History of Education for People with Disabilities

  • Connecticut Asylum for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Persons Opened

    Connecticut Asylum for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Persons Opened
    This was the first time public funding was provided for the education of people with disabilities. It was set up as a residential school because it was thought that travel was too expensive in those days for people to be able to bring their children back-and-forth. The participants would eventually be provided with training in fields that were thought to be suitable for people who were deaf.
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    Interest in Statistics

    In the 1830s, interest in statistics in relation to the human body and human experience grew. Looking in Europe, there were several legislative acts and laws put into place that prompted the focus on statistics. These included the Reform Act of 1832, the Factory Act of 1833, and the Poor Law of 1834. According to Davis, "the use of statistics began an important movement...the fact is that almost all the early statisticians had one thing in common: they were eugenicists." (2006)
  • Normal

    The word "normal" being used in the way we define it today appears. This comes after interest in human statistics grew. Although not directly linked to the history of education for people with disabilities, this shows the development of thinking about disability that influences the educational system.
  • 1st Eugenics Sterilization Law

    1st Eugenics Sterilization Law
    In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics sterlization law.
  • Council for Exceptional Children

    Council for Exceptional Children
    In 1922, the Council for Exceptional Children was founded by administrators and supervisors attending the summer session for teachers at Columbia University. This was the beginning of several groups that would form and focus on the education of children with disabilities. It is significant because people started forming alliances and advocacy groups to help each other and the community in the education of people with disabilities.
  • Buck v Bell

    Buck v Bell
  • Council for the Retarded Child Founded

    In 1933, the Cuyahoga County Council for the Retarded Child was founded in Ohio. It was the first of many grass-roots groups that would form and eventually come together to form the National Association for the Mentally Retarded. It is also known as the forerunner of today's ARC ( Association for Retarded Citizens).
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    WWII War Vets Advocated for Federal Assistance

    In the 1940s and 1950s WWII veterans brought awareness to disabled vets and Americans and put increased pressure on the government to get involved in providing rehabilitation and vocational training. Bringing disability more into the light helped in the process of education for people with disabilities
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    Awareness of disabiity and institution populations on the rise

  • National Association for Retarded Citizens Formed

    National Association for Retarded Citizens Formed
    The NARC would eventually work to get legislation and federal support for expanding teaching and research in education of mentally retarded children, as well as increase funding and support for people with disabilities for vocational rehabilition, social security, and health programs.
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    Special education steadily grew and residential schools for the disabled grew

  • Brown v Board of Ed

    Brown v Board of Ed
    In this historic court case, it as decided that "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . ." The link below includes information about how this would affect children with disabilities.
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  • National Defense Education Act

    National Defense Education Act
    The National Defense Education Act was passed in 1958 allowing for greater opportunity to develop categorical support for the education of the handicapped. It marked the beginning of large-scale governmental involvement in education. Click for More Info
  • Funding for Captioned Films for the Deaf

    Funding for Captioned Films for the Deaf
    On September Second, Public Law 85-905 was passed providing loan services to create captioned films for the deaf. This, combined with another public law and the National Defense Educational Act set the stage for governmental support and funding for educational and community tools and supports for people with disabilities.
  • PL 85-926

    PL 85-926
    In 1928, Public Law 85-926 allowed for $1 million in support per year for the training of teachers and professional personnel in the education of the mentally retarded. This was one of the first times that a law emphasized the importance of initiating change in the education of people with disabilities through the higher education of teachers.
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    Expanding federal involvement, Debates about segregated schools and settings, and overpopulated institutions increasing

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    Grass roots activism and building scrutiny of segregated settings and special education grew

  • Learning Disabilities

    In 1963, the term learning disabilities was first used. This is an important development in the history of special education because it brings into light the fact that not every disability can fall under the category of mental retardation. Learning disabilities coming into the discussion brought up the idea that children with disabilities could be taught in the general ed classroom with some supports.
  • PL 88-156

    PL 88-156
    In 1963, Congress expanded Public Law 88-156 to include grants to train college teachers and researchers in a broader array of disabilities. This would bring into consideration that there were a broader range of disabilities than had previously been addressed and focused on.
  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act

    The Elementary and Secondary Education Act
    The Elementary nad Secondary Education Act of 1965 was the first major federal effort to subsidize direct services to certain populations in public education. It is still the primary vehicle for getting funding for public schools today. At this point, there was no direct grants for children with disabilities, but it would allow for that in years to come.
  • Bureau of Education of the Handicapped

    Bureau of Education of the Handicapped
    In 1966, Public Law 89-750 established the Bureau of Education of the Handicapped and allowed for grants specifically for special education at the preschool, elementary, and secondary levels.
  • Questioning Special Education

    Questioning Special Education
    In 1968, Lloyd Dunn, who is seen as a national pioneer in developing tests for teachers and parents to better understand and teach children with developmental disabilities, questioned special education and the quality of education in segregated rooms in an issue of the Exceptional Children journal. This represents the start of people and groups questioning whether special education is actually helping children with disabilities, and seeking alternative ways to better serve those children.
  • Court Cases of 1972

    Court Cases of 1972
    Two landmark court cases, PARC v The Commonwealth of PA and Mills v Board of Ed acted as catalysts in special education law. Between these two cases it was found that children with disabilities should not be denied access to public schooling and should not be excluded, suspended, transferred, expelled, or reassigned from schools without due process.
  • Section 504

    Section 504
    In 1973 the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was passed. Although not directly aimed at education, Section 504 protects individuals with disabilities from any discrimination solely based on their disability in any federally funded program or activity. Because schools are federally funded, this act protected students with disabilities in public schools.
  • Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975

    Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975
    The Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975, also known as PL 94-142 was a drastic change in federal policy. It required that all schools recieving public funding must provide handicapped children equal access to education and place them in the least restrictive environment. This was a result of activism that had built steam throughout 1960s and 70s and different legislation leading up to it.
  • TASH

    In 1975 TASH was founded. TASH is an international leader in disability advocacy and works to advance inclusive communities through advocacy, research, professional development, policy, and information and resources for parents, families and self-advocates. TASH also is involved in creating inclusive schools and providing inclusive education for students with disabilities. TASH and other advocacy and activist groups have influenced the development of education.
  • Hendrick Hudson Cetnral School v Rowley

    Hendrick Hudson Cetnral School v Rowley
    In the court case of Rowley v the Hendrick Hudson Central School Disctrict School Board, the Supreme Court determined that the instruction only has to confer some educational benefit in order to provide a free and appropriate education. This meant that a school district was not obligated under the EAHCA to maximize the potential of a student with disabilities, but rather just to provide some sort of educational benefit.
  • Irving Independent School District v Tatro

    Irving Independent School District v Tatro
    In this court case, the question was whether or not the school was responsible for providing intermittent catheterization to a child during school hours. It was found that the school did have to provide this service. This court case was the first to look at the boundary between school health servies and medical services. It also laid the groundwork that students must be identified as having disabilities in order to recieve special education services.
  • Education for all Handicapped Children Act Reauthorization

    Education for all Handicapped Children Act Reauthorization
    In the revision of the EAHCA, the purpose of the act was extended to include children ages 0-5. This included early intervention programs and family service plans which made it clear that not only students were involved, but parents and families as well.
  • IDEA 1990

    IDEA 1990
    The IDEA of 1990 was an amendment to the Education of all Handicapped Children Act. The IDEA added transition services, increased opportunities for minorities and economically and educationally disadvantaged, added autism and traumatic brain injury to the list, initiated new programs, and allowed for suits against the states in the federal courts. This greatly expanded the depth and coverage of the EAHCA.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

    Americans with Disabilities Act
    The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. This combined with the IDEA were the result of a lot of work by activists and advocates from the 1940s and on.
  • No Child Left Behind

    No Child Left Behind
    The goal of the NCLB Act of 2001 was to ensure that all children were provided with equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education. This increased pressure on schools, teachers, and students to perform well on standardized, high-stakes tests. This pressure created difficulties in getting students with disabilities included in the general education classrooms.
  • Universal Design for Learning

    Universal Design for Learning
    In 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act was passed. Thisact outlined the principles and definitions of universal design for learning. UDL is built off of the same idea as universal design as it applies to architecture. UDL is a way of building a curriculum and classroom environment that plans for all different learners and students. It helps create an inclusive classroom that easily fits all students, with and without disabilities.
  • Common Core State Standards

    Common Core State Standards
    In 2009, the Common Core States Standards were launched in an effort to increase the college readiness of students across the country and to help ensure that students everywhere were receiving similar educations. Just as No Child Left Behind put added pressure on schools, teachers, and students, so did the Common Core. The way the Common Core is being implemented creates tension in implementing full inclusion and increasing the inclusivity of schools.