Neuroscience Research: Report Reveals Ways Brain Science Could Improve Special Ed.
Neuroscience Research: By Nirvi Shah on July 14, 2011, Via Education Week
Neuroscience research could provide new insights into teaching students with disabilities,
but more needs to be done to connect the scientists studying the brain with special education
researchers and to educators, concludes a new policy analysis from
Project Forum at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.
The report offers several examples of how helpful brain-based research could one day be to
special education, with the caution that “translating brain research into classroom practice
must be handled methodically.”
Despite that note of caution, the analysis emphasizes the importance of using brain research
in special education—and all—classrooms.
“Perhaps the most important lesson is that educational policies and practices … should be
guided by our knowledge of how brains (both typical and atypical) work and learn,” writes
Eve Mueller, who researched the connection between neuroscience and special education
for Project Forum.
The analysis offers some examples of the promise of brain research in the lives of students
with disabilities, such as:
• A better understanding of dyslexia. Brain imaging could help distinguish among students
with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, cognitive impairments, and limited language
exposure. Teachers with this information could determine which brains would respond best
to which therapies.
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