Tag Archives: Learning Accommodations

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 

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Empaths on the Autism Spectrum – Autism and Empathy

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum – Autism and Empathy.

Please note, the original link provided in this posting is no longer active. I have found updated links, which can be found below. Sorry for the inconvenience.  – John.

We’ve often heard that people with Autism lack social empathy. That people with autism have no emotional connections to others and lack the ability to have compassion. 

However, new research has proven that this belief is nothing more than a myth. 

The Same As Everyone Else.

The study, Divergent Roles of Autistic and Alexithymic Traits in Utilitarian Moral Judgments in Adults with Autism , was published in Nature, the Journal of Scientific Reports in March of 2016. From the Discussion section of the report, “Therefore, we maintain that the current findings hint at non-verbal intelligence as a compensatory strategy that high-functioning autistics rely on while endorsing moral choices that are in line with prevalent socio-moral norms.”

Also worth noting is the finding that people with ASD were more averse to causing harm to others, even if the decisions would produce better results.

Easier To Read Summaries.

The report itself is very clinical in it’s writing style and may be difficult to read fully. There are some excellent summaries about the findings, which I have linked below.

It is important that this information be shared on social media to counter the incorrect stereotypes that have been prevalent over the past decades. People with ASD are exactly the same emotionally as those who are considered ‘normal’.

We May Have Been Wrong About Autism And Empathy – HuffPost Summary

People with Autism Can Read Emotions, Feel Empathy – Scientific American