TECA Insights | Vol. 91 | May 7, 2019
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Hi Folks,

Do you ever have those days where you just want to quit? Sometimes I fantasize about saying “I’m out! Get someone else to take care of it!” Because it all seems like too much: The grocery shopping. Scheduling all the appointments.

Making lunches. Having the homework battles. Dealing with the school. Paying bills. Refilling the medications. Reminding your kid to get off their phone. Again. Getting more toilet paper from the linen closet (can’t someone else just do that ONCE?!?) Cleaning out the litter box. Taking care of everyone. Trying to take care of myself. All of it.

I was having one of those mornings today. I was cranky and tired and feeling really sorry for myself. I was angry with myself for scheduling more than I thought I could possibly get done today. Plus I had not cleaned up the kitchen from last night and my son needed an extra snack to bring to school for his track meet – meaning more work for me on a morning where I was already feeling stressed. Then there was the straw that broke the camel’s back – I found a nice, big oily piece of salmon skin on the floor by my desk. Ugh! Disgusting! Read the full post at TECA2e.org.

I hope you enjoyed the rest of the post and that you have a wonderful week!


Maratea Cantarella
TECA Executive Director

“Could I Be on the Autism Spectrum?” The Adults’ Guide to Pursuing an Accurate ASD Diagnosis

Tuesday, June 4th at 1 PM ET

In this free webinar, you will learn:

  • The facts (and myths) about autism in adults
  • Why getting a correct diagnosis at any age makes a difference
  • Common reasons why adults are not diagnosed with ASD
  • Factors contributing to misdiagnosis in adults
  • Similarities and differences between ASD and ADHD
  • The diagnostic criteria for ASD
  • Strategies to improve diagnosis
  • Effective supports and intervention for the individual with ASD
Register at ADDitude


The Bridges 2e Center for Research and Professional Development presents master classes and a symposium in Studio City CA
July 21-26, 2019

Spend six days learning from experts in the 2e field through keynote addresses, nine courses, and workshops across three focus areas

•Leadership for 2e-friendly schools
•Meaningful curriculum and instruction
•Understanding the complex 2e mind

For more information and registration use the link below.


Messy Handwriting: What You Need to Know

  • Messy handwriting in older kids can be a sign of difficulties with motor skills.
  • Poor handwriting can impact learning and self-esteem.
  • There are lots of ways to help kids improve at handwriting.

Most people expect very young children to have messy handwriting. After all, learning to form letters and place them correctly on a page to make words and sentences is a process. It takes time and practice for kids to be able to do it neatly.

But what if your child continues to struggle with handwriting long after other kids have mastered it? Learn more at Understood.

How to Help Yourself Get Organized

Realistic tips for young people, from someone who’s been there.

Missed assignments, lost keys, forgotten birthdays, late arrivals…

If you’re chronically disorganized, you’re probably very used to saying “I’m sorry!” And equally used to people being annoyed with you. That’s because, from the outside, the fallout from organizational difficulties can look like carelessness, laziness, even indifference.  People often assume that if you just tried harder and paid attention this could all be avoided. Read the full article from Child Mind Institute.


Military Appreciation Month

During Military Appreciation Month, we show appreciation for all members of the military and their children and families who also support and serve.

Exceptional military kids experience unique issues, frequent school transfers, different levels of instructional programming, and the emotional issues that accompany the deployment of family members. Access related topics in this special issue from Wrightslaw.

A Resource Guide for Parents
from the Davidson Institute

Twice Exceptional, Doubly Disadvantaged?
How Schools Struggle to Serve Gifted
Students with Disabilities

To Eva Santiago, her son’s education has always felt like an impossible dilemma. Before elementary school, the boy was diagnosed with autism, ADHD and anxiety, and in kindergarten he was placed in a small, self-contained class for kids with disabilities.

But he was articulate and curious, so when he was 6, Santiago took him to be tested for the city’s exclusive gifted-and-talented program. She was pleased when his score earned him one of the coveted spots. Find the full article in The Hechinger Report.

A Medical Condition or Just a Difference? The Question Roils Autism Community.

This year, London’s Southwark Playhouse announced the cast of a new play, “All in a Row.” It was instantly clear this would not be a typical family drama. The play unfolds the night before social services separates a boy named Laurence from his family. Unlike the other three characters, Laurence, a nonverbal autistic and sometimes aggressive 11-year-old, would be portrayed by a child-size puppet. Read more in The Washington Post.

The Inappropriately Excluded

The probability of entering and remaining in an intellectually elite profession such as Physician, Judge, Professor, Scientist, Corporate Executive, etc. increases with IQ to about 133.  It then falls about 1/3 by 140.  By 150 IQ the probability has fallen by 97%!  
In other words, a significant percentage of people with IQs over 140 are being systematically and, most likely inappropriately, excluded from the population that addresses the biggest problems of our time or who are responsible for assuring the efficient operation of social, scientific, political and economic institutions.  This benefits neither the excluded group nor society in general. For society, it is a horrendous waste of a very valuable resource.  For the high IQ person it is a personal tragedy, commonly resulting in unrealized social, educational and productive potential. Access the full article from Polymath.

Jefferson’s Autism-Friendly Initiative Aims to Make Health Care Better for Everyone


A few years ago, author and autism advocate Jennifer Cook O’Toole was at the hospital in excruciating pain. She had just undergone a double-vertebral fusion, her fourth spinal surgery in three years. Her postoperative medication had begun to wear off, and she was barely lucid.

The nurse held up a pain chart, one of those familiar in a hospital setting, with a scale and associated sad or smiling faces — 0 for no pain and a smiling face, 10 for the worst pain possible and a face in extreme distress.  “Can you tell me what your pain level is at right now?” the nurse said, pointing to the chart.

But O’Toole couldn’t. In her mid-30s, she was identified as having autism, and so the numbers and faces did not make sense to her. Continue reading at WHYY.

A Science-Themed Escape Room
Gives the Brain a Workout

A quantum physicist discusses what he learned from starting LabEscape

Professor Schrödenberg is missing, and evil agents want to use her quantum computing research for nefarious purposes. Stopping them is up to you, but completing your mission will require solving some mind-bending puzzles —based on science. Read the entire article from Science News.


Tech Firm’s ‘Superpower Glass’ For Autism Not So Super, Experts Say

The company, Cognoa, announced in February that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had granted the therapy ‘breakthrough status,’ meaning it can move quickly through the agency’s approval process. And an open-label clinical trial published in March suggests that the technology temporarily improved the social skills of a group of 40 autistic children1. But some experts, including several who declined to speak on the record, say the trial was poorly designed and the effects small and temporary. Find out more at Spectrum.

These 20-Year-Olds Developed An App to Help Students with Dyslexia Learn Better

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability found today. At its core, it makes reading – perhaps the most important part of school education – difficult. This is why children with dyslexia often do not get high grades though this has nothing to do with their intelligence. Currently, there are nearly 3.5 crore children with dyslexia studying in schools in India. Read the full article from Editions.

More Than Half of Americans Think Teachers Ill-Equipped to Handle Disruptive Students

Americans are split on whether they think educators have the skills to handle discipline issues in the classroom, according to new Gallup data released Wednesday. Learn more at Education Dive.

K-12 Leaders Unite for ‘Check the Privacy,’ a One-Stop Shop for Safe Classroom Tech

For years, the privacy community has been urging educators to be more intentional—and careful—about introducing new tech tools in their classrooms.
But expecting teachers to wade through the legalese of every vendor’s privacy policy may be too much to ask for. And requesting that they apply for, then wait for approval on, each new app that catches their eye? That can prove tedious and inefficient—especially with most districts now running more than 500 edtech products per month. Even efforts to rate and review products’ privacy features have been stymied, with so much competing, contradictory information now available. Read the full article at EdSurge.

Mentoring Gifted Children: It Takes a Village

Emile, a 13-year old, hates school and is convinced he can’t learn. Worse, he feels—no, he knows—he doesn’t often fit in with his age mates. Although he used to excel in school when he was younger, consistently making all A’s on his report card, Emile is tired of playing the school game, and even more tired of not having like-minded peers to whom he can relate. Despite being recognized for his incredible insight, advanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and other superior intellectual abilities, he is at a crossroads—disillusioned with school and his future. Read more at Crushing Tall Poppies.


For Kids With Anxiety, Parents Learn To Let Them Face Their Fears

The first time Jessica Calise can remember her 9-year-old son Joseph’s anxiety spiking was about a year ago, when he had to perform at a school concert. He said his stomach hurt and he might throw up. “We spent the whole performance in the bathroom,” she recalls. After that, Joseph struggled whenever he had to do something alone, like showering or sleeping in his bedroom. Find the rest of the article from KQED.

When Anxiety Happens As Early As Preschool, Treatments Can Help

When Molly was 10 months old, her parents took her to a Halloween party with other young families. While the other babies explored their surroundings, Molly sat and watched. She’s always been cautious, says Molly’s mom, Rachel. Early on, though, the little girl’s shyness didn’t raise red flags. By the time Molly turned 4, however, life was getting harder — for everyone. Continue reading at Science News.

The Best Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

Breathing is not just a process which allows our bodies to take oxygen. If used right, breathing can be a wonderful tool for relaxation of both the muscles and the mind. You can combine it with some other techniques for stress relief, such as yoga and meditation, to get the best out of both. Learn more at RedOrbit.

The Complete Guide to the Science of Circadian Rhythms

Picture a plant trying to perform photosynthesis at night: Without light, it’s a short drama. “Plants are dealing with life and death,” said Sally Yoo, assistant professor in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Graduate Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), somberly. “If they don’t follow circadian rhythms, they’ll die.” For humans, the prognosis would be slightly less bleak. “Even if you deleted the clock gene [an important gene regulating circadian rhythms], you wouldn’t die immediately,” Yoo said. “But you will suffer.” Likely problems? Constant psychological confusion and heightened risk for chronic disease, among other things. Life’s tough when everything’s out of sync. Read this article in its entirety at M.

Hip-Hop Gave Me Purpose — Now It Helps My Students Find Their Voice

“My studies—and my own experience—taught me that music could heal. Music speaks to all of us.”

Some time ago, I began wondering what the point of life was. Looking inward was something I struggled with, and I didn’t feel well supported. When I sat in my chair, bumping hip-hop music, feeling depression while my child cried, I believed at the time my life was going to be mediocre. Read more at EdSurge.

Oliver Sacks: The Healing Power of Gardens

Even for people who are deeply disabled neurologically, nature can be more powerful than any medication.

As a writer, I find gardens essential to the creative process; as a physician, I take my patients to gardens whenever possible. All of us have had the experience of wandering through a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or an ocean, or climbing a mountain and finding ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. The importance of these physiological states on individual and community health is fundamental and wide-ranging. In 40 years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens. Find the complete Oliver Sacks article in The New York Times.

CCHR Condemns FDA’s Approval of Electricity-Zapping for ‘ADHD’ Kids

Mental health watchdog group says electrical “treatment” creates harm.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a device to zap a low-level electrical pulse through the forehead of 7-12 year olds as treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).[1] But the mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR), says with concern that some psychiatrists have now turned to the FDA to approve a device that “electro-shocks children into docility.” Learn more at Yahoo.

  Behavioral Concerns

Please Stop Saying, “That Kid Just Needs His A** Beat”

I completely believe and understand that children are often a product of their environments. I know that there are children who have terrible behaviors because those behaviors have either been encouraged, modeled, or allowed in their homes. HOWEVER… Do you know how many children are a product of their environment AND their biology? How many kids exhibit behaviors they’ve literally been exposed to because nature can overpower nurture sometimes? Read more at PsychCentral.


Can Manipulating a ‘Social’ Hormone’s Activity Treat Autism?

Opposite approaches to altering the activity of vasopressin in the brain improved some social deficits in people with autism.

Many people with autism have trouble making eye contact, reading the emotions in other faces, and sharing affection. And no drugs are approved to treat such social impairments. Now, results from a small academic clinical trial suggest boosting levels of vasopressin—a hormone active in the brain that’s known to promote bonding in many animals—can improve social deficits in children with autism. But in a confusing twist, a larger, company-sponsored trial that took the reverse approach, tamping down vasopressin’s effects, also found some improvements in adults with autism. Find out more in Science.

How the Story of Dumbo Teaches Kids to Embrace Their ADHD

The story of Dumbo has always been very dear to me, but the story means even more to me now that I have a young child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While watching the delightful new live action film, I couldn’t help but notice many similarities between Dumbo and my daughter. Read more at Yahoo.
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!