The Beginning of Special Education in the United States

Timeline created by janeciawheeler
In History
  • The Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons

    The Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons
    The first efforts to educate people with disabilities. Currently named the American School for the Deaf, the first school for children with disabilities was founded in West Hartford, Connecticut. The school was founded by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. This was the first school to receive a $300,000 from the federal government. At this time in early America, "Dumb" meant unable to speak.
  • New England Asylum for the Blind

    New England Asylum for the Blind
    The United States' first school for the blind is established in Boston, Massachusetts. The school is now currently named Perkins School for the Blind, after Thomas Handasyd Perkins for donating his mansion to the school. Today, the Perkins Institute manufactures the Perkins Brailler, a machine that prints embossed tactile books for blind.
    https://youtu.be/9D8D68RRHo8
  • The Experimental School for Teaching and Training Idiotic Children

    Samuel Gridley Howe, founder of the Perkins institute, founded what is now the Fernald Developmental Center. This is the western hemispheres first publicly funded institution serving people with developmental and cognitive disabilities, formerly referred to as mental retardation. An interesting yet disturbing fact: the Fernald School was the site of the 1946-1953 nuclear medicine experiments where they exposed young children to tracer doses of radioactive isotopes.
  • The First Compulsory Universal Public Education Law

    The First Compulsory Universal Public Education Law
    Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to require every town to create and operate a grammar school, focusing on grammar and basic arithmetic. Massachusetts General Courts passed a law that all children must attend grammar school. Parents that did not send their children to school were fined. Some parents were even stripped of their parental rights, deemed "unfit to have their children properly educated."
  • The First College Established for People with Disabilities

    The First College Established for People with Disabilities
    In 1864, the United States Congress allowed Columbia Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind to grant college degrees to the student's. This made it the first and only college for people with disabilities in the entire United States. It is currently named Gallaudet University, and it still remains the only higher education institution where all the programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf students.
  • The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
    Founded in 1876, this is the oldest professional association concerned with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The association advocates for the equality, dignity, and full societal inclusion of people with disabilities.
    https://www.aaidd.org/
  • PARC V. PENN

    PARC V. PENN
    This was a case where the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was sued by the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC), now The Arc of Pennsylvania, over a law that gave public schools the authority to deny a free education to children who were significantly behind their peers. The argument of the case was that all children, whether having an intellectual disability or not, could benefit from any type of free training or education.
  • Education for All Handicapped Children Act

    Enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1975, the act required all public schools to provide children with physical and mental disabilities equal access to education and one free meal a day. This act created the basis for Individualized Education Plans, where the school is required to evaluate children with disabilities and create an education plan with parental input.
    https://educationonline.ku.edu/community/idea