TECA Conference

November, 2016

On November 5, the organization TECA (Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy) held a conference in New York, “Building 2e Awareness & Community.” Geared to parents, the conference’s objective was to, in the words of TECA Executive Director Mara Cantarella, “provide information on how to get through the day.” Methods of supporting that objective included:

  • Providing attendees with an in-depth understanding of the issues 2e children and families deal with
  • Providing practical tools and strategies for addressing various challenges
  • Building an interconnected community.

Nearly 100 parents, professionals, and students from the Tri-State area attended for sessions on topics such as building community, finding a school, special ed law, neuropsych evaluations, and social skills. One session, called “Healing the Trauma of 2e Children through Empathy and Love,” focused on how it can be difficult for 2e young people to confront society’s expectations, and the consequent impact on their self-esteem. According to Cantarella, the session presenters showed parents how to develop empathy for what their children experience, and to focus on concepts such as “able-ism” and “adult-ism.”

The keynote speaker was author and blogger  Jen Merrill. According to TECA leaders Cantarella and Melissa Sornik, “Jen  set a wonderful tone for the day, helping us find laughter, joy, and understanding as she gave voice to the unspoken truths we all live and want the rest of the world to know about as we parent our children.” Merrill also led a “storytelling” session late in the day where attendees were encouraged to share 2e family experiences that “regular” parents might not understand or appreciate.

Asked if TECA was planning another conference for next year, Cantarella responded “Absolutely.”  

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