luckily, and also I unfortunately, I hope this has gotten better. I think this has in some ways, but sometimes teachers would talk about, you know, the kid needs to be a self advocate, but really, I was a great self advocate. That was their way of shutting down someone that was littler that they couldn't, but this all sounds really negative. I really, most of my teachers were absolutely remarkable. I think that their hands were sort of tied by the system in some ways, more than it being them. I think Download that they had even as a kid I realized that. But yeah, my mom was a phenomenal advocate. And going back to the theater thing, I think one of the things that she was the best advocate for this only happened like once or twice, but I did have, like one or two teachers who said that I should stop doing plays because I didn't have enough time for homework when I was doing plays. And my mom basically said, Over my dead body, yeah, that that was what was giving me everything and giving me all my confidence. And also she pointed out interestingly, that I did better on my homework when I was in plays, because my problem was always overthinking. So typically, when I was in a show, my grades would go up, not down.


Betsy Furler  35:45  

That's interesting. And you probably I know, I know that. Some people do better under more pressure. So it's like they're, the more the more they're doing, the busier they are, the more structured they can get with their schedule. And then get things and then actually end up being much more productive.


Julie DAmbrosi  36:05  

Or that's a really


common thing with ADD. I didn't I don't necessarily consider myself someone in that category. I haven't. But I think it is just true to the fact that I will get started on it. It's not like I procrastinate, don't get started on it. But knowing I have to get it done in a short time period, knowing what that time period is, I only have 20 minutes to do this essay, or this math homework or whatnot. really did help me structure things.


Betsy Furler  36:34  

Yeah, and then and then we're thinking I'm sure it's huge, you know, if you have less time, you know, you can overthink as much and and that just automatically gets you finished faster somewhere else to put


Julie DAmbrosi  36:46  

my thoughts. I did much better on things in graduate school. But I did have one professor who didn't like my papers in graduate school. And one time I just realized that I thought that She made me thought they were over complicated. It took me a long time to


realize that, but


I finally realized it. And so just out of desperation one time, I wrote a paper for her at midnight and took like, 10 minutes on it compared to the many, many hours I normally Oh, and she loved it.


She thought it was, um, she was like the best paper. You know, this is great like


that. Write all your papers like this. I don't know what you did differently. And it's terrible. But I did. I told my husband, I was like, Oh, I just need to write the paper with half my brain. That's what right. But I had another teacher who I have put in all the dreams and ways that I normally think and they, they love that. So we all have our different styles and different things that we like, and I think that's another thing I've taken away from a DD is um, I really value subjectivity and recognizing the different things have different perspectives. And I'm pretty good. Sometimes it's hard for me at first, but I'm good at looking for someone else's perspective and catering to that perspective not changing who I am, but right. I mean that in very


Unknown Speaker  38:16  

figuring out what they want. Mm hmm.


Unknown Speaker  38:19  



Betsy Furler  38:21  

Well, awesome. Is there anything else you want to add?


Julie DAmbrosi  38:25  

I'm sure. I guess one thing that I'm really passionate on I would want to mention is I know there are parents out there who don't want to say that their kid has a disability or a learning difference because they think it's going to hold their kid back. And I think it only holds your kid back if that's what you think it is. You know, I growing up I got bullied a lot for having a DD and I got bullied for taking medicine for a DD and I got sort of accidentally bullied by a doctor. Sometimes who didn't want to acknowledge a DD was real because they said, You're smart. Therefore, you know, you can't say you have a DD because you shouldn't be putting limits on yourself. But it's just a tool. It's just a tool to help you figure out where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are. It doesn't mean that you can't achieve whatever you want to achieve. It provides you information. It's like a car, you know, you want to be the manual, like, right, right. If you want to adjust things and turn in a rocket or something and you want to do that, maybe you can, but reading the manual is gonna help you it's a starting place. And I think that there's still unfortunately a lot of people who would be the most phenomenal advocates for people with disabilities, because they believe that people with disabilities can do so much. But they have it in their heads that they can only do that by denying the struggle that people are having. And I think acknowledge Just struggle. Um, and also, I always need to remind myself of this teacher, because I forget sometimes, but very rarely should you say to the phrase to a child, try harder. One of the best lessons my mom ever taught me was to try smarter, not harder. And I think we should really emphasize that to kids. We should not assume that they're not trying because I think the vast majority of kids are trying too little hearts out. I do too.


Unknown Speaker  40:32  

I do too. And those are two really great points. And I think I was talking to somebody yesterday about the idea of presuming competence and really presuming that people are trying and


Betsy Furler  40:48  

that kids are trying and that I believe everyone on the earth wants to do well and succeed. And sometimes they get beaten down by what society has has done to them, and they start giving up. But I think in their heart of hearts, they really I think everyone wants to be successful. And if we can, if we can look at people's strengths and value those and build on those, rather than worrying about the weaknesses so much, I think that life is better for everyone.


Julie DAmbrosi  41:21  

Yes. And when a kid tries to explain to you what they're struggling with, you know, don't dismiss them as Don't make excuses. It's an opportunity to learn what barriers are in their way. It's them telling you that they want help moving those barriers or the ability to move the barriers themselves and they want to discuss it and think it out. But often that gets shut down. I think we're getting better on that in that educational system. I really do. I do. But it's something to continue to work on.


Betsy Furler  41:52  

Absolutely. So I know my audience is gonna want to connect with you and follow you. So tell us how We can keep in touch with you and then also the information about your YouTube channel please


Julie DAmbrosi  42:06  

sure um I am well i'm i'm at Horace Mann elementary school I don't have any I don't have any Twitter or anything like that. Um, but you can certainly I would love it if you subscribed to me at creativity time with Julia major. And I really do try to create lessons that incorporate universal design for learning. So they're good for kids of all different interested interests and all different ways of thinking. And they're not just cookie cutter so that I think my add really comes into the kind of lessons that I do as well.


Betsy Furler  42:45  

Yes, they're wonderful. So I will put that in the show notes. And I just want to thank you so much for being on the podcast today and for sharing your experiences and your in your knowledge with our with my audience.


Julie DAmbrosi  43:00  

was absolutely honored to be interviewed. I'm so happy that you're doing this because I do. I guess my one last thought I would say is, I do remember reading books as a kid of people with learning differences that succeeded. And I just, I mean, I clutched onto that like a lifesaver. And so I really hope that there are kids and parents who are watching or listening to all of your podcasts and seeing what their kids can do.


Betsy Furler  43:29  

Yes, well, thank you again and listeners. Thank you so much for tuning in today to for all abilities, the podcast, please rate review, subscribe on whatever podcast platform you're listening on. And please share this with your friends and colleagues. And I will talk to you all next week. Thanks so much for being here.


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