History of Special Education

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Running head: History of Special Education

History of Special Education
Julie G. Delk
Grand Canyon University: SPE 526
May 4, 2011

The realm of Special Education has many components and features. It has a well rounded historical background and the laws governing special education are equally as important to discuss. A key point to discuss is the Individuals with Disabilities Act-its laws and principles that are associated with Special Education. Challenges found within Special Education are also discussed with current times and themes and also prospecting into the future.

The History of Special Education
When our education system was established, a thought seemed to never cross the minds of educators that those possessing difficulties in learning were even capable of learning. This attitude handicapped the progress of education to such an extent that those with exceptionalities were often cast aside and often viewed as a burden to society. This thought progressively began to change towards the 17th and 18th centuries. Pioneers such as Pinel Philippe, Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard, Eduoard Seguin, and Samuel Gridley Howe are just a few of the many who felt that children with difficulties can learn and developed special education techniques that are still actively present in teaching strategies of today. Perhaps these individuals saw that through observation and demonstrating compassion that these attitudes revealed a glimpse of hope, a hope for a brighter future for children with disabilities. More so that through the perseverance of advocates and parents of persons with disabilities a creation of change in behavior and attitudes of society were beginning. Special education has been a heavily discussed topic in the realm of government and in legislation. Litigation and Legislation for Special Education

One of the biggest concerns of those afflicted with disabilities and the families of those disabled was discrimination and the unfair treatment of children with disabilities. At one point in time educators often felt that they should not educate those with disabilities because the assumption was these individuals were unable to learn. Some educators, however had the same concern and wanted to better the lives of those whom they taught. In Brown v. the Board of Education, Topeka, KS, a finding was made that teachers could discriminate against any student because of individual differences of those with disabilities. Two other court decisions also were helpful in the development of special education. These two cases were held in Supreme Court: Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Mills v. Board of Education, Washington, D.C. These two cases applied the right to a free and appropriate education for students with disabilities. The American court system has continually played an active role in special education and continues to enforce these rulings. Legally schools must provide the education in special education or prepare to face legal action or consequences.

History of legislation in the regards to special education was precedential in the landmark decision-The Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In particular, Section 504 of this Act mandated that there would be no discrimination for those with disabilities. The law had a broad definition of the term disability and encompassed those who had disabilities not particularly covered in special education laws or court decisions. This law was the first step in the legislation of recognizing the civil rights of disabled persons. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004(referred to as IDEA)

Special education became institutionalized in public and private school settings when Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 became law. According to the Wikipedia article (n.d.) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 “is a United States federal law...
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