TECA Insights | Vol. 89 | April 9, 2019
View this email in your browser

Hi Folks,

I am having one of those days. It’s Tuesday, which means it is time to write my blog post. And for a while this morning, I procrastinated. And then I finally sat down and wrote about… procrastination! I have been thinking about it a lot lately, ever since I read the article from The New York Times that I shared with you last week.

So I wrote my post and then I saved and closed it. Or at least I thought I did. When I went to open it again, POOF, it was gone! Now, I didn’t panic because I know that documents don’t just disappear from your hard drive. It can actually take work to get rid of them.  So I searched and searched. Nothing. I called a friend with more computer skills than myself. She had a few suggestions so I tried those too, but alas, no post. Read the rest of the post at TECA2e.org.
I hope you enjoyed the rest of the post and that you have a super week!


Maratea Cantarella
TECA Executive Director

Identifying, Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers with Dyslexia

This is Part One of a five-part series about how to support and accommodate middle-schoolers, high-schoolers and adults with dyslexia.

I’ve had many older students confess to me that they would rather be thought of as defiant than stupid. Many students with undiagnosed dyslexia suffer from anxiety. Depending on the severity of their language challenges, the student may opt out of activities to avoid being put on the spot or placed under pressure to perform.

Seventy to 80% of people with poor reading skills likely have dyslexia. It’s the job of educators and administrators to find and support students who are struggling academically, no matter their age. There is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” speller. By accepting the “good” or “bad” speller idea, it absolves us from doing anything to improve the outcome. Read more at Smart Brief.

To read parts two and three of the series click the buttons below.
Click Here for Part Two
Click Here for Part Three

A Math Teacher’s Life Summed Up By The Gifted Students He Mentored

George Berzsenyi is a retired math professor living in Milwaukee County. Most people have never heard of him.

But Berzsenyi has had a remarkable impact on American science and mathematics. He has mentored thousands of high school students, including some who became among the best mathematicians and scientists in the country. Learn more from NPR.

You Are Not as Good at Kissing as You Think. But You Are Better at Dancing.

We overestimate and underestimate our abilities in weird ways. 

Do you think you are an above-average driver, as most people do? How do you compare with others as a parent? Are you better than most at dancing? Where do you rank in your capability to save humanity? Check out the rest of this article in The New York Times.


ReelAbilities Film Festival Features Movies by, About Those With Disabilities

New York City is home to plenty of film festivals, but the ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest of its kind in the entire country. 

For the 11th year in a row, this unique event will present movies for, by and about people facing a variety of mental and physical challenges. 

“The festival is for films that are by and about people with different disabilities of any kind across a spectrum,” organizer Isaac Zablocki said. “People ask me, ‘Is this a disability?’ ‘Is that a disability?’ And the answer is usually yes.” Read more at WABC.

Paul Orfalea: Life Lessons From an Unconventional Learner

I before e except after c. The k in knot is silent. Flip the letter b and it becomes d, while they look similar, they sound different.

“The English language and alphabet are complicated and unforgiving,” said Paul Orfalea. Read more at Noozhawk.

Test Prep to Get Into Vocational Education? Yup, It’s a Thing

New Jersey’s county-run career and technical high schools are helping to revive vocational education — but critics say some cherry-pick the best and the brightest

Jalal Abaza has a 3.9 GPA and loves fixing broken things. He’s a senior at Passaic County Technical Institute, a public high school in New Jersey that offers work-based learning programs in fields ranging from business and applied technology to construction and cosmetology. Abaza spends mornings in a classroom, studying automotive tech, and afternoons at a local BMW dealership, repairing cars and earning $10 an hour. Continue reading in the Hechinger Report.


Developing Tech for, and With, People With Disabilities 

Sixth annual Assistive Technologies Hackathon paired students with client co-designers to create innovative solutions to the everyday problems they face. 

Lora Brugnaro says to think of her like a Weeble toy that constantly wobbles then falls down. She has cerebral palsy, which severely impacts her balance, and for years she has used a walker to help her stay upright while moving around. Unfortunately, she has found that walkers available on the market are cheap, unstable, and prone to flipping on rough surfaces, leaving her sprawled out on the floor of an MBTA station or in the middle of the street. She had even started considering using a wheelchair to avoid such situations. Read more at MIT News.


Goldman Sachs Plans to Hire More Neurodiverse Employees, Including People on the Autism Spectrum

Goldman Sachs is the latest company to target job candidates on the autism spectrum as it looks to boost diversity.

The investment bank told employees on Tuesday that it’s launching an eight-week paid internship for individuals with work experience who identify as neurodiverse, which includes those with autism, dyslexia, ADHD, developmental disorders and other mental health conditions. Find out more at CNN.

Tech’s Long Hours Are Discriminatory and Counterproductive

One-third of workers are ill or disabled—and this industry is shutting them out
Whether you realize it or not, you are likely interacting with ill or disabled people regularly. According to recent survey data, a high portion of the U.S. workforce reports having a disability (30 percent), even though a much smaller percentage says they’ve self-identified as disabled to their employer (only 3.2 percent). Often, these illnesses and disabilities are impossible for others to observe, so many people choose to keep their conditions a secret from managers and co-workers to avoid discrimination. View the rest of this article at Medium.

Compassion-Based Strategies for Managing Classroom Behavior

When Grace Dearborn started her career teaching high school students, she felt confident about how to teach but unprepared for managing behavior in her classroom. During more challenging disciplinary moments with students, she used her angry voice with them, thinking that would work. Instead, on one occasion, an escalated situation led to a student following her around the classroom for 15 minutes while she was teaching until security could come to escort the student out of the class. Read more at KQED.

10 Surprising Ways Dyscalculia Impacts Kids

When kids have dyscalculia, it impacts how well they learn and do math in school. But having poor number sense and other math skills can also lead to all sorts of challenges in daily life.

For example, kids with dyscalculia may have trouble with amounts, time, distance, speed, counting, mental math, and remembering numbers. Those difficulties can show up in ways you might not expect or recognize as being related to math.

Here are 10 surprising ways dyscalculia can impact kids. View at Understood.

When Will K-12 Classrooms Scrap Those Age-Old, Rigid Desk-Chairs?

Remember that little desk/chair combo used by millions of students—and maybe even you—in school?

They’re still a mainstay in K-12, but there are rumblings that they’re on their way out. And good riddance, say some school leaders, educational furniture providers, and industry observers. Learn more at EdWeek. 

Can Mentorships Get More Girls Into STEM Subjects?

As Saneeya Khan looks around at her workplace, she doesn’t see many people who look like her. Khan works as a UX designer, and says her industry is male-dominated—a fact that hasn’t changed much since she switched over from graphic design for the new challenges and opportunities that UX presented. Read the full article from EdSurge.

School Counselor & Author Writing About A 2e Kid Needs Our Help Publishing
Aiden McGee Gets a Case of ‘The Actuallys’
Description: Aiden has a case of “The Actuallys,” and just can’t help but correct others on the most trivial of facts. Is it a turtle or a tortoise? Is a tomato a fruit? With every misspoken word, Aiden just has to interject, and often, it embarrasses the people around him. One day, someone gives him a piece of advice that could change everything… will he listen to the advice or keep up old habits?

Written by child and adolescent mental health counselor Aaron McGinley, this book helps parents of children with social skills challenges teach their kids how and when to share their in-depth knowledge.

TECA is happy to support Aaron’s Indeigogo campaign to get his book published and we hope you will too!

Shame and the Gifted:
The Squandering of Potential

Giftedness has a multiplicity of meanings depending upon which population or group one queries—from various clinical definitions to the differing identification criteria used in gifted education programs and the often-misguided societal perceptions of gifted people. The complexity which encompasses giftedness is tremendous and can be a detriment to gifted individuals. Read more at Crushing Tall Poppies.

That’s Not Autism: It’s Simply a Brainy, Introverted Boy
Autism spectrum diagnoses are up 78 percent in 10 years. We’re dramatically overdiagnosing it in everyday behavior

I have followed William in my therapy practice for close to a decade. His story is a prime example of the type of brainy, mentally gifted, single-minded, willful boys who often are falsely diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when they are assessed as young children. This unfortunate occurrence is partly due to defining autism as a “spectrum disorder,” incorporating mild and severe cases of problematic social communication and interaction, as well as restricted interests and behavior. Read more at Salon.

Gifted Kids Need Just as Much Attention as Special Needs Kids

The perception is that if a child is excelling they can be left alone.

When he was 18 months old, Lorenzo Spaccerelli’s pediatrician asked his mother, Kathrin, if he knew 10 or 12 words and she laughed because the boy knew hundreds.

Later, when he started at a preschool in their town, a suburb of Portland, Lorenzo thumbed through the few non-picture books in the classroom. The teacher tried to deflect him to the picture books, thinking they would be more helpful in spurring his reading skills. “We had to tell her to let him read whatever damn books he wanted,” Kathrin recalls. See the rest of this article from Tonic.

How Dabrowski Can Help Us Understand Our Supercharged Children

The exceptionally gifted child arrives in the world supercharged. We see it in the intensity of their eyes, and their remarkable ability to ingest stimuli from the world and transform it. We watch them metabolize data and stimuli and experience like fervent (and sometimes desperate) learning leviathans. At times, there is never enough. Read more from the Daimon Institute for the Highly Gifted.

Differentiating Curriculum for Gifted Students


Students who are gifted and talented are found in full-time self-contained classrooms, magnet schools, pull-out programs, resource rooms, regular classrooms, and every combination of these settings. No matter where they obtain their education, they need an appropriately differentiated curriculum designed to address their individual characteristics, needs, abilities, and interests. Learn more from the Davidson Institute.


Why Many Autistic Girls Are Overlooked

Many more boys than girls are diagnosed on the autism spectrum: more than four boys for every autistic girl, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control. Researchers point to genetic differences. But clinicians and researchers have also come to realize that many “higher functioning” autistic girls are simply missed. They’ve been termed the “lost girls” or “hiding in plain sight” because they’re overlooked or diagnosed late. They don’t fit the stereotypes or their symptoms are misinterpreted as something else. And they may be better at hiding the signs, at least when they’re young. Find the full article from Child Mind Institute. 

Do Sensory Processing Issues Get Better Over Time?

They may not disappear, but they usually become milder as kids mature, and learn to manage them

Fourteen-year-old James can remember back to when he was still in his stroller and became overwhelmed by loud, chaotic environments like malls and theme parks. “I sucked my thumb, curled up and ignored it,” he says. His mother, Trish, elaborates, explaining that he would hide and fall asleep: “The louder it was, the faster he would fall asleep.” Read more from Child Mind Institute.


“I Am That Kid Who No one Wants To Play With.”

I was more or less oblivious to my ADHD. Then third grade hit and, with it, a new school in a new state and kids who said I was annoying. If I could sit down and explain my brain to them, here is what I would say. View the full article at Additude.

What Happens When We Seek Status Instead of Goodness?

The college-admissions scandal reveals how far we’re willing to go in seeking status—but there’s a healthier alternative.

This month, more than a dozen wealthy parents will appear in a Boston federal court, accused of using a criminal “side door” to get their kids into prestigious schools. Among those on the U.S. attorney’s star-studded list of indictments are Lori Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky in Fuller House, and Felicity Huffman, a Desperate Housewives regular. These parents bribed coaches with hundreds of thousands of dollars, took fake recruiting photos, and had their kids cheat on tests, all to score admission to schools like Yale, Stanford, and the University of Southern California. Learn more from Greater Good Magazine.

Congratulations, Your High Achiever Has Classmates Who Have Disabilities!

On January 2012, NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott sent a strongly worded email  to the city’s competitive screened high schools, saying that they will be required to admit students with disabilities at a percentage equivalent to the percentage in their district or borough.

At the time, my child was in 2nd grade in a special education school, struggling to read and write and control his behavior. If there was a protest against these students from entering these high schools, it was of little importance to me. Little did I know that this decision would change my son’s life and put him on a corrected path to educational success after the system had failed him for so many years. Find out more from Medium.


How to Survive the After-School Witching Hour

He’s tired, grouchy, and hungry. His meds are wearing off and school just ended, so he’s headed your way! Quick, here’s how to stop your child’s meltdowns before they begin. See more at Attitude.

I Would Never Hit My Children

But sometimes I really, really want to.
Like many people of my generation and before, I was spanked as a child. I also got the belt a few times, and one of my mom’s favorite motivations to get me to quit being a sass/do my chores was to point to the yardstick she kept propped in a corner. The implication being, Do what I say or you’ll get flogged with this thing I also use to lovingly measure fabric for quilts and clothing. Read more at Medium.

Cedar Falls Dad, Son Giving Voice to Autism Issues Through Podcast

Chris Rouw has a lot of hands-on experience with the autism spectrum, thanks to his twin 17-year-old sons Noah and Isaac.

Both boys were diagnosed with autism at 22 months old. The condition has affected the fraternal twins differently, though. Find out more from The Courier.


‘Extinction Neurons’ Cause Fears to Return Unexpectedly
Neuroscientists have discovered a group of cells in the brain that cause frightening memories to re-emerge unexpectedly.

The finding could lead to new recommendations about when and how often doctors deploy certain therapies for the treatment of anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn more from Futurity.

To Grasp Metaphors, Our Brains Get Touchy-Feely 
New research clarifies how we understand metaphors—like “grasping” an idea—and how that process is rooted in our bodily experience.

Some functional MRI, or fMRI, brain imaging studies have indicated, for example, that when you hear a metaphor such as “she had a rough day,” regions of the brain associated with tactile experience activate. If you hear, “he’s so sweet,” areas associated with taste activate. And when you hear action verbs used in a metaphorical context, like “grasp a concept,” regions involved in motor perception and planning activate. View the full article from Futurity.

Soft Skills Training Preps Young Adults with Autism for Work
A training program helps young people with autism spectrum disorder build soft skills for the workplace, research shows.

Ninety percent of those with disabilities lose their jobs due to the lack of soft skills, cites Connie Sung, associate professor of rehabilitation counseling at Michigan State University’s College of Education in a paper in the journal Autism.

This is because most training focuses on teaching young children with ASD to interact with school peers and family. But that training doesn’t translate to the workplace, which is why Sung developed the Assistive Soft Skills and Employment Training program, or ASSET. Find out more from Futurity.


Hannah Gadsby on Autism and the Risk of Failing After ‘Nanette’

In the smash hit show “Nanette” — which discussed homophobia, abuse and rape — the Australian comic Hannah Gadsby declared she was quitting comedy. Now she’s back doing, yes, stand-up. Read more in The New York Times.

Chef’s Memoir Tackles What It’s Like To Be Young, Gifted And Black In Fine Dining

It was the morning after the election of America’s first black president, and Kwame Onwuachi was hungover. He’d been partying all night. He was dealing drugs to survive after he dropped out of college. He was, he says, lost.

But when he saw President Obama, something clicked. “I thought, I can do anything. And I immediately flushed everything that I had down the toilet and was like, I need to find myself,” Onwuachi recalls. Find out more from NPR.

U.S. Mathematician Becomes First Woman To Win the Abel, the ‘Nobel Prize’ for Mathematics

American mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck has become the first woman to win the Abel Prize — the “Nobel Prize” of mathematics! The 76-year-old professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin and visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton has made wide-ranging advances in mathematics that influence many sciences, including quantum physics and string theory, and pioneered a new field of mathematics called geometric analysis. “She did things nobody thought about doing, and after she did, she laid the foundations of a branch of mathematics,” says Sun-Yung Alice Chang, a Princeton mathematician who sat on the prize committee. Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel Committee, added that “her perspective has pervaded the field and led to some of the most dramatic advances in mathematics over the last 40 years.” Read more at A Mighty Girl.

Thanks for joining us again this week. We hope you enjoyed this edition of TECA Insights. Please let us know what you think.  If you come across an article or resource that you think our community would  benefit from, please share it with us. We look forward to hearing from you!