Tag Archives: Learning Disability

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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Special Parents Confidential 05 Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology. Not so long ago ‘Assistive Technology’ meant a typewriter, special pencil grips, or maybe a cassette tape recorder.

Today, parents of special needs children are constantly being bombarded with new ideas, devices, software programs, and apps that say they can help with our children’s learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and even physical disabilities. There are more choices for Assistive Technology than ever – nearly a million or more Apps at the time we write this – and more on the way.

For parents of special needs children, as well as special education teachers, the biggest challenge is how do you sort out all the available choices, how do you know which ones will work best for which situation, and how do you implement these technologies in the classroom and in your home?

Our guest for this podcast has some answers. Kindy Segovia is the Assistive Technology Coordinator for the Kent Intermediate School District of West Michigan. She’s worked with Assistive Technology for over 20 years and today works with educators and parents in making the right choices on Assistive Technology for nearly every child who needs it. She has some valuable information for anyone who wants to know more about Assistive Technology and how to use it to the best potential.

Links that Kindy mentions in the podcast:

The Family Center on Technology and Disability. The FCTD web site provides thousands of assistive and instructional technology resources of interest to families of children with disabilities.

Michigan’s Integrated Technology Supports. Michigan’s Assistive Technology Project.

You can find other technology support programs for other States here: Assistive Tech Net.

Able Data is a website that can help you find the assistive technology you need.

Kindy’s Assistive Technology Website through the Kent Intermediate School District.

And you can email Kindy at kindysegovia@kentisd.org to join her Assistive Technology email list, and the iPad Tidbit email list.