TECA Insights | Vol. 99 | July 16, 2019
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Hi Folks,

We are deep into summer now with all that entails – intense heat, dazzling sunlight, long days, cookouts, corn on the cob, fireflies, swimming, the smell of sunscreen and bug spray, thunderstorms, melting ice cream cones, and time away from school.  I love everything about it.

Summer has always been my favorite time of year. I just feel more relaxed, even when I am busy with work. I get vicarious pleasure from my kids’ thrill of being out of school. I also recall with great fondness my idyllic childhood summers spent out of the city, living a very different life in the country.

For many years, my parents rented an old ramshackle farmhouse. My brother and I spent our days exploring the barns and outbuildings, picking wild berries, walking to the general store to buy penny candy, chopping wood and building campfires, going to the swimming hole, climbing trees, playing Wiffle ball and Frisbee, helping out in the vegetable garden, riding our bikes, and BEGGING our mom to take us to Howe Cavern. Read the full post at TECA2e.org.

Please note, during the summer, we will publish the newsletter once a month. When the school year resumes in September, we will publish the newsletter every other week.

Have a wonderful summer!


Maratea Cantarella
TECA Executive Director
Early Bird Registration is Open!
SENG 2019 Annual Conference
Exploring New Frontiers

Houston TX July 19th – 21st
Information & Registration

Why Aren’t Schools Teaching Social Skills?

The fact of the matter is, making friends at school is not an added bonus or a special treat — it is an absolute must for every child, particularly those with learning differences that make social skills tough to master. Building relationships is a vital life skill — one for which schools should be providing interventions, supports, and instruction. Here are some ways to get educators to help. Find the complete article at Additude.

Is Your Child’s School Gaslightting You?

In recent months, the term ‘gaslighting’ has entered our daily conversation and it got me to thinking and reflecting on my time as a parent of school-age gifted children. Traditionally, gaslighting refers to spousal relationships, but take a look at this list of signs you’re being gaslighted. Find the list and article from Gifted Parenting Support.


Why Science Says Boredom Is Good for the Brain

A few years ago, journalist and podcaster Manoush Zomorodi hit a creative slump. After some reflection, she figured out why: Strange as it sounds, she wasn’t getting bored enough. Read more from EdSurge News.

Aggression Detectors:
The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students

Ariella Russcol specializes in drama at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, New York, and the senior’s performance on this April afternoon didn’t disappoint. While the library is normally the quietest room in the school, her ear-piercing screams sounded more like a horror movie than study hall. But they weren’t enough to set off a small microphone in the ceiling that was supposed to detect aggression. Learn more from ProPublica.

Can Neurodiversity Defeat Doublethink?

Last year, the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg stood on the steps of her country’s Parliament to urge radical action on climate change. Her unusually blunt, unsparing statements quickly attracted a mass following. She argues her Asperger’s was vital to that success—that if she wasn’t “so strange,” as she once described herself to an interviewer, she “would have been stuck in this social game everyone else seems so infatuated with,” instead of telling hard truths about how much people in rich countries will need to give up to significantly cut carbon emissions. Read the rest of this article in The Atlantic.

Climate Change Is Scaring Kids. Here’s How to Talk to Them.


Psychologists say the way parents and teachers talk about climate change with children has an effect on their young psyches.

“A lot of people, when they talk to kids, are processing their own anxiety and fears,” said John Fraser, a psychologist and chief executive of NewKnowledge, a social science think tank that studies health and the environment. “Do you think kids won’t be scared, too? As a culture, we haven’t developed good tools to talk about these things.” Access the full article in the New York Times.

Growing Up Ethan

How do you find independence when you’re coming of age with autism?

In the fall of 2006, when I reached out to the Floquet-McGovern family as part of a photography project about raising children on the autism spectrum, I thought I’d spend one afternoon at their house in western Massachusetts. I spent 12 years with them instead. Over the next decade, I kept traveling from my home in Providence, R.I., to watch Super Bowls with them, ride around in their minivan, sleep on the floor of their hotel room, attend their school concerts, trick-or-treat with them, and sing karaoke in their basement. Continue reading in the New York Times.


For Parents Of Young Black Men With Autism, Extra Fear About Police

Lorraine Spencer has been watching the news from Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black 18-year-old was shot and killed by police, and worrying about her own son’s safety. Jermaine is 16 years old and bi-racial, with a dark complexion. He also has autism and wants to be more independent, especially as he nears adulthood. Read or listen at NPR.

NYC vows to address special education failures detailed in state review. But will their reforms go far enough?

In the wake of a scathing state report that found failures at virtually every level of New York City’s special education system, city officials acknowledged some flaws and pledged to address them in a response released Tuesday. Find out more at Chalkbeat.


The Rise of the Professional Dungeon Master

On a recent Friday evening, Devon Chulick stood in the kitchen of his San Francisco apartment brewing potions. A dry-erase game board with a grid of black squares to assist in drawing maps was laid neatly across the coffee table in the living room, along with a dozen or so miniature elves, wizards, and drow rogues, which had been released from their Tupperware prisons. Read the complete article from Bloomberg Businessweek.


Misplaced Expectations? The Confusion Between Bright and Gifted Children

Over the last two decades, the phrase “gifted” has become synonymous with “academically successful.” Unfortunately, while it’s true that some gifted kids are excellent students, this association has led to a great deal of confusion for parents, teachers, and students alike. Contrary to popular belief, giftedness does not predict—let alone guarantee—a child’s level of academic aptitude. Furthermore, many non-gifted kids make exemplary scholars. Find the entire article in The Time of Israel. 

Bright Talented & Black
A Guide for Parents of African American Gifted Learners

Discrimination in gifted services has a deep and painful history. “Some in the field recognize that gifted programs came about around the same time that schools were being forced to integrate,” Davis says. The NAGC, for example, celebrates its 62nd year this year. Brown vs. the Board of Education was first argued in 1952. “The place you’re most likely to find segregation in this country is in gifted services. Read the complete article in Black Enterprise.

Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals

It has been my experience that gifted and talented persons are more likely to experience a type of depression referred to as existential depression. Although an episode of existential depression may be precipitated in anyone by a major loss or the threat of a loss which highlights the transient nature of life, persons of higher intellectual ability are more prone to experience existential depression spontaneously. Sometimes this existential depression is tied into the positive disintegration experience referred to by Dabrowski (1996). Learn more from SENG.


5 Ways to Support Siblings in Special Needs Families

When Sophie Kleinhandler was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder at 8, one thing that meant a lot to her was the support of her sister Rachel. Keep reading this article from Child Mind Institute.

Stimming, Therapeutic for Autistic People, Deserves Acceptance

Rhythmic, repetitive behaviors are a hallmark of autism. Hand-flapping, spinning in circles, body rocking, vocalizations such as grunting and muttering, and other habits can be disquieting to people unfamiliar with them. Scientists and clinicians have long puzzled over what these behaviors mean — and how to respond to them. Learn more from Spectrum.

What Is Social Anxiety?

When you’re a teen you start being more aware of what other people think. There seems to be a “right” thing to wear, or say, or do. There also seem to be things that you shouldn’t do—things that could be embarrassing, or lose you points with friends. This can lead to social anxiety. Find out more from Child Mind Institute.

You Call It Starvation. I Call It Biohacking.

We live in a time of wellness not as health but as transcendence. It’s not a coincidence that all of the supposed cures of wellness-adjacent diet hacking hinge on extreme behavior — fasting, or that daily coffee you put special butter in. The appeal of this brand of wellness has very little to do with being healthy. After all, most of what maintaining good health requires feels pretty good: eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, practice everything in moderation (even moderation), etc. With “biohacking,” the effects are ephemeral and the health claims are dubious. But what these crude approaches do offer is a sense of control in the moment — a way to tell yourself that you’re willing some change into being. Read the complete article in The New York Times.


Stop Calling Kids with Autism “High” or “Low” Functioning

I have a bone to pick with the terms “high functioning” and “low functioning” for kids on the spectrum. Keep reading at Parents.

The Painfully High Price of Autistic Masking

Hello, I’m Jaime, and I’m an autistic woman.  As an autistic woman of a certain age (I’m 39), I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s when, in order to be seen as autistic, you absolutely had to be three things: 1) A child. 2) Nonverbal. 3) A boy. Read more at The Aspergian.

When Siblings Won’t Stop Fighting

Anyone with more than one child knows that even siblings who are the best of friends can still get on each other’s nerves. And it’s certainly understandable — they’re forced to live under the same roof and spend much of their free time together. Inevitably, they are competing for limited attention and resources. Who wouldn’t get irritated in that situation, at least once in a while? Continue reading at Child Mind Institute.

Dr. Melissa Neff On Supporting Adults Newly Identified As Differently Wired

In this week’s episode, I’m interviewing Melissa, and we talk about the unique challenges of going through this discovery process as an adult, as well as considerations regarding diagnoses, therapy, and the parent/child relationship. In Part 2 of the series, I talk with four differently wired adults—Copper, Bill, Emma, and Nathan—all raising differently wired children, and all still very much in the thick of reconciling their own life experiences and neurodifferences and figuring out how to best move forward in a way that supports them and their families. Listen to Debbie Reber’s podcast interview with Dr. Neff at Tilt Parenting.

Healthy Limits on Video Games

The vast majority of children and adolescents in the United States play video games. Although many children play them in moderation, without adverse consequences, others become obsessed with gaming. Parents may become worried when a child is neglecting homework to play games, or is staying up all night gaming and is too tired to get up for school the next day. Some parents notice that their child rarely socializes in person with others and spends all free time on video games. Some children start to cover up how much they are playing. Find more information and strategies from Child Mind Institute.


On Being a Woman Who Loves Math

All my life I’ve been aware of the disheartening fact that as a society, we generally find intellect off-putting in women, and do our best to squash it. Growing up, I found it exasperating, but also often went along with it—sometimes not even aware that I was doing so. When I was in middle school, I was invited to enroll in an accelerated math program at a nearby university where I would take four years of high school math in two, starting in eighth grade, which was also the year Teen Talk Barbie came out—she is mostly remembered for uttering the phrase, “Math class is tough!” Continue reading at Literary Hub.

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!