Timeline created by Natalie Hannans
In History
  • 1884

    In 1884 the formal training began for teachers of blind persons at Columbia University. In the same year Alexander Graham Bell introduces the term Special Education.
  • 1898

    Training for teachers of students with intellectual disabilities began at the college level.
  • 1905

    Alfred Binet was a French psychologist known for developing the first widely used intelligence test. The test was an instrument that could identify school kids that needed remedial studies. Along with his collaborator, Theodore Simon, they created the Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale which was the basis for modern IQ testing.
  • 1910

    Students labeled as “incorrigible and truants” was soon labeled as Emotional Disturbance (ED) by Horn. At that time segregated classes in the public schools were established as alternatives to instruct children with disabilities.
  • 1920

    On January 1, 1920 the term 'mentally retarded' was introduced in professional literature.
  • 1922

    On August 10, 1922 The International Council for the Education of Exceptional Children was organized by a group of administrators and supervisors attending the summer session at the Teachers College and Columbia University. It was organized by their faculty members as well. The Council began with 12 members in which Elizabeth E. Farrell was the Founder and first President from 1922-26.
  • 1943

    In 1943, Leo Skinner identifies the characteristics of autism. He identifies the characteristics in 11 children.
  • 1944

    Dr. Hans Asperger Hans Asperger was a psychologist of Viennese children. Dr. Hans Asperger published the first definition of Asperger syndrome in 1944. He identified a pattern of behavior and abilities that he called "autistic psychopathy", meaning autism (self) and psychopathy (personality disease), in 4 boys.
  • 1947

    The Willowbrook State School which was a state-run institute opened on October, 1947. The institute admitted 20 mentally disabled patients from upstate institutions. In addition, by 1955 it had reached its capacity of 4,000 and by 1969 were over 6,000 residents.
  • 1954

    On May 17, 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision 9-0 Brown vs. Board of Education, that racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional, even if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality.
  • 1963

    In 1963, while delivering a speech to an education conference, Samuel Kirk and was the first to use and define the term “learning disability”. Sometimes he was called, "The Father of Special Education."
  • 1966

    In 1966, Burton Blatt, a professor at Syracuse University, and Fred Kapla using a hidden camera, to capture life inside the public institutions. They published "Christmas in Purgatory." The publicity led to significant changes in the law and policy.
  • 1967

    In 1967 Congress provides funding to spread best practices for special education. Congress did so by adding Title VI to the Elementary and Secondary Education Acts of 1965 which is also known as (ESEA).
  • 1975

    The Education for All Handicapped Children Act also referred to as EAHCA or EHA (using acronym) was , or Public Law (PL) 94-142 was decreed by the United States Congress in 1975. It was a requirement that all public schools accepting federal funds provided equal access to education and one free meal a day for children with physical and mental disabilities.
  • 1990

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was known as The Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975. In 1990, United States Congress once again approved EAHCA and changed the title to IDEA.This act ensures students with a disability are provided with Free Appropriate Public Education. It is also tailored to their individual needs. The overall goal of IDEA is to provide children with disabilities the same opportunity for education as those students who do not have a disability.
  • 1997

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Discipline Provisions in P.L. 105-17 Summary The 1997 Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are the most broad based and significant changes made since its original passing. This includes the involvement of general education teachers as well as discipline.
  • 2003

    In 2003 The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which passed Congress with enormous bipartisan support. The act was signed into law by President George W. Bush. NCLB is the name for the most recent update to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
  • 2004

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 is a United States law that requires equity, accountability and superiority in education for children with disabilities. Re-authorization of IDEA raises standards for quality instruction for students with disabilities. The process involves elaborate participation in parent involvement as well as discipleship. In addition, it defines highly qualified for special education teachers.
  • 2010

    On October 5, 2010, President Obama signed legislation requiring the federal government to exchange the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in many areas of government. The bill was introduced to United States Senate on November 17, 2009, by Barbara Mikulski. The bill passed the Senate unanimously on August 5, 2010, then the House of Representatives on September 22, 2010. The law is named for Rosa Marcellino, a girl with Down Syndrome.