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Hey folks,

These days are so weird. I am busy and not busy, stressed, and chilling out. I am trying to focus on being in the moment and being present for myself, my kids, and my husband, and then I spend hours in my bedroom to take private calls and video-conferences.

The time since we went into Pause, or lockdown or whatever your city or state calls it, has been filled with so much contradiction and uncertainty that it is challenging us all on a fundamental level. To further complicate the matter, we may be operating with a different set of facts than our family members, neighbors, and fellow citizens. With all this going on, many parents are feeling beyond overwhelmed.

I hope you are finding time to take care of yourself and if you are not I urge you to do so. It is imperative – now more than ever – that as a parent, you are getting your most basic needs met. In order to help with this, we have added a special “check-in” support group this coming Wednesday. We hope you will join us. We have also concentrated our articles in this issue on topics related to homeschooling tips, kids’ health and mental health, and self-care for parents. I hope you find these resources helpful. 

Best wishes and stay healthy,

I hope you enjoyed the rest of the post. Stay healthy!

Maratea Cantarella
TECA Executive Director
Upcomming Groups…
Check in to Share Strategies, Strengths, and Hope
Wednesday, April 29 @ 10:30 am – 11:00 am Eastern

Our lives have changed dramatically in the first few months of 2020. Coronavirus has become a pandemic and most people in the United States are now practicing social distancing or are under stay-at-home orders. For many, that means we suddenly find ourselves homeschooling, working from home, and dealing with an incredible amount of stress. In this 30-minute session, we invite you to check in with your fellow parents to discuss how we are all coping. We will offer strategies and resources to support you as you and your family adapt to the day-to-day changes we are now dealing with. We will get through this together!

Click the link below for pricing.
Information & Registration
2e Kids and Power Struggles – When to Pick Your Battles

Wednesday, May 6 @ 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm Eastern

In this session, we will discuss why 2e kids can be so rigid and how we as parents can decide which battles are worth fighting, and when it is best to give in. We will address such issues as establishing family values; rules and limit setting; when and why we say no to our kids; what motivates us when we fight with our kids; and, how to de-escalate conflicts, keeping in mind that safety always comes first.

Click the link below for pricing.

Information & Registration

Music For Autism Presents A Free

Virtual Concert with CJ and Kasie

May 02, 2020
YouTube Livestream

11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern

Kasie and CJ are thrilled to be collaborating with Music for Autism. Both from the Broadway community (MAMMA MIA, BOOK OF MORMON), they’ve been performing in New York City for the past five years. Their partnership began back in 2013 when performing together Off-Broadway in a new musical, BEND IN THE ROAD. If you like what you hear today, keep your eyes out for their web series premiering in 2019. “Art and music is meant to be shared. So, thank you for letting us share our music with you and your family!”

Livestreamed on our YouTube page!

Registrants will receive a link to the private livestream two hours prior to the concert. You must RSVP to receive the link.


The Pandemic Is a Crisis for Students With Special Needs

Lauren Kahn is used to spending her whole day on the floor. She works at the Queens Center for Progress, teaching nonverbal 3- and 4-year-olds with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder, several of whom have visual impairments as well. The class is hands-on, to say the least—they sing, they play, they practice communicating with body language. Well, they used to. Read more at The Atlantic.

How People with Autism Forge Friendships

It is lunchtime on a Sunday in January. At a long table inside a delicatessen in midtown Manhattan, a group of young people sit together over sandwiches and salads. Most of them have their phones out. One boy wears headphones around his neck. But there is less conversation than you might expect from a typical group of friends: One of the boys seems to talk only to himself, and a girl looks anxious and occasionally flaps her hands. Read more at Scientific American.

We’re All Grieving.
This Is How We Get Through It.

Anxiety, dread, depression — these are just some of the emotions that hit us as we shelter in place and as death tolls rise. In the Video Op-Ed above, the psychotherapist Esther Perel coaches us through the losses and collective grief we are experiencing.

While therapists rarely divulge personal experience, Ms. Perel offers a rare glimpse into how she processes this crisis, as a mother, a member of the at-risk population and the child of two Holocaust survivors. Read more at The New York Times.


Students on Remote Learning: More Creativity, Interaction Needed

Teachers and administrators are reaching out and communicating with students about how school has changed because of closures, but what students would like is a better online classroom experience and more interaction with teachers and peers, according to survey results from Phi Delta Kappa International.

Nineteen percent of high school students responding, for example, said video chats would make them feel more connected during remote learning, but only 2% could give examples of how their teachers had done this well. Read more at Education Dive.


Disability Rights Groups, School Administrators Spar Over Possible Changes to Special Education Laws

As schools scramble to teach students with disabilities during the school closures, a coalition of more than 70 disability rights organization is urging the federal government to uphold special education laws despite the challenges of online education.

“Times of crisis are not the time to roll back civil rights. It’s actually time to roll up our sleeves and do it right,” said Wendy Tucker, senior policy director of the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, a national advocacy group based in New York. “When you roll back civil rights protections, it’s very hard to bring them back.” Read more at EdSource.

Ed, Tech Coalition Launches Resource for Remotely Serving Special Needs Students

As the U.S. Department of Education considers whether to recommend waivers from certain aspects of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, several organizations have joined together to support the special education community through the challenges caused by school closures.

The Educating All Learners Alliance, announced last week, features resources, case studies, webinars and virtual “office hours” and brings together special education and technology organizations, such as the National Center for Learning Disabilities and the International Society for Technology in Education. Read more at Education Dive.


Closed Schools Are Creating More Trauma For Students

The high school senior sitting across from Franciene Sabens was in tears over the abrupt amputation of her social life and turmoil at home. Because of the coronavirus, there will be no prom, no traditional send-off, or ceremony for the graduates of Carbondale Community High School in Carbondale, Ill. And Sabens, one of the school’s counselors, could not give the girl the one thing Sabens’ gut told her the teen needed most.

“I want to hug them all, but I really wanted to hug that one,” Sabens remembers. Read more at NPR.

The Damaging Effects of Cannabis
on the ADHD Brain

Cannabis use has grown in popularity among people with ADHD, some of whom report that marijuana helps them manage symptoms of anxiety, rejection sensitive dysphoria, and poor sleep without a prescription medication. What many teens and adults do not realize is that cannabis consumption is associated with dangerous risks — like cannabis use disorder — that disproportionately affect ADHD brains. Read more at ADDitude Magazine.

Support for Kids With ADHD During the Coronavirus Crisis

Families everywhere are struggling to care for (and homeschool!) children cut off from their normal routines and activities during the coronavirus crisis. Kids with ADHD may need extra structure and support to manage attention and behavior challenges and keep on track with learning in this challenging situation.

Here are suggestions from ADHD experts for helping kids with ADHD weather this storm: Read more at Child Mind Institute.


Lessons to Teach Teens Before They Leave Home

A couple of years ago, I wrote a letter to my teen who was leaving home. It was written in one of those 2 o’clock in the morning moments of clarity (laced with a little panic).

It’s a great check-list for all parents of complex kids to use as you begin to help your child understand the different ways that she’ll have to take care of things for herself. It was written so that you can personalize the article, print it out, and start a conversation with your teen. Read more at Impact ADHD.


Under the Table and Teaching: 11 Expert Tips for Schooling Kids with ADHD from Home

Unschooling. Homeschooling. Crisis schooling. What is the difference? And what are the best learning strategies for your child with ADHD at this stressful time? Here are tips and strategies from education experts who understand the distinctions and today’s inescapable realities. Read more at ADDitude Magazine.

7 Guiding Principles for Parents Teaching From Home

As millions of students across the K-12 spectrum shift to at-home learning because of the coronavirus threat in the United States, parents are scrambling to understand their new role as surrogate teachers. It will require equal parts patience and tenacity. “This is going to be messy,” wrote educational leadership professor Jennifer Weiner in The New York Times, before giving parents and teachers permission to try and fail “and that is OK.”  Read more at Edutopia.

The Educational Skills Parents Should Focus On During The Pandemic Aren’t What You Think

You are not alone.

We’re trying to be employees, teachers, and parents, and it’s burning us out.

My sister, a teacher of 18 years (with three preteens of her own) said she is getting panicked emails from parents worrying they are not doing a “good enough job,” that “they are still on chapter 5,” and they are “emotionally exhausted” trying to teach, parent and work (while stressing about finances). Read more at Scary Mommy.

DIY Ways to Meet a Child’s Sensory Needs at Home

Occupational therapists and trauma-informed teachers weigh in on how to create sensory tools and spaces with what you have at home. Read more at Edutopia.


When a Child’s Emotions Spike, How Can a Parent Find Their Best Self?

With families around the world spending unprecedented amounts of time in close quarters – and under varying degrees of stress – emotions can run high.

In good times and in hard times, parents can take steps to help their children strengthen their emotional competence.  As parents, “we are co-creating the emotion system for our kids” says Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and author of “Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive.” Read more at KQED.

How to Motivate an Unmotivated Child, with Michael Delman

How many of us have thrown our hands up in exasperation or helplessness when our kids simply won’t engage, despite having all the tools and strategies at their disposal? Listen as executive function expert Michael Delman gives us the missing piece we’ve been needing, to motivate an unmotivated child. Read more at Bright & Quirky.


Squad App: Video Chat & Screen Share
(Parent Review)

Many students enjoy sending screenshots to their friends of everything from social media posts and memes to online videos. The Squad app saves them a step. It allows friends to share their screens while they video chat with friends. Squad lets users watch YouTube and TikTok videos together and comment in real time. But friends aren’t the only people connecting and sharing content on Squad. The app makes it extremely easy for users to connect with strangers and to see anything on the internet that anyone feels like sharing. Read more at Smart Social.


What to Do If COVID-19 Information Is Affecting Your Anxiety

As we are exposed to both the potential health impact and the media coverage of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), new-to humans virus that causes respiratory infection and can lead to serious or fatal health complications, many of us shelter in place and may also struggle with financial, food or shelter insecurity. Many professions are on the front lines and people risk contact with this virus every day. Read more at The Mighty.

A Trauma Psychologist Weighs in on the Risks of ‘Motivational’ Pressure During Quarantine

A “motivational” message has been circulating during the coronavirus lockdown, which is allegedly supposed to kick our butts into gear since most of us now have more time on our hands.

Here’s one version:

On its face, it may sound logical. We often don’t do things because we lack time—or think we do—so now that we supposedly have more time, we should be doing those things now, right? Read more at Upworthy.

How to Help Teens Handle the Loss of Proms and Graduations

Yesterday at dinner, one of my children was sad and irritated. She was offended by our mere existence.

“What’s wrong with her now?” one of the other kids asked unkindly, to no one in particular.

Like many young people around the world, this is a kid who has weathered some deep disappointments in the last month. She was studying at an art school, a once-in-a-lifetime semester program, when COVID-19 hit. Classes aren’t the same when you don’t have the materials, studio, and equipment you need for printmaking, sculpture, and developing your film. Read more at Greater Good.

Feeling Embarrassed? Here’s the Right Way to Overcome It

We all get embarrassed. Stupid sentences fly out of our mouths. We’re met with the blaring sound of alarms when we open fire doors by mistakes. We do that weird oh-no-after-you dance with strangers on the sidewalk. Someone tells a story about you that makes your face go flush. Embarrassment is aggravating and humbling, yes. But it can also be insidious. It can cause us to wake up in the middle of the night with the same hot shame we felt when we spoke out of turn, were mocked, or messed up. The feeling can linger for days, years, or even decades. It’s entirely unproductive. And, unchecked, it can turn into deep feelings of shame or guilt.

Still, it’s hard to own up to feeling embarrassed. Read more at Fatherly.


The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: A Different World

While the coronavirus pandemic has changed many things around the world, it has not stopped child development. In this series of special episodes of The Brain Architectspodcast, we aim to share helpful resources and ideas in support of all those who are caring for children while dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.

The first guest of this special series is Center Director Dr. Jack Shonkoff. He and host Sally Pfitzer discuss how to support healthy child development during a pandemic, including the importance of caring for caregivers. They also talk about what we’ve already learned as a result of the coronavirus, and what we hope to continue learning. Read more and listen at the Center on the Developing Child.

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!