Tag Archives: Dysgraphia

Special Parents Confidential 54 Neurocore and the Education Secretary

Neurocore and the Education Secretary

The new Eduction Secretary of the United States has caused some controversy in the past months since her appointment over her views on special education, and her financial ties to a company called Neurocore. Specifically, she seems to have no interest in special education at all. Indeed, one of the first actions that took place after her appointment was the removal of all special education information from the Department of Education website. That information has since been restored, but it is still troubling. It should also be noted that this is the first time ever that an entire section of the United States Education Department’s website was deleted and only restored after public outcry. While it was claimed that there had been a simple mistake during the transition from one administration to another, many were quick to point out that this had never happened before in the entire history of the department during either administrative transitions, or otherwise.

Education and Special Education?

Further troubling is that Betsy DeVos’ only answer to any questions about the future of education in America, including special education, is to state her belief that, “parents have the right to choose what school they want their kids to attend”, and that, “states have the right to decide what that education will be”. Seemingly, without any federal government oversight. If that is truly the case, where does that leave special education, and the oversight of IDEA – the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, that was implemented by Congress in 1991 and has been administered by the Education Department in since then?

What Is Neurocore?

During her confirmation hearings it was revealed that Mrs. DeVos and her family are the majority owners of Neurocore – a brain training program that has been hyped as a way for people with learning challenges to succeed. (They are also majority shareholders in several for-profit Charter School corporations, which we addressed in SPC Episode 43 with Kristen Totten of the Michigan ACLU.)

Our Guest: Ulrich Boser

Back in May of this year an article appeared in the Washington Post, written by our guest for this episode, Ulrich Boser. He investigated Neurocore, went to one of the Neurocore Centers to have an exam done, and checked out their findings with medical doctors and education experts. He talks about the concerns about Neurocore’s claims of success, and the problems caused by Mrs. DeVos’ financial ties to the company.

Links Mentioned in the Podcast:

Ulrich Boser’s Website and Blog

Ulrich Boser’s profile at the Center for American Progress

The article about Neurocore in the Washington Post 

Learn Better – The book about how we learn, mentioned in the podcast 

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. Use the social media buttons below to make sharing easier.

Special Parents Confidential 42 Understanding Learning Disorders Part 2

Understanding Learning Disorders Part 2.

ADD. ADHD. Dyslexia. Dysgraphia. Dyscalculia. Understanding learning disorders might be one of the most difficult challenges any parent can face. We’ve known about these disorders for centuries, and the medical names for them have been in place for decades. But there’s still a lot of misinformation and incorrect beliefs when it comes to learning disorders. And these incorrect beliefs can cause a lifetime of needless problems for those who have learning disorders.

This Episode Is Part Two.

My guest for these episodes has such a large amount of information and research to share that the interview I recorded with him took over two and a half hours. I had to split the interview into two episodes because if I had tried to post the original recording in it’s entirety, the file size exceeds the limit that my web hosting service allows.

Dr. John McCaskill, of McCaskill Family Services in the Detroit, MI area, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in learning disorders. He’s spent years researching the causes and the affects of learning disorders, and has done extensive work in finding the right solutions and therapies. The one thing he makes clear is that so much of what we think we know about learning disorders is incorrect or misleading. Dr. McCaskill fully explains his methods of research and breaks down exactly how learning disorders affect those who have them.

Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and Other Learning Disorders.

In this episode, Dr. McCaskill talks about Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, and other learning disorders. He breaks down exactly what each disorder is, how it affects those who have it, and what kinds of treatments and therapies can help. He also discusses how to advocate for your special needs child with schools to make sure the school is offering not just the appropriate help, but the correct kinds of help; how families need to ensure that they are also supporting kids with special needs the right way at home; and how parents can make sure they are finding the right kinds of therapies and treatments for their kids outside of school. 

As always, please share this episode with everyone you know. Just use the social media buttons at the bottom of this posting.

Further Information.

McCaskill Family Services Located in the Detroit, Michigan Area.

Special Parents Confidential 41 Understanding Learning Disorders Part 1

Understanding Learning Disorders Part 1.

ADD. ADHD. Dyslexia. Dysgraphia. Dyscalculia. Understanding learning disorders might be one of the most difficult challenges any parent can face. We’ve known about these disorders for centuries, and the medical names for them have been in place for decades. But there’s still a lot of misinformation and incorrect beliefs when it comes to learning disorders. And these incorrect beliefs can cause a lifetime of needless problems for those who have learning disorders.

This Episode Is Part One.

My guest for these episodes has such a large amount of information and research to share that the interview I recorded with him took over two and a half hours. I had to split the interview into two episodes because if I had tried to post the original recording in it’s entirety, the file size exceeds the limit that my web hosting service allows.

Dr. John McCaskill, of McCaskill Family Services in the Detroit, MI area, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in learning disorders. He’s spent years researching the causes and the affects of learning disorders, and has done extensive work in finding the right solutions and therapies. The one thing he makes clear is that so much of what we think we know about learning disorders is incorrect or misleading. Dr. McCaskill fully explains his methods of research and breaks down exactly how learning disorders affect those who have them.

Learning Differently.

In this first part of the interview, Dr. McCaskill discusses the many misconceptions and incorrect beliefs about learning disorders. People with learning disorders are not lazy. They’re not deliberately refusing to learn. They have, according to Dr. McCaskill, ‘glitches in the brain’ that causes them to learn differently, and given the correct methods, they can be educated just as successfully as those who don’t have those issues. He also goes into great detail about ADD and ADHD, what Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is, and just as importantly, what it is not.

As I say in my introduction to this episode, what you’re about to hear is nothing short of a master class in learning disorders. 

Of course please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. Just use the social media buttons at the bottom of this posting.

Further Information:

McCaskill Family Services, located in the Detroit Michigan Metro Area.

Special Parents Confidential Episode 19 Understood Dot Org

Understood Dot Org

One of the major benefits of the Internet is the amazing amount of information that is available on virtually any subject you might want to know about. The problem is trying to figure out what information is accurate and what information is nonsense, especially when the nonsense information comes disguised as something credible. This is especially true for parents of special needs children who are trying to find reliable and accurate information for their children. There are far too many websites containing unproven information, fake cures, and outright lies about various learning disabilities, special needs disorders, and treatment options.

Thankfully many groups and organizations are counteracting these fraudulent sites with accurate, evidence-based research sites that have peer-reviewed, credible information. And many of them are doing everything they can to make it easier to get the accurate information that parents need. One such site is Understood.org.

About two years ago a group of fifteen different organizations, including the National Center for Learning Disabilities, The Parents Education Network, Learning Disabilities Association of America, Common Sense Media, and others, decided to combine their resources for parents and educators to be able to access the latest tools and information for children with learning disabilities. Understood’s goal is to help the millions of parents whose children, ages 3–20, are struggling with learning and attention issues. They want to empower them to understand their children’s issues and relate to their experiences.

One of the features on Understood.org are blog articles written by parents and experts, and on this episode of Special Parents Confidential, we are joined by one of Understood’s parent advocate, writer, and contributor, Amanda Morin. Amanda is an education writer and a special education advocate. She uses her experience as an early interventionist, teacher and a special needs parent to inform her work. She has written two books and she is also a parent of three kids, two of whom have learning disabilities. In our interview, she talks about her challenges as a parent, her background in education, and how she began to use her training in special education advocacy to write books and blogs about how to navigate the world of special education.

Here are links to the websites mentioned in the podcast:

Understood

Parenting Special Needs Magazine

Amanda Morin’s Website (which has a link to where you can purchase her books)

Amanda’s Facebook Page

Amanda’s Twitter Feed

As always a reminder that if you like this episode of Special Parents Confidential or any episode we’ve done, please share our site with your friends, family, and all your connections on social media. You can do this easily with the social media buttons located right below this paragraph. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, add us on Google Plus, or any of the other sites like Tumbler, Linked In, Pintrest, Stumble Upon, Reddit, and others. You can also sign up for our email service and have new posts and podcast episodes delivered right to your inbox the moment they’re available online. That form is located to the right of this text.  We’re also on iTunes and Stitcher and if you have a moment, feel free to write a review about our podcast there. Anything you can do to help spread the word about Special Parents Confidential will help us be able to continue these podcasts.

Thanks for your support!

Special Parents Confidential Episode 18 Living With Dyslexia

Special Parents Confidential Episode 18 Living With Dyslexia

Dyslexia is possibly the single most mis-understood of all disabilities. People who don’t have it think that those who do see misspelled words, or letters out of order, or even that they read backwards. But none of that is actually true. People with Dyslexia can recognize letters and words, and even sentences. The real problem is the comprehension component of reading is diminished, or in some cases not there at all.

New research has shown that there is a specific area in the brain that causes Dyslexia and the hope is that new treatments may come from that discovery. But those treatments are still a long way off and in the mean time many children and adults are continuing to struggle. Added to this is the fact that as of right now, March of 2015, only 24 states in America recognize Dyslexia as a learning disability and have specific treatment protocols for school districts to follow. That means that over half of the school age children in the United States who have Dyslexia are not getting the right kind of help, if they’re getting any help at all.

One of the aspects of children with special needs that many people don’t understand is that a child can have more than one specific disorder. A child may have ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, or Downs Syndrome, and also have Dyslexia. But if the main disorder is more prevalent, the Dyslexia may not be recognized or even noticed without a more intensive diagnosis.

Dyslexia is the best known of these disorders, and causes problems with reading comprehension. There is also Dysgraphia, which causes problems with handwriting, and Dyscalculia, which causes problems in mathematics comprehension. Over the next series of podcasts, we’re going to take a closer look at Dyslexia and the related learning disorders to try to get a better understanding of the causes and the treatments.

To begin, I wanted to get a better idea of what it’s like to have Dyslexia and how it affects the ability to read and learn. Fortunately a friend of ours is willing to talk about her challenges. Elizabeth D’Aurora is a third grade elementary school teacher in West Michigan and she has Dyslexia. She talks about some of the problems and difficulties she had in school. As an educator she also discusses treatments and therapies for Dyslexics and their effectiveness. As you’ll learn in this podcast, there is no ‘cure’ for Dyslexia. No one “overcomes Dyslexia”; instead the person learns ways to cope and strategies for learning that can help them in school and beyond.

For more information on Dyslexia and related learning disorders visit Understood.org.

As always a reminder that if you like this episode of Special Parents Confidential or any episode we’ve done, please share our site with your friends, family, and all your connections on social media. You can do this easily with the social media buttons located right below this paragraph. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, add us on Google Plus, or any of the other sites like Tumbler, Linked In, Pintrest, Stumble Upon, Reddit, and others. You can also sign up for our email service and have new posts and podcast episodes delivered right to your inbox the moment they’re available online. That form is located to the right of this text.  We’re also on iTunes and Stitcher and if you have a moment, feel free to write a review about our podcast there. Anything you can do to help spread the word about Special Parents Confidential will help us be able to continue these podcasts.

Thanks for your support!