TECA Insights | Vol. 96 | June11, 2019
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Hi Folks,

I have come to the conclusion that June is a crazy month and I just need to accept it. Some schools are already over while others are still winding down. The regularity of our schedule has broken down and frankly, it is driving me a little nuts.

Last week my daughter had two days of school. This week, she has a full week of classes, but the seniors have taken all of their exams and school seems pointless to them. It seems pointless to me too. (Please don’t tell her I said that. Let’s keep it our little secret, okay?)  

At my son’s school, classes ended last week but he has had half days for finals since last Wednesday and he has been late almost every day. Summer vacation feels tantalizingly close and yet we still need to get up early and do the whole morning routine with the waking and reminding and the making of lunches and the pushing out the door. Will it really ever end?!?

With all these schedule changes, I am having a hard time feeling in synch with the day of the week and I am tired. I am trying to get through it all with extra coffee and chocolate but to be honest, they just make me feel even more tired by the end of the day. But then no one, including myself, is going to bed on time. I don’t feel like I have any words of wisdom other than to say that this too shall pass and before we know it, it will be July and we will be getting used to a new routine. I am really looking forward to that. 

So I hope you and your kiddos are hanging in there through this month of transitions and that July brings some sort of routine and relief to you and yours. I am realizing I need stability just as much as my kids do!
I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!


Maratea Cantarella
TECA Executive Director
Early Bird Registration is Open!
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Information & Registration
An Autistic Boy Had a Meltdown at a Theme Park, and an Employee’s Simple Act of Solidarity Went Viral

Lenore Koppelman had a professional conference to attend in Florida last week and decided it would be a perfect opportunity to visit Universal Orlando Resort with her husband and 9-year-old son, Ralph.

“Ralph is awesomely autistic,” she wrote on Facebook, later adding that she and her husband also are proudly autistic. “As wonderful, loving, intelligent and incredible as Ralph is, sometimes he struggles. (Don’t we all?) When he struggles the hardest, he can have something known as an ‘autistic meltdown.’ ” Read more at The Washington Post.

Desperation And Broken Trust When Schools Restrain Students Or Lock Them In Rooms

Every time Jennifer Tidd’s son was secluded or restrained at school, she received a letter from his teachers. Her son has autism and behavioral issues, and over three years — from 2013 to 2016 — Tidd got 437 of those letters. Continue reading or listen on NPR.

The Challenges of Writing Histories of Autism

Autism is a relatively new (and increasingly common) disability, and we don’t yet fully understand it.  The symptoms vary enormously from individual to individual. Severity can range from barely noticeable to totally debilitating. The condition often impairs the ability to read but can also result in “hyperlexia”, a syndrome which involves precocious reading at a very early age but also difficulties in reading comprehension.  Find out more from History News Network.


Rutgers Breaking Ground in Multiple Ways On Adult Autism Services

We hear much about the crisis of securing a productive future for New Jerseyans on the autism spectrum when they “age out” of their educational entitlement at 21. But the Garden State comes up short on resources available to train those who want to work with these adults toward that goal. Access the full story from New Jersey 101.5.


Spotlight on The Autism Program: Helping Central Illinois Families Access Services & Support

It can be really tough to navigate services for a child with autism and get expensive treatments covered by insurance, according to Linda Tortorelli, director of The Autism Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Continue reading or listen at Illinois Public Media News.

Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders coming to Murray State University

A formal Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) is coming to Murray State University later this August. Read the full article at WPSD Local 6.


The High Cost of Undercounting

THE SUPREME COURT IS set to decide this month whether the forthcoming 2020 decennial census will ask respondents if they are U.S. citizens.

The Trump administration wants the so-called citizenship question included in the survey, White House officials have said, in order to better enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But the anticipated undercount of people and poverty, driven by the reluctance of immigrant communities and Hispanic households to complete the census if the citizenship question is included, is expected to have a devastating impact on federal K-12 funding for school districts that serve the most vulnerable students. Learn more from US News.

She Left the Education Dept. for Groups It Curbed. Now She’s Back, With Plans.

Depending on whom you ask, Diane Auer Jones has returned to the Education Department with either a mission or a vengeance.

A little more than a decade ago she resigned as an assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the George W. Bush administration, after protesting the department’s treatment of an accreditor that oversaw religiously affiliated, liberal-arts colleges. Department officials saw accountability in their crackdown; Ms. Jones saw bias against a gatekeeper for nontraditional college degrees. Read more from The New York Times.


Gifted Kids Are Gonna Gift

I shrug a lot, shake my head with a smile, even chuckle. My kids are a blast. They’re different and difficult and quite the handful, but at the end of the day I don’t know what I’d do without the constant excitement of their excitabilities or the quick wit (that also gets them into trouble). They do something in the back seat or an adult comes to tell me something they’ve said, and all I can do is shrug, shake my head, and laugh. Gifted kids, man.

They’re gonna gift. Read more at Raising Lifelong Learners.


Tom remembers the day he decided he wanted to be a theoretical astrophysicist. He was deep into research about black holes, and had amassed a box of papers on his theories. In one he speculated about the relationship between black holes and white holes, hypothetical celestial objects that emit colossal amounts of energy. Black holes, he thought, must be linked across space-time with white holes. “I put them together and I thought, oh wow, that works! That’s when I knew I wanted to do this as a job.” Tom didn’t know enough maths to prove his theory, but he had time to learn. He was only five. Find the complete article from The Economist.

Why Some Practitioners of Walk-and-Talk Therapy Think it is Especially Helpful for Teens

Therapist Jennifer Udler was in the middle of a 50-minute session with a patient when it started to rain. Instead of being in her office, however, she and her teenage patient were outside, walking and talking about anxiety and stress — so they got soaked. But the torrent had an upside. When they made it back indoors, Udler said, “Hey, look at us! We’re fine! We’re a little wet, but, oh well! We got through it! Now you can use that next time you have anxiety before and during an event.” This kind of insight is key to her practice. Read more at The Washington Post.

 The Child Mind Institute Anti-Stigma Campaign

This May actors, athletes, social influencers, businesspeople and more send a message of hope about their experience growing up with a mental health or learning disorder: Help us stop the shame and stigma. Learn more from Child Mind Institute.

5 Things Every Doctor (and Parent) Should Know about Girls and ADD

Today there is greater awareness of the challenges of diagnosing girls with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). Their tendencies to mask their inattentive traits and internalize their feelings make their symptoms harder to recognize. As a result, they are often diagnosed later in life, after comorbidities have begun to interfere with healthy behaviors, when unhealthy coping skills start to undermine their sense of self. Continue reading at ADDITUDE.

Teen Depression Treatment Should Extend Parents’ Marriage
Parents often seek mental health treatment for a child struggling with depression, but the treatment shouldn’t stop with the depressed teen, suggests the study. Find out more from Futurity.

‘It’s OK to not be OK:’ How One High School Saved Lives with a 34-Question Survey

It was 10:30 a.m. on a Monday in April. Nine counselors, psychologists, and therapists sat around a table in a conference room at Cañon City High School in southern Colorado.

In classrooms around the building, the school’s ninth-graders whizzed through an online mental health survey that would soon deliver real-time data to the group in the conference room. They were a triage team of sorts — particularly interested in the answers to question 24, which asked how often students had had thoughts of hurting themselves within the past week. Read more from KQED News.

Tinnitus, Ear Buds & Students

This one is for students.

I have tinnitus. In other words, my ears ring 24/7 and it’s annoying.

I wish I had taken better care of my ears when I was younger, so I made this video to tell my story and hopefully help you make more intentional choices about your ears. Learn more from Executive Function Coach Seth Perler.


College Students (And Their Parents) Face A Campus Mental Health ‘Epidemic’

As colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, a new book argues that college life may be more stressful than ever. Dr. Anthony Rostain, co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives, notes that today’s college students are experiencing an “inordinate amount of anxiety” — much of it centered on “surviving college and doing well.” Read or listen to the full story from KQED News.


Clearing Up Some Misconceptions about Neurodiversity

To my dismay, Simon Baron-Cohen’s recent article “The Concept of Neurodiversity is Dividing the Autism Community” perpetuates a common misunderstanding of the neurodiversity movement: that it views autism as a difference but not a disability. Baron-Cohen presents the issue as one of opposing sides: the medical model, which sees autism as a set of symptoms and deficits to be cured or treated, and the neurodiversity model, which he believes ignores any disabling aspects of autism. Unfortunately, this confuses the neurodiversity movement with the social model of disability, and it is an incomplete understanding of the social model at that. Find the full article from Scientific American. 

Blaming The Parents Of Children With Special Needs

Since the day my first baby was born, I have felt responsible for my children’s differences. Read more from Huffington Post.


Schools reckon with social stress: ‘I’m on my phone so much’

High school biology teacher Kelly Chavis knew smartphones were a distraction in her class. But not even her students realized the psychological toll of their devices until an in-class experiment that, of course, was then spreading on social media. Find the full article from AP News.

‘I Understand Exactly Who He Is’: Moms Discover They Share Autism With Their

Maria Mercado always knew she was different. Growing up in a boisterous Puerto Rican family in the Bronx, Mercado rarely spoke unless challenged or angry. To the outside world, she came across as a smart but shy girl, who learned to read at age 4 and couldn’t keep eye contact. For most of her school years, she had little trouble with academics — despite a severe stutter and constant daydreaming — but struggled in social settings.

Even into adulthood, Mercado sometimes had a hard time verbalizing her thoughts. “Can I say this?” she asked herself. Yet only she appeared to be aware of the problem. She just didn’t understand why. Read more at The Washington Post.


Inside the World of Tannen’s Magic Shop

Tannen’s Magic Store is New York’s oldest operating magic shop and has been supplying magicians with tricks and style since 1925. Having sold items to nearly every famous magician for the last 90 years, the guys in Tannen’s know the tricks of the trade—literally: If you have any reservations or are simply curious about a product, they’ll happily demonstrate its uses for you. Read more, or watch the video at Atlas Obscura.


‘Beautiful Minds’: Science Museum Oklahoma delves into dyslexia with art exhibition

When Holly Wilson reads, she sees a movie.

“It’s a full-blown color, theatrical, super slow-moving movie because I read slow. But I see visually when I’m reading things,” she said. “So, all the way through high school I always kind of felt like I was cheating. Because to study for things, I would literally stare at the page and think of it as a picture, and that way I could reproduce the picture when I needed it to answer the questions on tests.”

The Mustang sculptor, painter and photographer has dyslexia, although she wasn’t diagnosed until college.  Learn more from the Oklahoman.

Former Miss Tulsa, Oklahoma State University student crowned Miss Oklahoma

Addison Price didn’t think she would make it all the way to the finals in the Miss Oklahoma pageant.

“I was praying I would make the 10, praying I would make the five,” she said.

But there she was, in the top two, waiting for the announcement.

“It is the longest minute of your life,” Price said.

But a minute well worth the wait.

She did it. Read or Watch at Fox 25.

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!