TECA Insights | Vol. 100 | August 13, 2019
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Hi Folks,

Welcome to fall!

Sometimes, if I am entirely honest, I have to admit that I like to create crises for myself. Maybe “like” isn’t the right word.  I do get a certain kind of payoff from it though.

I have a well-worn pattern. It starts when I need to do something I am afraid of because I don’t know how to do it correctly. (I can be a bit of a perfectionist.) Other times, I simply “forget” I need to do something. That might mean I don’t give myself a system for remembering to take care of the task, or I simply don’t do it. It’s not an entirely conscious decision. It’s more like a habit where, if I don’t know how I am going to accomplish something, I simply move on. Maybe I’ll remember to do it. Maybe I won’t. If I don’t, then it might become a problem that bites me in the butt later on down the road. Or, I might remember to address the issue just in the nick of time, before it becomes significant. I might lose sleep because I’ll obsess over it at night when I can’t do anything about it.  Read the full post at TECA2e.org.
I hope you enjoyed the rest of the post and that you have a great week!

Maratea Cantarella
TECA Executive Director

Early Bird Registration Ends Friday!

Caregivers May Use Family Medical Leave Time for IEP Meetings

In August, the U.S. Department of Labor released an opinion letter stating that parents and guardians would be allowed intermittent use of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to attend Individual Education Program (IEP) meetings with teachers, school administrators, and/or others involved in the planning of education services for their children with special needs. Read more at ADDitude.


Greta Thunberg is Right: Autism is Her Superpower. Those Who Mock Her Should Learn From Her

You’ve probably heard of Greta Thunberg by now. In case you haven’t, she’s a 16-year-old girl from Sweden who has become world-famous in little more than a year. In August of 2018, Thunberg launched a solitary school strike outside the Swedish Parliament building in Stockholm, standing there all by herself with a sign calling for urgent action against the climate crisis. From the beginning, her argument was both simple and compelling: The adults who are destroying the planet are forcing her generation to face an existential threat to human life and the natural world. Keep reading at Salon.

How to Help Students with Learning Disabilities Focus on Their Strengths

I sat across the table from Dawn, a wide-eyed eight-year-old girl in pigtails, bracing myself to tell her the news.

I have told students they have a learning disability hundreds of times over my 20 years as a school psychologist. But there was something about her earnest and expectant face that made me pause. Read the complete article from Greater Good.

The Curse Of Genius

Tom remembers the day he decided he wanted to be a theoretical astrophysicist. He was deep into research about black holes, and had amassed a box of papers on his theories. In one he speculated about the relationship between black holes and white holes, hypothetical celestial objects that emit colossal amounts of energy. Black holes, he thought, must be linked across space-time with white holes. “I put them together and I thought, oh wow, that works! That’s when I knew I wanted to do this as a job.” Tom didn’t know enough maths to prove his theory, but he had time to learn. He was only five. Find out more from 1843.


SEIDMAN: Seeking Greater Diversity in Gifted Learning Programs

When Harriett Moore entered Pine View in 1971, she was one of five black students in a student body of 500. By the time she became the first African-American female graduate eight years later, only two remained.

A decade later, when Edward James joined Pine View as a third-grader, one of the first school traditions he was introduced to was “Senior Slave Day.” By his estimate, he was the first black person 80 percent of his classmates had ever spoken to. Continue reading at the Gainesville Sun.

Dyslexia, Other Learning Challenges Are Focus of New $20M Initiative

With a $20 million gift from Charles Schwab, UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley have launched a two-campus multidisciplinary clinical and research alliance to deepen the understanding of dyslexia and other specific neurodevelopmental differences that impact learning. Learn more from UCSF.

We Are Gifted Education Scholars. Here’s Why We Don’t Think NYC Should Follow the School Diversity Group’s Recommendations

Many of the public school gifted and talented programs that serve high-ability students don’t reflect the diversity of their communities. New York City, with roughly 1.1 million students, is an extreme example. Keep reading at Chalkbeat.


At a Glance: How to Make a Portable Homework Station

Whether you live in a big house or a small apartment, a portable homework space can be a great way to help your child stay focused when it’s time to settle down and do his work. Find out how from Understood.

The Evolution of a Trauma-Informed School

There is no arrival at a perfect implementation of trauma-informed practices, and no one knows this better than Mathew Portell, principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary in Nashville. Portell has been leading Fall-Hamilton’s journey with trauma-informed practices for the past several years, and Edutopia profiled one point in this journey in May 2017. Access the full article at Edutopia.


Amid a Broader Special Ed Shortage, Efforts Underway to Diversify Teacher Pool


  • Jacqueline Rodriguez, assistant vice president for programs and professional learning at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), is working to lead a networked improvement community that includes representatives of 10 teacher prep programs exploring strategies to recruit more students to become special ed teachers by fall 2022. One of the biggest goals of the network is recruiting more people of color and people with disabilities to fill these roles. Find out more from Education Dive.

What to Consider When You’re Interviewing Candidates with Autism

The unemployment and underemployment of capable workers with autism is a well-documented phenomenon, as a British study showed.

Employers are gradually getting better at recognizing the value of including neurodiverse people in their organizations, and information about accommodation strategies is starting to become more readily available. Continue reading at Fast Company.


Problems With Coordination

It’s no surprise that children differ in how coordinated they are, and how early they develop  motor skills. But when children are notably uncoordinated, compared to their peers, and fail to meet milestones for motor development, they may have a disorder called developmental coordination disorder (DCD), or dyspraxia. Learn more from Child Mind Institute.

ADHD Therapy Overview: The 9 Best Treatments for Children and Adults

The research is clear: ADHD medication paired with behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children — particularly those who also exhibit oppositional behavior. This finding comes from the National Institute of Mental Health and its landmark Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD, and is reinforced by the American Academy of Pediatricians. But the power of therapy for ADHD does not diminish with the age of the patient. Many children and adults use ADHD therapy to teach behavioral, social, and academic skills that may help manage ADHD symptoms throughout life. Read this article in its entirety from ADDitude.

A Short Guide to the Complicated Life of Gifted Adolescents or Young Adults

Maybe you wonder how you can be so smart and so dumb at the same time. Perhaps you feel like too much and not enough.  Maybe you are terrified of both failure and success. Perhaps you love learning but are frustrated with schooling. Maybe you live by the highest standards for excellence but can never find your shoes. Well, my darlings, you are not alone. Welcome to your rainforest mind.

Here is your short guide to being a gifted adolescent or a young adult. Read the entire post at Your Rainforest Mind.

Positive Childhood Experiences May Buffer Against Health Effects Of Adverse Ones

Plenty of research shows that adverse childhood experiences can lead to depression and other health problems later in life. But researcher Christina Bethell wondered whether positive experiences in childhood could counter that. Her research comes from a personal place. Find out more from KQED.


Going to College With Autism

Vassar junior Zoe Gross knows her strengths and weaknesses all too well. So while she gets good grades, the 21-year-old is aware that she does things more slowly than most people, including getting dressed in the morning, transitioning between activities, and writing papers. It makes college an even greater challenge. “When you take into account that when I’m living on my own it is difficult for me just to keep myself washed, fed and in clean clothes,” she says, “it means that I can’t do the schoolwork as fast as the professors can assign it.” Continuing reading at Child Mind Institute.


Comic Sans? More like ‘Serious Sans’

I am sick and tired of all the flak that Comic Sans is given.

Ask any web designer, author or professor which typeface is the worst, and — with the exception of Wingdings — they will almost undoubtedly tell you “Comic Sans” with a smug grin that conveys the sureness of a flat-earther. Keep reading at The Crow’s Nest.


On Eccentricity

How do Americans feel about eccentricity? Maybe it’s not fair to generalize. Nevertheless, I was recently researching the over-diagnosis and overmedication of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is a major problem in the United States, but not so much in the United Kingdom. Part of that is to do with how the respective health care systems are set up — as I’ll explain here later. But I do wonder if part of it is cultural as well. Find out more from the National Review.


3 Reasons You Should Never Use the D-Word With Your Child of Any Age

You may think I’m talking about “divorce,” but I am not at all. I am talking about the word “drama.”

For parents — and I know this personally, not just professionally because I am a parent myself, our children’s feelings can be very intense.  Whether your child is a toddler or fully grown, it is very important for you to not only know this but to also understand why.

Read the full article at Psych Central.


Autistic Girls’ Brains Show Distinct Anatomical Features

Nerve fiber tracts in the brains of autistic girls are more fragmented than those of typical girls. By contrast, autistic boys’ brain structure is indistinguishable from that of typical boys, a new study suggests.

The findings come from one of the largest studies to examine sex differences in brain structure among autistic people. Researchers have had trouble finding a consistent set of brain structure differences between boys and girls. Learn more from Spectrum.


Johns Hopkins Opens New Center for Psychedelic Research

Since childhood, Rachael Petersen had lived with an unexplainable sense of grief that no drug or talk therapy could entirely ease. So in 2017 she volunteered for a small clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University that was testing psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, for chronic depression. Access the full article from the New York Times.

Learned Helplessness is The Psychological Reason You Are Stuck in a Bad Situation

Have you ever felt powerless to the point that you pretty much give up and stop trying to change your circumstances?

If you’ve ever convinced yourself that everything wrong with your life is doomed to repeat itself, or you will screw up again no matter what you do, you experienced learned helplessness. Keep reading at Medium.


What Was the Worst Year to Be Alive?

Does it ever seem like things are worse than they’ve ever been? There’s certainly a lot of bad news these days, but believe us — things have been worse. In 1918, an influenza pandemic killed more than 50 million people. In 1349, the Black Plague wiped out half of the population of Europe. But even those banner years for death and destruction were nothing compared to the very worst year on record. Find out more from Curiosity.

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!