History of Special Education
May 4, 2015
Tabatha Astacio Arce
Special Education has come a long way particularly since the enactment of two federal laws: the EHA (Education for All Handicapped Children Act) and the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). The EHA requires public education for all children with disabilities and the IDEA requires special education for those children.
How Terminology Has Changed
The term “mental retardation” has such an offensive vibe to it. Many teachers get upset when people use this term. However, it is used because that is what was written into the text of federal law. It says “ …a learning ...view middle of the document...
These students with special needs are often if not always accompanied with an IEP that is in place with the help of parent input and reviewed annually.
How Has Special Education Changed
It wasn’t too uncommon to see the disabled segregated from the non-disabled students over 40 years ago. To be considered to have a learning disability, the student would need to be behind significantly academically, functioning only at a 50% deficit when compared to their measured abilities. Autism was rarely even spoken of back in those days. Having students in the normal classrooms now, offer the disabled students with role models. Their social skills grew significantly once they began joining the non-disabled students. A side benefit was that the non-disabled students comfort level grew as they were around the disabled on a regular basis. 30+ years ago, teachers would neglect their responsibility to teach special education students as they had other helpers (special education teachers) to handle that responsibility. Now, teachers are sharing the responsibility equally with the aides to share in the success of special needs students.
Why the Events are Significant in Changing Special Education
February 1922: CEC Advocacy Group: This was the first advocacy group for children with disabilities.
October 1950: NARC: National Association for Retarded Citizens: They help with litigation and other precedents through judicial process is met.
May 1954: Brown vs. Board of Education: This court case brought attention to special needs students vs. normal students. Many advocacy groups were formed from this case to inform the nation of the special education issues at hand.
September 1973: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: This act provides protection against people with special needs and disabilities.
June 1982: Board of Ed. of HHCD v. Rowley: This is the design of a two part test to determine if the requirements are being met according to the student’s IEP’s. This test checked the school’s compliance with IDEA and whether or...