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About Teca2018-01-12T14:57:07+00:00


TECA Provides Parents of 2e Children with Resources, Community and
Tools for Empowerment 

Mission Statement

Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy, Inc. (TECA) was founded in 2003 by a group of parents seeking to identify, support and unite twice exceptional (2e) students and their families. Twice exceptional students are those who are gifted with some form of disability or learning challenge.

TECA’s mission is to help parents understand what twice exceptionality is and help them identify whether their children are 2e. TECA assists parents in finding and advocating for the education and resources their children require. TECA provides a strong, vibrant, accepting community for 2e children and their families.

TECA seeks to provide parents, educators and professional care providers with research-based information to help them understand and provide appropriate interventions for the social, emotional and academic support of twice exceptional students.

At TECA, we believe that 2e students and their families deserve to have a community that understands and supports them. We believe that every 2e child deserves a rich academic experience AND the educational, social and emotional supports they need to flourish. We believe that parents of 2e children should be able to work collaboratively with their child’s school to develop an appropriate education plan for their child.



TECA is the primary online destination for parents of 2e children looking for a community of peers, resources, information and support.

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2e Services Directory

Raising a 2e child presents a unique set of challenges that many parents don’t expect and many schools and professionals are not trained to recognize or support.

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Although many issues can be addressed and resolved between parents and school personnel, sometimes outside intervention is necessary.

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About Us

Maratea Cantarella

          Maratea Cantarella
          Executive Director 

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
          Founder & President

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.

Click here to learn about our Board of Directors, Advisors and Site Contributors