Timeline of Key Dates in the History of Special Education in the U.S.

Timeline created by rmdematta
In History
  • American Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb

    American Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb
    1817 – Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet becomes principal of the American Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, the first residential school in the U.S.
  • New England Asylum for the Blind

    New England Asylum for the Blind
    Samuel Gridley Howe establishes the New England Asylum for the Blind
  • Braille Code

    Braille Code
    In 1834, Louis Braille publishes the Braille code
  • First Teacher Training Program

    In 1839, the first teacher training program opens in Massachusetts
  • Massachusettes School for Idiotic and Feeble Minded Children

    Massachusettes School for Idiotic and Feeble Minded Children
    1848 - Samuel Gridley Howe establishes the Massachusettes School for Idiotic and Feeble Minded Children
  • First public school class for children with hearing impairments open in Boston

    1869 - First public school class for children with hearing impairments open in Boston
  • First Professional Association

    1876 – Edouard Seguin helps to organize the first professional association concerned with disabilities (mental retardation), predecessor to today’ American Association on Mental Retardation
  • National Education Association establishes a section for teachers of children with disabilities

    1897 – National Education Association establishes a section for teachers of children with disabilities
  • Elizabeth Farrel

    Elizabeth Farrel
    1898 – Elizabeth Farrel, later to become the first president of the Council for Exceptional Children, begins a program for “backwards” or “slow learning” children in New York City
  • Training Programs

    1904 – The Vineland Training School in New Jersey inaugurates training programs for teachers of students with mental retardation
  • Standford-Binet Scale of Intelligence

    Standford-Binet Scale of Intelligence
    1916 – Louis Terman publishes the Standford-Binet Scale of Intelligence
  • Training program for Gifted

    1920 – Teachers College, Columbia University, begins training program for teachers of pupils who are gifted
  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

    1922 – Organization that later would become the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is founded in New York City
  • Seeing Eye Dogs

    Seeing Eye Dogs
    1928 – Seeing Eye dogs for the blind are introduced in the United States
  • First Compulsory Law

    1936 – First Compulsory law for testing the hearing of school-age children is enacted in New York
  • United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)

    United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)
    1949 – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) association is founded
  • Association for Retarded Children (ARC)

    1950 – Association for Retarded Children (ARC) is founded (known today as the Association for Retarded Citizens, or simply the Arc)
  • National Association for Gifted

    1953 – National Association for Gifted is founded
  • Association for Children with Learning Disabilities

    1963 – Association for Children with Learning Disabilities (forerunner to Learning Disabilities Association of America) is organized
  • Wolf Wolfensberger

    Wolf Wolfensberger
    1972 – Wolf Wolfensberger introduces the concept of normalization, initially coined by Begt Nirge of Sweden, to the United States
  • Public Law 93-112

    1973 – Public Law 93-112, the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is enacted; Section 504 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities
  • Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142)

    1975 – Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) is passed; landmark legislation ensures, among other provisions, a free and appropriate public education for all children with disabilities
  • Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142)

    1975 – Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) is passed; landmark legislation ensures, among other provisions, a free and appropriate public education for all children with disabilities
  • Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1986 (PL 99-457)

    1986 – Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1986 (PL 99-457) is enacted; mandates a special education for pre-schoolers with disabilities and incentives for providing early intervention services to infants and toddlers
  • Americans with DIsabilites Act (PL 101-336)

    1990 – Americans with DIsabilites Act (PL 101-336) becomes law; prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability
  • PL 10-476

    1990 – PL 10-476, the Individials with Disabilities Education Act (commonly known as IDEA) is passed; among other provisions, emphasizes transition planning for adolescents with disabilities
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PL 105-117)

    1997 – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PL 105-117) is reauthorized, providing a major retooling and expansion of services for students with disabilities and their families
  • No Child Left Behind

    All students including those with disabilities should be proficient in math and reading by the year 2014.
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

    American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
    Signed by President Barack Obama, this campaign promises "funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" and 12.2 billion dollars in additional funds
  • IDEA Reauthorized

    IDEA Reauthorized
    Students with diabilities are now required to be included on state and district-wide assesments. Regular Education Teachers are to be included on the IEP team.
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    Important Years

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    Years Observed