Special education for disabled people in colonial America was non-existent. Individuals with disabilities who could overcome or adapt to their disability were treated well and sometimes achieved great prominence. Some examples are Thomas Jefferson, Washington Irving, and Cotton Mather who all had speech difficulties. Some other notable disabled people from America’s early days include the artist John Brewster who was deaf, Colonel William Prescott who was visually impaired, and Stephen Hopkins who had Cerebral Palsy. Mr. Hopkins is famous for stating “My hand trembles, my heart does not” as he signed the Declaration of Independence. The picture was quite different for disabled people who did not manage their disabilities well. They were shunned by colonial society. Disabled family members were hidden away at home. Mental disorders were often blamed on demon possession. Disabled people who did not have a family to care for them were usually homeless. Sometimes they received county assistance. In this case, they would often be forced to wear a red or blue letter “P” on their chest signifying poverty. - http://www.
From 1650 – 1960’s Alms houses sprung up in larger cities funded by counties, Quakers,and other charitable organizations as early as 1650 and continued under various names until the 1960’s. In return for food and shelter, disabled people worked in the alms houses alongside the poor, and criminals. Disabled people sometimes sought shelter in the alms houses. At other times, they were rounded up and placed in the alms houses.
Americans established the first residential schools for blind people and for deaf people. Christian revival messages encouraged health reform and the Asylum movement. - http://www.
During the 1840s and 1850s, Dorothea Dix was advocating reforms on behalf of people with mental disabilities in poorhouses, prisons, and asylums. Dix succeeded in gaining support from state legislators for the construction or enlargement of asylums. -http://www.
Isaac H. Hunt pens his autobiographical book Astounding Disclosures! Three Years In A Mad House. “With any other motive than that of benefiting men, and most of all, for the scourging and scathing of a most iniquitous, villainous system of inhumanity, that would more than match the bloodiest, darkest days of the Inquisition or the tragedies of the Bastille, I pen, publish, and scatter these lines.”
In the 1890s, state and local administration agencies began to build institutions on the outskirts of towns to house people with development disabilities. Disabled people were stigmatized and segregated from society for the most part. - http://
Watson v. City of Cambridge Massachusetts ~ Supreme Court upheld the exclusion of a student because he was “weak minded.” - Essential Concepts and School-Based Cases in Special Education Law
Children with what would later be termed Attention Deficit/
Rosemary Kennedy, sister of future President John F. Kennedy is born with intellectual disabilities.
State ex rel. Beattie v. Board of Education of Antigo ~ Supreme court of Wisconsin upheld the exclusion of a student from public school who was of normal intelligence and who had a form of paralysis because his appearance “nauseated teachers and other students.” - Essential Concepts and School-Based Cases in Special Education Law
Florida Farm Colony for the Feebleminded and Epileptic was built in Gainesville, Florida. - http://paul-burtner.dental.ufl.edu
The International Council for the Education of Exceptional Children is organized.
Board of Education of Cleveland Heights v State ex rel. Goldman ~ Ohio Appellate court reinstates a student who had been excluded from public school due to a low IQ score. “The court noted that education was so essential that it was compulsory between certain ages.” - Essential Concepts and School-Based Cases in Special Education Law
“In the 40s and 50s parents organized and advocated for education and services for their children with disabilities, but the children were not routinely encouraged to advocate for themselves.” - https://www.
The Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. foundation is formed to "seek the prevention of intellectual disabilities by identifying its causes, and to improve the means by which society deals with citizens who have intellectual disabilities."
Brown v. Board of Education ~ Supreme court decision in this desegregation case provided the framework lawyers would use to argue for the right to education of children with disabilities.
Captioned Films Acts (P.L. 85-905) supported the production and distribution of accessible films
Training of Professional Personnel Act (P.L. 86-158) helped train program administrators and teachers of children with mental retardation.
President John F. Kennedy forms the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation.
Teachers of the Deaf Act (P.L. 87-276) trained instructional personnel for children who were deaf or hard of hearing.
The President’s Panel on Mental Retardation presents over one hundred recommendations on how the federal government should approach intellectual disabilities. The following year, President Kennedy would use those recommendations in a special message to Congress where he announced, "a bold new approach" to Intellectual disabilities. - www.
Public Law 88-164 Allocated funds for training professionals to work with special needs children and also research to develop best practices for educating IDD and deaf students.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA; P.L. 89-10) and the State Schools Act (P.L. 89-313) provided states with direct grant assistance to help educate children with disabilities.
Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood appears in the second edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder and describes children who would later be termed ADHD.
“schools educated only one in five children with disabilities, and many states had laws excluding certain students from school, including children who were deaf, blind, emotionally disturbed, or mentally retarded” -https://www2.
Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens v. Commonwealth ~ States are responsible for educating children with disabilities
Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia ~ Perceived lack of funds is no excuse for failing to provide educational opportunities for disabled children.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (PL 93-112). Guarantees equal access to plans and services. Will be used to provide services to children who do not meet IDEA 2004 requirements.
Public Law 94-142 Guarantees a free and appropriate education to children with disabilities. Zero Reject, Least Restrictive Environment, Due Process, Parental Participation.
The 1980s saw an increased national concern for exceptional children and their families. Increased emphasis on culturally appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. Increased research into best methods for integration.
Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood was re-termed Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Public Law 99-457 expands federal assistance to exceptional people of all ages and their families. Changes the Education of the Handicapped Act to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The term ADD is replaced by Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Greer v. Rome City School District Established presumed priority of inclusion under IDEA.
Americans with Disabilities Act Extends rights to persons with disabilities without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, or religion through the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District ~ Establishes schools are responsible for demonstrating inclusion is not in the best interest of the child or the remaining students if inclusion is to be denied.
Three specific subtypes of ADHD are introduced: predominantly Inattentive, predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined.
“The first decade of the 21st century has witnessed a continued national commitment for access to a free appropriate public education intertwined with a renewed national concern for accountability and assessments that help improve results for each child with a disability.” - www2.
No Child Left Behind Act Holds schools and educators responsible for ensuring students meet minimum levels of competency. Has unintended consequences. Sets impossible expectations in some situations.
Reauthorization of IDEA added additional regulation and benefits. Special education specialists must be certified. IEP standards implemented. Transition planning for children 16 or older and younger students if appropriate. Funding for quality special education support elements.
2006 - 2007 Multiple court decisions established precedents in what constitutes appropriate education.
2007 – 2009 Multiple court decisions clarified parental involvement requirements.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Added one-time large funding for early intervention services for students.
Rosa’s Law Public Law 111–256 "Mental retardation" re-termed “intellectual disability” in Federal law.
Diagnostic criteria for ADHD are updated, a terminology change in the sub types from “types” to “presentations” is announced, and modifiers such as mild, moderate, and severe are introduced.