History of Special Education

1082 Words5 Pages
History of Special Education The recent history of special education began in 1975 when Congress passed the Education for all Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA). The law was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education act (IDEA) in 1990. These laws made it mandatory for schools to meet the special needs of all students. Special education was around prior to 1975, but in most cases in a very different manner than it is today. Special education in its earliest form usually happened in the parent’s home, in a one on one situation. The reason for this was people with disabilities usually did not venture far from their homes. In the early part of our country most schools were one or two room school houses with usually only one teacher. This teacher was not trained and did not have the time to meet the needs of an individual with a disability. Because of this, parents kept the disabled child at home, either with no teaching or with a private tutor. The best example of this would be Anne Sullivan with Helen Keller. From keeping the disabled at home, the next step was institutions, although I am not sure you can classify this as special education since very little education was actually being done. The primary purpose of these institutions was to protect these individuals from society, and society from these individuals, very rarely did an individual ever leave an institution once they were placed in one. Everyone can remember watching horror films that centered around an insane asylum, these were the types of institutions that these were. Even the name insane asylum suggests that the patients were beyond intervention, although this was not always the case. Eventually instead of putting individuals into institutions they wer... ... middle of paper ... ...remendously, making the difference between whether that child needs intervention during their regular school years necessary or not. Special education has been around for a long time, but it has only been since the passage of IDEA that the field has really grown to accommodate all special needs students. The identification of disabilities, although not an exact science, has improved dramatically. The services that are provided are better than ever. The number and quality of special education teachers is better than ever, although more work needs to be done in this area. Yes, there are still things to learn in the field of special education, but considering where it came from, the future looks bright. Works Cited congress, 1. (2004). PL108-446. 4. Heward, W. L. (2009). Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education. Columbus: Pearson
Open Document