History of Special Education in the United States

  • Special Education American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb

    Special Education American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb
    First special education school in the United States, the American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (now called the American School for the Deaf), was established in Hartford, Connecticut on April 15, 1817. At that time, "dumb" meant only "unable to speak” but in early America almost all those who were born deaf never learned to communicate with others except by home-made signs, and deaf people were often regarded as cognitively impaired as well.
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    Special Education History

  • American Association on Mental Deficiency

    American Association on Mental Deficiency
    The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is formed to advocate for handicapped people's rights. This association was formed to advocate for the equality, dignity, and human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and for their full inclusion and participation in society. This association is also the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization of professionals and citizens concerned about intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Rhode Island opened the first public special education class in the U.S.

    Rhode Island opened the first public special education class in the U.S.
    Administrators in Providence, Rhode Island, opened up the first special education class. This class consisted of 15 higher grade students. As teachers in public schools became aware of the increasing numbers of students with learning disabilities who were labeled "backward", they called for special classes and teachers to educate them.
  • Council for Exceptional Children

    Council for Exceptional Children
    The International Council for the Education of Exceptional Children is organized by a group of administrators and supervisors attending the summer session at Teachers College, Columbia University, and their faculty members on August 10, 1922. The council recognized the critical role of standards in defining special education as a profession, and aimed for the establishment of professional standards. The Council began with 12 members. Elizabeth E. Farrell was the Founder and first President.
  • Classification of Autism

    Classification of Autism
    In 1943 Leo Kanner in the United States and in 1944 Hans Asperger in Germany conducted research describing individuals with social, and emotional limitations that also demonstrated withdrawn behavior. Kanner would refer to this condition as Kanner's syndrome, while Asperger named the condition Aperger's syndrome. The symptoms identified by both Kanner and Asperger were similar but not identical.
  • National Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC)

    National Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC)
    ARC was founded in 1950 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This association was spearheaded by a group of parents that met as they were attending the annual meeting for AAMD. This association drew up a constitution with the broad purposes to promote the welfare of mentally retarded persons of all ages and to prevent mental retardation. It helped identify children with disabilities and mental retardation.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    In this milestone decision the Supreme Court ruled that separating children in public schools on the basis of race unconstitutional. It signaled the end of legalized racial segregation in the schools of the United States, overruling the "separate but equal" principle set forth in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case.
  • Association for Children with Learning Disabilities

    Association for Children with Learning Disabilities
    In 1963, a group of parents and professionals convened at a conference in Chicago entitled "Exploration into the Problems of the Perceptually Handicapped Child." The professionals and parents at this conference shared a common concern: the recognition of the dire need for services for their children, services that did not exist. It was here they formed the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities.
    https://ldaamerica.org/
  • Civil Rights Act

    Civil Rights Act
    Made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal. This legislation prohibited discrimination in several areas including housing, employment and education. The sections of the Act relating to education are Title IV, protecting students from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin by public elementary and secondary schools and public institutions of higher learning.
  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

    Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
    This law brought education into the forefront of the national war on poverty and represented a landmark commitment to equal access to quality education. This act proved to be a catalyst for future educational legislation. A pivotal act that derived from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Mills v. District of Columbia Board of Education

    Mills v. District of Columbia Board of Education
    The Mills suit brought on behalf of over 18,000 children in the District, claimed that children with disabilities were excluded from public education without due process. The federal district court in the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the parents and families and stated that the deprivation suffered by the children clearly violated their right to a public school education under the laws of the District of Columbia.
  • Rehibilitation Act

    Rehibilitation Act
    Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act was the first disability civil rights law to be enacted in the United States. The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in programs receiving Federal financial assistance, in Federal employment, and in the employment practices of Federal contractors.
  • Education for All Handicapped Children Act

    Education for All Handicapped Children Act
    Required that all public schools accepting federal funds provide equal access to education and one free meal a day for children with physical and mental disabilities. Public schools were required to evaluate disabled children, provide each child with a disability an individualized educational plan, in addition to providing an education in the least restrictive environment.
  • American Disabilities Act

    American Disabilities Act
    The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination solely on ADA is an "equal opportunity" law for people with disabilities. Individuals protected by the ADA include any individual with a disability who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities; or (2) has a record of such impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. https://youtu.be/o3mqgrmKz7s
  • Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)

    Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)
    Education for All Handicapped Children Act Amendments resulted in a name change to Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.
  • IDEA Amendments

    IDEA Amendments
    President Clinton signed amendments to the Act that focused on improving the education of children with disabilities by identifying children with disabilities before they enter school. Educating children with disabilities with their nondisabled peers, developing IEP's that focus on improving educational results, ensuring that schools are held accountable, setting higher expectations for students with disabilities, in addition to developing partnerships between parents and schools.
  • No Child Left Behind Act

    No Child Left Behind Act
    This act reauthorized and amended federal education programs established under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. NCLB put a special focus on ensuring that states and schools increased the performance of certain groups of students, such as English-language learners, students in special education, and poor and minority children. States did not have to comply with the new requirements, but if they didn’t, they risked losing federal money.
  • Assistive Technology Act

    Assistive Technology Act
    The "Tech Act," as its sometimes called, funds 56 state programs designed to address the assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities. The goal of the act is to provide assistive technology to persons with disabilities, so they can more fully participate in education, employment, and daily activities on a level playing field with other members of their communities.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
    This re-authorization ensured that all children with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education to meet their individual needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and/or independent living. Part B of IDEA re-authorization addresses school age children between the ages of 3-21 years old, and Part C of IDEA re-authorization addresses the need for early identification of young children with disabilities ranging in age from birth to two years old.
  • Every Student Succeeds Act

    Every Student Succeeds Act
    The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015. This act reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. The ESSA focuses on the clear goal of fully preparing all students for success in college and careers