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History of Special Education

Running head: History of Special Education History of Special Education Julie G. Delk Grand Canyon University: SPE 526 May 4, 2011 Abstract 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 Introduction 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 that governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. ” The educational needs of children from birth to 18 or 21 are addressed in cases that involve several specified categories of disability.

States that accept funding under IDEA are subject to its law and regulation. IDEA and its predecessor statutes arose from the idea that free and appropriate education for children with disabilities should no longer be withheld because of a person’s disability-which is in direct violation of the right to due process. This Act has been amended and reauthorized and was finally released in 2004, which contained several amendments. IDEA’s outline intended for outcomes for each child is prepared for furthering the education, job fulfillment, and self efficacy.

Wikipedia further states(n. d. ) “Under IDEA 2004: Special education and related services should be designed to meet the unique learning needs of eligible children with disabilities, preschool through age 21. Students with disabilities should be prepared for further education, employment, and independent living. ” Furthermore, IDEA protects the rights of those individuals, keeps schools in regulatory necessity for checks and balances, and students that have disabilities benefit to their fullest potential.

Current and Future Challenges in the Field of Special Education Without a proper and fundamental understanding of the definition of children with exceptionalities, an educator may find a very difficult task to educate and this failure may result in no success of learning on the behalf of the student. The term that describes abilities that differ from the norm either above or below to such an extent that they require an individualized program of special education and related services to fully from education(Heward, 2009). The term exceptional children includes children who experience difficulties in learning as well as those whose performance is so superior that modification in curriculum and instruction are necessary to help them fulfill potential”(p. 9). Labeling children with terms such as “children with disabilities” or “handicapped children” are no longer viewed as appropriate for use in describing exceptional children. Perhaps labeling is essential for demographic or educational purposes as well as for those seeking benefits to special educational services. Never the less exceptional children require pecialized education and services. There are many factors to consider when labeling an individual. Advantages are many as the same is applied to disadvantages. The challenge currently is to find the appropriate measure of the label itself. Professionals in special education have legitimate reason to feel good about the overall progress in the field of special education. Educators continue to learn to work as partners with families and other educational agencies on behalf of exceptional children. There is still more work that needs to be done however.

Research continues to be a key component to close the gap in the educational practice in special education. The continuous learning of the techniques of what works best in the classroom is an ever growing process. Educators have learned much about how to teach effectively children with severe disabilities, whom many previously had assumed were incapable of learning. Heward (2009) reports that “It is critically important for special education to close the gap between field’s knowledge of evidence-based practices and the curriculum and instruction that students receive” (p. 43).

Several challenges educators in this field are facing currently as well what future obstacles are the availability of early intervention and prevention programs, helping students with disabilities adjust from school to adult life, and improve the special education-general education partnership. Other issues such as cultural and linguistic diversity are concerns as well. Schools sometimes may not always be effective as they should be providing the best or most desired experiences for culturally and linguistically diverse students. This failure often results in student failure as a whole.

This result often times in a misinterpretation of a disability rather than the responsibility of the school to provide appropriate curriculum and instruction. The important point to remember is that everyone is different and educators must be aware of this fact. Educators must find the open line of communication as a common ground. This does pose some risk but the reward outweighs the risk taken in the discovery of different sets of values. No one should fear the differences between other there is a great opportunity to be discovered. Conclusion

There is a continuing struggle for those with disabilities for acceptance and survival. Without special education, these individuals would still be seen and viewed as worthless and unsuitable products of society. The individuals who have persevered for the rights of the disabled have brought many wrong assumptions to light for correction. Special education has come a long ways and the laws that regulate it are there to protect these individuals. Through detailed and tailored instruction, these individuals can realize their fullest potential and contribute to the society as a whole. References

Brown v. Board of Education. 347 U. S. 483 (1954). Heward, W. L. (2009). Exceptional children: An introduction to special education(9th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 108-446, 118 § 2647. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (n. d. ). Retrieved May 3, 2011 from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Individuals_with _Disabilities_Education_Act Mills v. Board of Education, 348 F. Supp. 866 (1972). The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. No. 93-112, 87 Stat. 394, 29 U. S. C. §701.

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