View this email in your browser

Hi Folks,

Recently I met Jordan O’Kelley and his mom, Harri, while attending the Bridges Symposium at Bridges Academy in Los Angeles. Jordan is 14 years old and a freshman at Cal State LA. He is also a self-described 2e advocate.

While Harri and I were talking, she mentioned that Jordan wrote a post about his experience using Cal State’s Office For Students With Disabilities (OSD). I asked to read it and when she shared it with me I thought, who better to describe the benefits of working with OSD than Jordan O’Kelley?!? So this week I am thrilled to share Jordan’s post with you. If you have a 2e kiddo who has just started college, or who is starting to think about going to college, Jordan’s post is a terrific way to learn about what is like working with OSD.

Communication is Key with the OSD

The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) is an invaluable resource for any college student with special needs. I didn’t even know it existed until last summer when I visited the California State University Los Angeles campus. As a “2e” or “twice exceptional” student (gifted and having a disability), starting college at age 14, I had questions. Specifically, I needed to find out how my Individual Education Plan (IEP) and accommodations would transfer over into the college setting. The OSD had answers. Read the full post at

I hope you enjoyed the rest of Jordan’s post.

Before I sign off, I want to remind you that we have a lot going on at these 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

Can You Be Gifted/2e and Have an IEP?:
Making the Legal Argument

As a parent advocate working in New York City, parents frequently tell me “My child was denied an IEP because her grades are too high.” Full stop. At least in the New York City public schools, there seems to be an across the board policy of denying services to students who are getting good grades, despite evidence that the child has a condition that meets the legal definition of disability.

So is this true? Find out by reading this full blog post from Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy.

Online Support Groups for Families of 2e Kids
Our Next Group…
See the Full Fall Schedule

We Would Like to Thank
Our 2019 Sponsors

Learn Your Child’s Rights:
Special Education Workshop Series

Use the links below to register for these informative workshops from Dr. Claire Golden and Miriam Nunberg, Esq. (Workshops are held in Brooklyn, NY).


Who Can Override an IEP?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that all decisions about a child’s special education program and placement are made by the IEP team. Period. The law does not provide for another individual, including a supervisor or superintendent, to overrule decisions made by the IEP team. Despite this, it is not unusual for a principal or superintendent to try to overrule decisions made by the IEP team. Find out more at The Wrightslaw Way.


Twice-Exceptional Students Find An Intellectual Oasis In Iowa

Educators refer to teens like Alex as “twice exceptional.”  “I have a large degree of skill in almost every subject of learning,” says Alex, who is 16. “But I also have autistic spectrum disorder.”  For Alex, this dual identity has meant both opportunity and frustration. Keep reading at KQED News.

Why Intentionally Building Empathy Is More Important Now Than Ever

Many people believe that life is a zero-sum game and that the most ruthless people get the furthest. But Jamil Zaki, a Stanford psychologist and author of The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World, says there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary. Find the complete article at KQED News.

A Communal Definition of Autism

Autistic people must take ownership of the label in the same way that other minorities describe their experience and define their identity.  Pathologisation of autism is a social power game that removes agency from autistic people.  Our suicide and mental health statistics are the result of discrimination and not a “feature” of autism. The article can be read in its entirety at The Aspergian.

Halloween Blue Bucket Autism Link Explained: How the Trick-or- Treat Pumpkin Bucket is Being Used to Raise Awareness 

A blue Halloween bucket has become an unofficial symbol of awareness for autism. If you see a trick-or-treater holding a blue pumpkin candy bucket at your doorstep, it could mean the person is autistic. Learn more from Newsweek.


My Son Was Admitted to a Specialized High School. Then the School Told Us it Couldn’t Accommodate His Disability.

My son is twice-exceptional, meaning he is both gifted and has special needs. At age five, he tested into a gifted and talented program, and since second grade, he has been in an integrated co-teaching classroom, where students with and without disabilities learn together under the guidance of two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education. My son struggles with the physical act of writing, so he also receives a laptop to type his assignments. For years, these accommodations provided just the right balance of challenge and support. Keep reading at Chalkbeat.


How Can I Best Help My Child Who Has a Reading Disability?

Almost half of children with an individualized education program (IEP) have learning disabilities, and approximately 5 percent of school-aged children have a reading disorder. And just as there are different types of reading disabilities, different interventions are needed to effectively support children’s difficulties in reading. Learn more from Ebony.

A Crooked Seat at the Table: Black and Alone in an Honors Class

Picture it: You’re in a class that will challenge your mind, expand your world and ultimately give you a competitive edge in college admissions. Your honors class is an opportunity—an opportunity that is not in the cards for many Black students. You know that Black, Native American and Latinx students are generally less likely to attend schools that even offer advanced classes. Opportunity gaps can limit your access to academic success from the start, resulting in racialized achievement gaps. These inequities present major obstacles for many students in search of a seat at the table. Read the full article from Teaching Tolerance.

Raising Entrepreneurs 

Entrepreneurial education can be life-changing, particularly for young people struggling with poverty and other oppressive situations, says Steve Mariotti, entrepreneur, former special-education teacher and founder of the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. SmartBrief Education talked with Mariotti about how students can benefit from learning about entrepreneurship and business ownership and how teachers can implement these lessons in their classrooms. Find out more at Smart Brief.

Employment Trends for People with Disabilities in New York City

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 41 percent of working-age people with disabilities in New York City were in the labor force in 2017. This includes those who were employed and those who were unemployed but actively seeking employment. In contrast, the labor force participation rate for people without disabilities disabilities was nearly twice as high (79 percent). See more from The Office of the New York State Comptroller.

P&G Boosts Hiring of People with Autism

Procter & Gamble’s effort to add people with autism to the workforce has resulted in the hiring of four managers with the disorder, who are based at the company’s global headquarters in Cincinnati. Read the complete article from Cincinnati Business Courier.

Why Virgin Group Will No Longer Ask For Your Exam Results When Hiring

“The Virgin Group will not ask anyone for their exam results ever again”, Branson told the Made By Dyslexia Global Summit on Monday. Branson started the charity, Made By Dyslexia, to campaign for a greater awareness of the neurological disorder. Dyslexia affects around one in 10 people’s ability to learn and process information, and therefore negatively affects their exam results. Read the full story in Forbes.


Study Exposes ‘Significant Shortcomings’ In Autism Screening

The primary method that pediatricians use to identify children with autism is missing more kids with the developmental disorder than it catches, new research suggests. Keep reading at Disability  Scoop.

How to Talk to Teenagers About Porn

Talking to your child about watching porn can be awkward and something you’d rather avoid, but it’s a critical conversation to have. Kids can get seriously misleading information about sexual relationships from watching it. Find out more including helpful tips for hard discussions from Child Mind Institute.

Helping Teenagers Quit Vaping

For many years, my lead-in question with adolescents, after I asked the parent to leave the room at pediatric appointments, was whether the kid had ever tried smoking cigarettes. It made a reasonable lead-in because it felt less highly charged than asking about marijuana or other substances, and in recent decades, the answer was very often no. Youth tobacco smoking in the United States was on the decline. And then came vaping, e-cigarettes and Juuls. Learn more from The New York Times.


Questioning Their Fairness, a Record Number of Colleges Stop Requiring the SAT and ACT

Julia Tomasulo took the ACT three times, hoping to get to get the best possible score when applying for colleges. Even though she had good grades and was a two-sport athlete, “of the whole college process, the testing was the hardest,” Tomasulo said. She took practice tests daily. Her parents spent about $3,500 on tutoring. Continue reading at the Hechinger Report.


How Listening to Autistic Adults Helped Me Understand and Support My Son

Having a disabled child is not particularly rare: Fourteen percent of U.S. public school students in 2017-2018 received special education services. Yet our society rarely addresses disability as a real parenting possibility, which means non-disabled parents like me are usually in the dark about best practices for raising a child with a disability. This state of ignorance is unfair to everyone involved and has made countless kids and parents miserable. Read the rest of the article from The Washington Post.

The Contradiction at the Heart of Public Education

Over the summer, an education panel convened by Bill de Blasio put New York City’s mayor in a bind: It recommended dismantling much of the city’s programming for gifted students in order to advance integration. Learn more from The Atlantic.

If I’d Never Had a Child with Disabilities

Sometimes, when I have time to sit quietly and really think (approximately once every three years), I ponder how Max has changed my life. It happened last week, when I found out that the folks at Understood are planning a podcast about the joys parents have found raising a child with learning differences and I posted about it on Facebook. Read the full blog at Love That Max.


Six Ways to Help Your Child Deal with Social Exclusion

The mom of a third-grade girl sits in my office, her face buried in her hands. Through muffled sobs, she tells me that she’s at a loss. She’s tried everything to help her daughter repair her friendships at school—arranging coffee dates with the families of the other girls, meeting with the teacher and school director, and even trying to organize a group sleepover to get the girls together—but nothing has made a difference. Her daughter is on the outs with a peer group she formed in preschool, and this mom feels powerless to help. Keep reading at Greater Good.


Turning 18 and Supplemental Security Income SSI

When your child turns 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review and determine continued eligibility for SSI benefits under the disability rules for adults. Join us for an opportunity to learn about the age 18 redetermination process, including timeline, required documentation and due process. Access the vlog from INCLUDE nyc on Youtube.


‘Imagined Life’ Envisions the Odd Critters of Other Planets

An organism is shaped by the environment in which it dwells. Considering the rampant diversity of species on Earth, just imagine the oddities that could evolve on radically different sorts of planets — perhaps black-leafed “plants” that thrive in dim light or even creatures made of metal rather than carbon. Read more about this new book at Science News.

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!