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Hi Folks,

It is officially Fall! That means the leaves are turning yellow, nights are getting cooler and homework hell has officially begun. Many teachers are now assigning homework daily and the content is increasingly difficult. And my son’s homework anxiety has re-emerged. Sigh.

Even though my kiddo has made great strides at school, homework seems to be his Achilles heel, especially at this time of year. And just as he is feeling the pressure, so am I. I know that there are a few different ways I might approach my son when he needs homework help and some are more successful than others. I am sure you can imagine the unsuccessful ways, so I am not going to get into the ugly details here. Suffice it to say that when I try to impose a solution on my son, it does not go well. Yet I usually need to fall in that ditch a few times before I remember that there are better ways to support him when he is struggling. Read the full post at
I hope you enjoyed the rest of the post.

Before I sign off, I want to let you know we have a lot going on at TECA2e.orgthese days. See below for information on our new Suggested Products page, the schedule for TECA’s fall/winter support groups and of course, updated information on TECA’s Building 2e Awareness & Community Conference!

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Maratea Cantarella
TECA Executive Director
Introducing TECA’s Suggested Products Page!
While toys and tools can never replace good instruction and therapy, we realize the importance of quality toys and products in the lives of our kids. So TECA has started to reach out to its members and followers to ask them what toys and products they love for their kids and family. From toys that engage kids playing on their own to sensory solutions to productivity helps, these products can be useful in your parent toolkit. And many of them make great gifts for birthdays and holidays. Best of all, if you purchase these items using the link TECA provides, TECA will get a donation from Amazon!

This week we are featuring the game Suspend from Melissa & Doug. Drawing on visual-spacial skills and fostering creative problem-solving, this game appeals kids and adults alike. It’s a huge favorite in Melissa Sornik’s practice. Find out more on TECA’s Suggested Product page.
Online Support Groups for Families of 2e Kids
Fall Schedule
See the Full Fall Schedule
Featured Conference Session
Growing Up 2e
With Zachary Gershon and Jacob Greebel, MEd, MSW
Growing up is a journey for everyone. That journey is complicated enough on its own, but when your challenges are hidden from others by a set of strengths, or when those around you have difficulty seeing your gifts because your difficulties overshadow them, your journey becomes much more complicated. Welcome to the life of a 2e child. Growing Up 2e is an opportunity to hear from teacher Jacob Greebel, MA Ed and Zachary Gershon, who is working on his PhD in neurobiology at Rockefeller University, both of whom were identified as twice-exceptional at different points in their lives, and who found ways to address their obstacles while embracing their strengths to carve out success for themselves.
See the Full Conference Schedule

At Risk in the Culture of ‘Normal
By Jonathan Mooney

I was a weird kid. I was obsessed with checker-patterned clothing, and for a time I rode a checkered bike, wore checkered Vans, checkered shorts, a checkered shirt and to top it all off, a checkered hat. I loved the television series “Roots” and took to calling myself Kunta Kinte. I would shower only in my socks. I decided one year to pee only in the corner of the extra room in our house. No one noticed, which gives you a sense of the general level of cleanliness in our home. I memorized all the dialogue in “Trading Places” — the 1983 movie about class warfare starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy that was definitely not for children. Read about it at The New York Times.

New York City to Create 40 New and Restructured Schools with $16M from XQ and Robin Hood

In his latest effort to bolster his education track record in his last two years in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio has teamed up with Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs, and the Robin Hood foundation, to create 20 new schools and restructure 20 existing public schools. Find out more from Chalkbeat.

Simon Baron-Cohen: ‘Neurodiversity is the Next Frontier. But We’re Failing Autistic People’

As a graduate in the 1980s, Simon Baron‑Cohen taught autistic children at a special school in London. Little was known about autism then, and people often misheard him, assuming he taught “artistic children”. Today, Baron-Cohen, 61, is a world expert on autism, a Cambridge professor and director of the university’s influential Autism Research Centre. There is also greater awareness of autism, a lifelong condition affecting how people interact or process information. Yet his latest research reflects how improved awareness and understanding of autism have not led to improvements in the lives of people with autism. Read the the complete article from The Guardian.


Families Endure Costly Legal Fights Trying to Get the Right Special Education Services

The law says public schools must give students with disabilities the services that meet their individual needs, but parents and districts often disagree on what those services should be or whether a student needs services at all. Every year school districts across California settle thousands of these disputes by paying parents and lawyers millions of dollars in what are called due process cases. The number of due process cases has climbed in recent years, tapping into school districts’ already tight budgets. Continue reading at the Los Angeles Times.

Equity Does Not Mean Everyone Gets Nothing: There’s a Better Way to Address New York City’s Gifted Gap

Gifted education is a tricky issue for most education equity advocates, and I admit to being a reluctant gifted advocate myself. I have no problem calling out the history of eugenics, white supremacy and forced segregation that is woven into the fabric of gifted and talented education in this country. Gifted education scholars such as Donna Ford and Joy Lawson Davis have called out these issues for decades. But eliminating gifted education because the results are not equitable is not the answer. Find the rest of the article at The 74.


3 Ways to Shape Math Into a Positive Experience

As a teenager, Vanessa Vakharia never expected math to factor into her future. “I wanted to be a rock star and marry Keanu Reeves. Still do,” Vakharia says in a phone interview as her band drives across Canada for a multi-week tour. Because she was into art and music, Vakharia considered herself a “creative type.” When she enrolled in an alternative high school, she told her teacher that she was not a math person. Read more from KQED News.

How Do Kids Learn to Read?
What the Science Says

How do children learn to read?

For almost a century, researchers have argued over the question. Most of the disagreement has centered on the very beginning stages of the reading process, when young children are first starting to figure out how to decipher words on a page. Find out more in Education Week.

What Fan Fiction Teaches
That the Classroom Doesn’t

N. K. Jemisin, the only author to win the prestigious Hugo Award for best science-fiction or fantasy novel three years in a row, partly credits fan fiction for her ability to draw in readers. Access the entire article from The Atlantic.


Autism and Picky Eating

It is the rare parent who doesn’t at some point have to deal with temper tantrums over food or, at the very least, picky eating habits. But kids on the autism spectrum — and therefore, the parents who feed them — often face significantly greater and more complex issues around food for a variety of reasons. Stephanie Lee, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, has worked with many families to tackle the eating issues autistic kids may experience. Learn more from Child Mind Institute.

Do Autism Behaviors Have Medical Causes?

One of the things that can make autism perplexing — and challenging — is odd behaviors that range from distracting to dangerous. Grimacing, repetitive motions, head-banging or other self-injury, meltdowns, even aggression: These behaviors are so common in kids on the spectrum that they’ve become part of the profile of the disorder. We often don’t know what they mean and we assume that they’re characteristics of autism. Find the full article from Child Mind Institute.

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a diagnosis that has historically been difficult to understand, and even more difficult to treat successfully. The symptoms associated with it are a painful mix of emotional turmoil, unstable relationships and self-destructive behavior, including suicide attempts. But new insights into the disorder, leading to new, more effective treatments, have made the prognosis for someone with BPD much more promising. With the right support, most people with BPD can successfully learn to regulate their overwhelming emotions, stop self-destructive behavior and improve their lives. Find out more from Child Mind Institute.


A Letter to… Our Friends Who Share Autism Success Stories

At least once a week, for the past five years, well-meaning friends have sent me a “success story” about a child or adult with autism. I also often read similar stories in the media. They are always inspiring, with their descriptions of how people don’t let autism define them or hold them back. With each story, I’ve grown sadder and angrier. Keep reading at The Guardian.

The Value of Nurturing Your Special Needs Child’s Hidden Talent

As the parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), do you feel genuinely optimistic about your child’s future? For too many parents, it seems hope is a rare commodity. Find the complete article from Autism Parenting Magazine.

‘The World Is Open To Me Now’: A Scientist With Dyslexia On How Learning To Read Changed Her Life

Catherine Drennan describes herself as insatiably curious, a trait she credits to her parents. Some of her first memories come from protest rallies and academic lectures that her mom attended while finishing her Ph.D. in anthropology. Drennan was excited when it came time to start school. But when she got to first grade, she hit a major stumbling block. Drennan couldn’t make sense of the reading exercises the class was doing. Read the entire interview in Edify.

Guest Mythbuster Post: Is the ADOS-2 Really the “Gold Standard” in Autism Assessment?

There is no doubt that the ADOS-2 has been a useful tool in both research and clinical practice. However, at some point someone named it the “gold standard” for autism diagnosis, and the name stuck, even though this has not necessarily been supported by the research. So, is the ADOS-2 the gold standard? To answer this, let’s consider (a) whether the ADOS-2 is always necessary for a diagnosis, (b) whether the ADOS-2 is sensitive to different populations, (c) whether the ADOS-2 is always reliable in clinical practice and (d) other factors that may make the ADOS-2 less than an ideal choice as part of your child’s evaluation. Read more from Dr. Devon MacEachron.

Discrimination in Gifted Education Must End

It is understandable that school administrators and teachers focus their attention on the students who face the greatest academic struggles in the classroom. I did this myself when I was the chancellor of the New York City schools more than a decade ago, with an emphasis on reducing the dropout rate and enabling more students to graduate. But in doing so, educators fail to pay enough attention to the needs of some of the brightest students. Keep reading at Education Week.


How To Handle Other People’s Bad Moods Like a Pro

Here’s a question I get asked a lot as a therapist:
How do you sit there and listen to people’s problems all day? Don’t you get depressed?
To be honest, not really.

You might imagine that all the sadness, frustration, anxiety, and shame my clients tell me about would start to rub off on a guy after a while. But, if anything, I feel like I’m a little better at managing both my own emotions and other peoples’ because I get to practice all day long. Read about 5 specific and helpful skills in this article from Medium.

Parenting the New Teen in the Age of Anxiety

We are going to be talking about the experience of today’s kids and teens, and what’s different for them, and consequently, what has to be different for us as their parents and caregivers. Because as my guest, Dr. John Duffy explains, we truly can’t relate to the lives our kids are leading because they are facing many more stressors and than we ever faced just by virtual of the pace of their lives, their access to information, their connectivity to each other, the technology at their fingertips. Listen to the podcast from TiLT Parenting.

First Large-Scale Study of Universal Screening for Autism Raises Questions About Accuracy

In the first large, real-world study of universal screening for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in toddlers, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have found that the most widely used and researched screening tool is less accurate than shown in previous studies conducted in research laboratory settings. The new study also revealed significant disparities in detecting early autism symptoms in minority, urban and low-income children. The findings were published online today in the journal Pediatrics. Find out more from Science Daily.

Mice Fidget. Those Motions Have Big Effects on Their Brains

Survey any office, and you’ll see pens tapping, heels bouncing and hair being twiddled. But jittery humans aren’t alone. Mice also fidget while they work. What’s more, this seemingly useless motion has a profound and widespread effect on mice’s brain activity, neuroscientist Anne Churchland of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and colleagues report September 24 in Nature Neuroscience. Scientists don’t yet know what this brain activity means, but one possibility is that body motion may actually shape thinking. Keep reading at Science News.


Unexpressed Emotions

When you develop feelings for someone that exceed a mere “crush,” but you can’t find it in you to share, what happens to the emotions that coincide with those feelings? Or better yet the suppression of those feelings? What about when we find ourselves in the midst of a difficult chapter in our lives and we never make the attempt to navigate through in a way that is constructive? Or if you experience the loss of a loved one, yet you choose business and distraction as a form of acceptance, do those devastating emotions wither away? Learn more at Medium.

The Hidden Benefit of Life Not Working out as Planned

Once there was a vineyard owner who had a large grove of olive trees. One day, he noticed that some of his trees began to rot. To prevent his beloved trees from perishing, he pruned and nourished them.

After some time, small new branches began to grow, but the master of the vineyard noticed the top of the tree was starting to decay. Read about it at Medium.


Advice for Gifted Adults Living in a Not-So-Gifted World

Let’s say that you understand that you are gifted. That you are super smart, highly sensitive, emotional, and empathetic. That you have a rainforest mind. That you think deeply, analyze everything, love learning, and seek justice. You are even starting to accept your compassionately quirky ways. But what you don’t understand is how to communicate with other humans. How to manage in your workplace. Where to find friends. How to find a suitable partner. How to be authentic. How to live at 95 mph when everyone around you is running at 35 mph. Find answers to these and other questions from Your Rainforest Mind.

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!