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 

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

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum – Autism and Empathy

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum – Autism and Empathy.

Follow the above link for some fascinating reading on how even some of the best ‘experts’ on autism may not understand what autism really is, or how those on the spectrum are affected by the disorders.

The basic consensus among ‘experts’ is that people on the Autism spectrum lack empathy. This article, written by a counselor who works with autistic people every single day completely blows that idea out of the water. If anything, according to her findings, autistic people may have too much empathy and ‘neuro-typical’ people are the ones who are not empathic, but rather, counter-empathic.

The article also provides an excellent argument over the term ‘mind-blind’ – which is used to describe autistic people, and how it actually doesn’t really apply to autistic spectrum people and instead should be used to describe ‘neuro-typical’ people. What’s the proof? From the article: common ‘neuro-typical’ behaviors include, “lying about their feelings; avoiding sensitive subjects that are glaringly obvious; leaving important words unsaid; pretending to like things they don’t like; pretending they’re not feeling an emotion that they’re clearly feeling; using language to hide, obscure, and skirt crucial issues; attacking people who frighten them without ever realizing they’re full of fear; stopping all forward progress on a project without ever realizing they’re full of anger and grief; and claiming that they are being rational when huge steamy clouds of emotion are pouring out of them. Neurotypicals are often emotionally exhausting.”

Overall the article makes a strong case for the fact that we may be completely wrong about what is ‘normal’ emotional behavior versus Autistic Spectrum behavior. My favorite line from the article: “Normal people are the ones you don’t know very well yet.”

Click below to read the entire article, and while you’re at it, bookmark the entire site!

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum – Autism and Empathy