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Hey folks,

IEP season is starting up and I am getting ready for our meeting tomorrow. Even though I have done this more times than I care to count, I still get nervous. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry or throw up. Or both.

As the parents of 2e kiddos, we must navigate the strange world between giftedness and disability and fight for both our children’s strengths and challenges. And it can be a tough sell to get supports and accommodations when our kids are technically doing well. As their parents, we may be the only ones seeing how they struggle in a myriad of ways.

Since many of you are also preparing for your IEP meetings, I wanted to remind you about Miriam Nunberg’s excellent article about making the case for an IEP when your child is gifted/2e. She does an amazing job examining the issue and providing rationals for why successful kids are still entitled to support. I hope this in-depth resource can help you make your case when you discuss your child’s needs and goals with their IEP team this spring. 

Best wishes,
Maratea Cantarella
TECA Executive Director

P.S. If you would like to receive Insights on a regular basis, you can join our mailing list by becoming a member of TECA. We even have a FREE membership level! Join today!
Our Next Group…
Understanding Motivation in the 2e Child/Teen

Wednesday, March 4 @ 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm Eastern

Why is it that our kids can be obsessed about a particular project or topic, but at other times lack focus or have no interest in other tasks or responsibilities? Twice exceptional children are often highly resistant to engaging in work that isn’t meaningful to them. In this session, we will discuss the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and examine how perfectionism and learned helplessness can be roadblocks to motivation.


Free Webinar Replay 
Move Forward: How Exercise Optimizes the ADHD Brain

In this hour-long webinar-on-demand, learn how exercise optimizes the ADHD brain, with Patrick LaCount, Ph.D. Solid evidence shows that exercise exerts powerful influence over the structure, function, and development of the brain in the short- and long-term. What’s more, mental health researchers have recently begun to examine whether exercise can be a tool for individuals to manage their ADHD. Indeed, exercise is associated with increased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine — two brain chemicals also stimulated by ADHD medications to induce improved focus, motivation, and mood.

View The Webinar Now!
Great Book Resource
From High School to College: 
Steps to Success for Students with Disabilities 

By Elizabeth Hamblett

This book provides a clear path to prepare students with disabilities for a successful transition to college. College is a different world from high school. The laws, expectations, and culture around disability services and accommodations are different, too. Elizabeth Hamblet, a Columbia University Learning Specialist/Consultant and recognized transition speaker and writer, has written a unique step-by-step guide that is an essential resource for college-bound students, their families, and the special educators and school counselors who work with them. Elizabeth Hamblet breaks the process down into six logical steps. Read more at Wrightslaw.

What Is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

So you’ve been told your child needs a neuropsychological evaluation or neuropsychological testing? This suggestion may have come from your child’s teacher, pediatrician, therapist, or another treatment provider (speech therapist, occupational therapist, etc.). Learning more about neuropsychological evaluations can sometimes be overwhelming. There are a lot of new terms to learn and it can be confusing to find someone to do the evaluation. Keep reading to find out what’s involved in a neuropsychological evaluation and how you can go about finding the right person to work with. Read more at Columbia University Department of Psychiatry.


Worried About That New Medical Study?
Read This First.

In August 2019, JAMA Pediatrics, a widely respected journal, published a study with a contentious result: Pregnant women in Canada who were exposed to increasing levels of fluoride (such as from drinking water) were more likely to have children with lower I.Q. Some media outlets ran overblown headlines, claiming that fluoride exposure actually lowers I.Q. And while academics and journalists quickly pointed out the study’s many flaws — that it didn’t prove cause and effect; and showed a drop in I.Q. only in boys, not girls — the damage was done. People took to social media, voicing their concerns about the potential harms of fluoride exposure.

We place immense trust in scientific studies, as well as in the journalists who report on them. But deciding whether a study warrants changing the way we live our lives is challenging. Is that extra hour of screen time really devastating? Does feeding processed meat to children increase their risk of cancer? Read more at The New York Times.

It’s Good to Expose Myths About Neuroscience — But the Debunking is Getting Out of Hand, a World-famous Psychologist Says

If you believe that students have different “learning styles” — which many people do — you have succumbed to a “neuromyth,” which is a commonly held view about the results of brain research that isn’t actually true.

It’s one of many popular neuromyths that have been debunked in recent years, but it turns out, there’s also a problem with some of that debunking. In some cases, debunkers are wrong in their analysis or misunderstand the thing they are debunking. That’s the topic of this post, written by Howard Gardner, the world-renowned psychologist whose work has revolutionized the fields of education and psychology. Read more at The Washington Post.

How a Program Can Help Students Re-enter School After a Mental Health Crisis

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Ava had always felt comfortable at the small, private K-8 school she attended just north of Boston. But in high school everything changed.

Ava first began to experience anxiety and depression after her parents divorced, when she was still in grade school. These problems increased as she entered her teen years, and became even more severe in ninth grade, when she enrolled at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, a vast campus with nearly 2,000 students. Faced with large, noisy classrooms, Ava froze with fear. By her sophomore year, she felt unable to cope. When her mother dropped her off one morning, Ava looked out at the school building, but couldn’t open the car door to go inside. Read more at KQED/Mindshift.


Bodycam Video Shows Jacksonville Girl, 6, ‘Pleasant’ on ‘Field Trip’ to Mental Health Facility

At around 4 feet tall in a pink T-shirt with a rainbow embroidered on it, the 6-year-old stood outside River Point Behavioral Health Center. She thought she was going on a field trip.

She’d end up being held for two days for an involuntary evaluation — unable to see her mom, who said her daughter was administered anti-psychotic medication without her permission. Read more at The Florida Times-Union.


Newsom Wants More Dyslexia Screenings, Services for California Students

new plan by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who struggled with dyslexia as a child, would pay for more screenings and services for the thousands of California students with dyslexia — a condition that advocates say has not received enough attention in schools.

The California Dyslexia Initiative, which the governor announced last week as part of his 2020-21 budget proposal, would set aside $4 million for screening, professional learning for teachers, research and a conference on dyslexia, a learning disorder that affects one’s ability to read and write. Although the amount is small compared to the overall education budget, it lays the groundwork for future investment and brings much-needed attention to the issue, advocates said. Read more at EdSource.


See the 29 Education Programs Trump Wants to Condense Into a Block Grant

The banner proposal in the Trump administration’s spending request for the U.S. Department of Education, released Monday, is a block grant consisting of 29 current programs called “Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged Block Grant.” This new grant, which would get $19.4 billion in the president’s budget pitch, would also get $4.7 billion less than the current combined funding for the programs that would be merged together.

So what are the programs that would be eliminated and have their funding transferred into this grant for fiscal 2021? Via the Office of Management and Budget, check out the list below, which includes their current funding levels in millions of dollars (click to enlarge): Read more at Education Week.


Children as Young as 9 Think About Killing Themselves. Adults Around Them Have No Clue.

Educators trying to halt the skyrocketing number of young people killing themselves need to intervene far earlier than they might think: A new study finds children as young as 9 and 10 report suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

Suicide among young people has reached a 30-year high, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide rates for teens ages 15 to 19 jumped by 76 percent from 2007 to 2017, but suicide rates for younger adolescents, ages 10 to 14, nearly tripled during that time. And the CDC has found 10 to 15 percent of middle and high school students consider killing themselves at some point. Read more at Education Week.

PANDAS/PANS and Tourette Syndrome (Disorder)

In recent years, there has been much attention—both in the medical literature and in the mainstream media—to the hypothesis that some tic and neuropsychiatric disorders may be triggered by an underlying autoimmune or autoinflammatory response, collectively referred to either as PANDAS (“Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections”) or PANS (“Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome”).  While these proposed conditions are of scientific interest, they have generated significant confusion amongst medical providers, families, and patients alike, as the diagnostic criteria have evolved over time, and are often conflated or misapplied.  Here, we briefly summarize the current research landscape on PANS/PANDAS and Tourette Syndrome (TS). Read more at

Can ADHD Medication Prevent Suicide?

ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is thought to affect over 5 to 12 percent of school-age children—twice as many boys than girls—and to persist into adulthood in at least 5 percent of people.

In spite of controversy, ADHD is considered by experts to be under-diagnosed and under-treated in children and adults. Under-treatment worsens problems with self-esteem, executive function, work, and productivity, with negative effects on mood and anxiety. ADHD persisting into adulthood impairs emotion regulation, sense of self, performance and marital function. Read more at Psychology Today.


Know Your Students

When teaching, it seems logical to begin with the content or the pedagogy and then apply technologies to meet the outcomes we see, yet this misses the most important foundational step in the process. This is a step that needs to be formalized in the design and development process. It is to get to know the students who have enrolled in your program in the past or for whom you are designing the class. We cannot make assumptions. Over time the characteristics, knowledge and aspirations of enrolling students change. Especially today, with a range of career changers, adult learners and online learners from different regions, continents and cultures, we must be vigilant to monitor them to make sure we are meeting their needs. Some may be leaders in the field; others are novices. Read more at Inside Higher Education.

Four Ways to Help Your
College Student Grow Up

“I wouldn’t normally call you, but my child is not good at advocating for herself.”

Working as dean and director of family engagement at Barnard College, I often hear this kind of claim.

It’s rarely true. In almost all cases, the parents and guardians who tell me this have, unknowingly, prevented their children from handling their own affairs.

I wish they would recognize this kind of overparenting for what it is: counterproductive. Read more at The New York Times.


6 Scaffolds That Deepen Independent Learning

When you want to conduct a problem-based unit, or push students to engage with a project or investigate a challenging topic more independently, thinking scaffolds—by way of targeted prompts, supports, and modeling—can be an important tool in your arsenal. Read more at Edutopia.

Simple Ways to Encourage Kindness in Students of All Ages

February is a big month for showing that you care. On the heels of Valentine’s Day comes Random Acts of Kindness Day. February 17 is the 25th anniversary of the day designated to encourage acts of generosity big and small. Here are five simple ways to bring both planned and totally random gestures of decency to your classroom on February 17, 2020, and well beyond. Read more at Edutopia.


Life Skills vs. Soft Skills vs. Career Skills vs. Employability Skills — What Are the Differences?

Today, teachers throughout the United States are focusing more on prepping their students for their future careers.

Some teachers do this by creating a life skills curriculum. Others make a soft skills curriculum. Sometimes, they made a career skills or employability skills curriculum.

Surprisingly, all of these teachers mean the same thing – they just have different ways of saying it!

That means some wires got crossed somewhere. Read more at Applied Educational Systems.


Attacks on Science Put a
Generation of Children at Risk

When the federal government ignores, sidelines or undermines science, it has severe consequences for children—consequences that can last a lifetime. As the Trump administration has undercut science and rolled back science-based policies, it has put a generation of children at greater risk, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Read more at Union of Concerned Scientists.

Why Our Kids With Disabilities Deserve Better ‘Life Skills’ From School

Several months ago, one of my daughters came home concerned about her youngest sister, who has Down syndrome and spends part of her day in the special education classroom.

“Mom, did you know the kids from Miss Turner’s* class are made to clean the cafeteria?” I knew my daughter and her classmates worked on “life skills,” but I did not know cleaning the cafeteria was part of it. The truth is, I never asked what “life skills” entailed. That was my mistake and I take full responsibility. I knew this class included cooking, learning monetary transactions, learning job related tasks, but I didn’t know it also meant she was wiping tables and stocking shelves with chips and other snacks. Read more at Ellen Stumbo.

The Amish Use Tech Differently Than You Think. We Should Emulate Them.

Technology promised to connect us but divided us instead. As people worry about smartphone addiction and vow to spend less time on their laptops, social media companies are scrambling to placate a world that has caught on to their products’ ability to turn us against one another, tip elections and even incite violence. The Pew Research Center has found that between 2015 and 2019, the percentage of Americans who view technology companies as having a positive impact on the country plummeted 21 points, from 71 percent to 50 percent.Read more at The Washington Post.


Why Teenagers Reject Parents’ Solutions
to Their Problems

Parents of adolescents are often confronted by a puzzling sequence of events. First, teenagers bring us their problems; second, we earnestly offer suggestions and solutions; and third, teenagers dismiss our ideas as irritating, irrelevant or both. These moments feel ripe for connection. Why do they so often turn sour? Almost always, it’s because we’re not giving teenagers what they’re really looking for. Consciously or not, here’s what they most likely want. Read more at The New York Times.

Kids Don’t Need to Stay ‘On Track’ to Succeed

A 10-year-old boy sits quietly on the sofa in my office, his legs not quite touching the floor. I ask whether he’s ever thought about what he’d like to do when he grows up. With no hesitation, he perks up and exclaims, “I want to run a start-up.” He doesn’t even know what a start-up is, but he does know, in exacting detail, the trajectory he will need to take to become wildly successful in running one. Not yet finished with middle school, he has charted the next 15 years of his life: He plans on applying to the most competitive high school in town, hoping that this will increase his odds of going to Stanford. He knows he will have to serve time as an intern, preferably at Google. He is intent on being a “winner.” Read more at The Atlantic.


New Studies Link the Arts to Crucial Cognitive Skills

New research reveals that the arts may prime our neural circuitry for a broad range of activities, boosting crucial cognitive and social skills like spoken and written language, focus, self-control, and empathy. In a 2016 study, for example, T. Christina Zhao and Patricia Kuhl demonstrated that babies exposed to simple melodies in a social setting developed a greater sensitivity to the rhythms of spoken language. More surprisingly, they noted, the processing of music was traced not just to the auditory cortex of the infants, but to the prefrontal cortex as well—the seat of higher-order cognitive faculties like attention and self-regulation. Read more at Edutopia.

Bored, Stressed, Tired: Unpacking Teenagers’ Emotions About High School

At first glance, it could seem that teenagers just really, really hate high school.

When researchers at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Yale Child Study Center asked more than 21,678 U.S. high school students to say how they typically felt at school, nearly 75 percent of their answers were negative. “Tired” topped the list, followed by “bored” and “stressed,” with positive words like “happy” distantly following. Read more at Education Week.


The Long Winding Path of Giftedness

Suddenly, there was this community out there who knew my battles, who didn’t make me feel like a parental failure because of my outlier son, and who understood that it was possible to have a preschooler who demanded scientifically accurate bedtime stories on the same day he got his head stuck in a friend’s banister.  Read more at GHF Dialogue.

Never Enough? Why ADHD Brains Crave Stimulation

Advances in technology are offering us an increasingly bigger window into the neurological bases of ADHD. We now know that differences in structure, functionality, activation, and connectivity all come into play. The key to understanding your behaviors — why you act the way you do — is to understand the needs and wants of your unique brain. If friends and family can’t make sense of your actions, and sometimes you can’t either, learning how your brain works will explain your behaviors. Read more at ADDitude.

Fitz and the Tantrums; or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gift

Julia Child’s kitchen is on display at the Smithsonian in D.C. It’s a grand place, with a place for everything and everything in its place.  If you look closely, you’ll see that the countertops are taller than your standard kitchen because Julia Child was six feet, two inches, and her husband built the kitchen to fit her and not the other way around.

But imagine the standard real estate agent, straight out of HGTV, advising Julia and her husband. “That’s a great idea,” she would say, “But it won’t help with resale. There aren’t a lot of six-foot-two, avid cooks who are going to buy this house.” Read more at GHF Dialogue.

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!