TECA Provides Parents of 2e Children with Resources, Community and
Tools for Empowerment
Since joining TECA in 2014, Mara has worked to expand the grassroots organization into a vibrant online resource and community for parents of twice exceptional (2e) children. As the mother of a 2e child, she experienced first-hand both the scarcity of resources and information available to help parents raise these uniquely challenging children and the sense of isolation that comes from having a differently wired child. After years of struggling to put together a team of knowledgeable educators, related service providers and mental health professionals to help her son thrive, she became determined to help other families by providing them with empathy, validation and information.
Realizing that 2e children come from disparate communities across the country and socio-economic spectrum, Mara has worked to create numerous web-based programs and resources that are easily accessible to families, including online parent support groups and workshops, a nationwide database of professionals experienced with twice exceptionality and a weekly newsletter aggregating articles relevant to the 2e community. TECA also holds an annual Building 2e Awareness & Community conference, which brings together parents, educators, medical and mental health professionals, advocates and other experts to provide families with a full day of workshops and tools they can put to use immediately.
Before joining TECA, Mara spent her most of professional life as a development consultant working for numerous local, national and international organizations addressing such issues as human rights, education, mental health, social justice, medical research, leadership development and the arts. Mara received her BA in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and amazing teenaged daughter and son.
Melissa Sornik is the co-founder and president of Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy and has been working with gifted and twice exceptional (2e) children and their families since 2003.
A licensed clinician, Melissa earned her masters degree in social work from Fordham University with a specialization in children and families. She has developed programs for 2e children and adolescents, facilitated professional development sessions for the Achilles Project for 2e college students at Nassau Community College, has authored several articles on the subject of twice exceptionality, and has conducted lectures and parent workshops at local school districts and national conferences.
Melissa has served on district and county SEPTA (Special Education Parent Teacher Association) boards and is a member of the Long Island Progressive Education Alliance. She has been a parent education workshop facilitator for Ramapo Training, conducting workshops focused on behavior management, social skills and relationship building for children with ASD and other special needs, and facilitates professional development workshops for Ramapo staff.
Melissa is a SENG SMPG certified parent support group facilitator. She is an adjunct professor at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY where she teaches undergraduate social work students a systems approach to working with children with special needs and their families. Melissa is also the former director for admissions and outreach at a private school for gifted and twice exceptional students. She resides in Sea Cliff, New York where she maintains her private practice. Melissa has raised her own twice exceptional child.