Spectrum: DeVos rankles autism community

Autism researchers and advocates alike are sounding the alarm as President Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. secretary of education — billionaire Betsy DeVos — heads to the Senate floor for confirmation. DeVos, they say, is unqualified and unfamiliar with the policies that most affect the rights and education of children with autism.

DeVos’ stake in the company shows a lack of judgment, and raises concerns that taxpayer money could be funneled to the for-profit company, critics say.

“This is a woman who believes there’s nothing wrong with promoting this [treatment] and profiting from it,” says Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association.

García says she could envision a scenario in which schools might use federal funds to pay for questionable treatments such as the Neurocore approach rather than proven behavioral therapies. “This should alarm anybody — whether you have children or not — who cares about mental health,” she says.

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