A Recipe For Success For Education Advocacy

Neuro-Educational Science Supports the

Call to Social Justice

Special education advocacy, particularly for students with learning disabilities, represents a critical intersection of social justice and cutting edge research in neuro-educational science. At present, there's an alarming disconnect between research and practice, spanning decades. This chasm underscores the urgent need to understand special education not merely as a prescriptive curriculum, but as a comprehensive approach rooted in understanding how the brain learns.

Education advocacy, especially for students with learning disabilities, is a lot like gourmet cooking. You need:

  • The Right Ingredients { research in neuro - educational science - how they learn} and know how they work together with specific research-based curriculums that address a specific learning need.

  • The Right Chef {skilled educator} to whip up the ingredients. It is not just following the recipe. What if you are at a high altitude- the recipe changes- what if you have to substitute ingredients - what is equivalent?

  • A Satisfying Meal {a meaningful independent functional outcome for a student, commensurate with their ability}.

The problem right now, however, is that we've got this wonderfully intricate recipe book (Neuro-Educational Science) and are still trying to make basic toast. In fact, sometimes we are just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. We throw regulations and IDEA around, but they are based on neuro-educational science. So as long as we focus on the law when we develop IEP's, we are participating in an error in approach. We did not translate the issues that these regulations address and put them in "educationese" / language and steps so that the system/ IEP teams (not just teachers) could address the individual needs of each child and have them access our curriculums and make progress commensurate with their abilities. You must know the underpinings of these regulations to get IEP development and management correct. Let's face it, no one really likes throwing spaghetti - an approach to education without research - just to see if it is right.


Neuro-Education Research

Many teachers, unfortunately, resemble contestants on those popular cooking shows, scrambling to prepare a gourmet dish without the right tools or understanding of the recipe. They have not attended the Neuro-Education Science Research Culinary Academy.


Teachers are often inadequately equipped, lacking the necessary tools and the conceptual understanding fundamental to neuro-education science of how a child learns.  We've handed them a blow torch and told them to roast marshmallows. They are left to bridge the divide without the proper support. This gap between scientific understanding and educational application and curriculums must be closed. Just so you know, the research, programming, and information is out there - we just don't teach our teachers about it.


 "Neuroscience is by far the most exciting

branch of science, because the brain

is the most fascinating object in the universe. 

Every human brain is different - the brain makes each man

unique and defines who he or she is".

                                                          Stanley B Prusiner


Every learner is a unique cocktail of cognitive and developmental learning juices. Every learner is unique, with different developmental and cognitive baselines. Only by focusing on these individualities do we lay the groundwork for a more inclusive and equitable system. It's like snowflakes - if you have seen one, you definitely have not seen them all!! Now, if we manage to focus on these individualities, we can create an education buffet that caters to all palates- to all ways of learning. To achieve this, we must confront the historical and philosophical factors that have perpetuated systemic inequalities.


"There is no scientific study more vital to man

than the study of his own brain.

Our entire view of the universe depends on it." 

Francis Crick


A pivotal part of this understanding is distinguishing between a justified belief- research based knowledge, which may feel counterintuitive at times, and mere opinions, often based on myths and biases. Everyone has a different cognitive and neural blueprint, but diversity in learning doesn't have to imply deficits or disabilities. Proper application of research-based interventions substantially altersa student's educational trajectory, touching all areas- from reading and math to social-emotional learning and life skills.


"Education is cumulative, and it affects the breed.   PLATO


NSEAI's online courses efficiently lead parents and professionals to an expert level of education advocacy in just 12 days of on-demand courses that you can do at your convenience.









Marie Lewis is an author, consultant, and national speaker on best practices in education advocacy. She is a parent of 3 children and a Disability Case Manager, Board Certified Education Advocate, and Behavior Specialist Consultant. She has assisted in the development of thousands of IEPs nationally and consults on developing appropriately individualized IEPs that are outcome-based vs legally sufficient. She brings a great depth of expertise, practical experience, and compassion to her work as well as expert insight, vision, and systemic thinking. She is passionate and funny and she always inspires and informs.


MJ Gore has an MEd in counseling and a degree in elementary education and natural sciences. She worked as a life-skills and learning support teacher She has been honored with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She is the Director and on the faculty at the National Special Education Advocacy Institute. Her passion is social justice, especially in the area of education. She is a Board Certified Education Advocate who teaches professional advocates, educators, and clinicians the best practices in education advocacy.]

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