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History of Special Education Essay

Special education has changed in many different ways throughout the last century. The views of they way students with differences should be taught and treated have changed as people have become more open minded. The education laws have also seen a turn about. One major area of education was in a desperate need of changed opinions and beliefs. Education for children with learning problems has emerged from no education to special funding and programs especially for those individuals with learning problems.

The first phase of special education is the largest span of time. The Foundation Phase was from 1800 to 1930, children who had any sign of learning problems were labeled as dumb, retarded, and even brain injured. The reason students would have been labeled as brain injured is because of studies done on war victims and soldiers of war. Many soldiers had head injuries and the way they acted related very similarly to the way “brain injured” students acted.

At this time period researchers and doctors located the area of the brain related to language, or the language function of the brain. The Transition Phase began in 1930 and lasted until 1960. This phase had some turning points in the way “brain injured” children were taught.

Researchers developed instruments for assessment, analyzed specific Atwell 2 types of learning problems and also presented a plan for teaching “brain injured” children. At this stage the labeling of the children with learning problems was not as harsh as “brain injured”. The students were called “children with minimal brain dysfunction”. The turning phase for the education of students with learning problems was the Integration Phase, 1960 to 1980. There was a man by the name of Samuel Kirk, who came up with the name “learning disabled”.

After this term took the place of “brain injured” and “minimal brain dysfunction”, it seemed like there was hope for children with learning problems. Schools started establishing programs for the learning disabled. Funding was provided for teachers to be trained in learning disabilities. The most important part of the Integration Phase is the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) in 1975. This act was to ensure that all students no matter what type of problem would receive a “free and appropriate public education. ” The last phase is the Current Phase, from 1980 to the present. One of the major aspects of this phase is inclusion.

Inclusion is educating students with disabilities in regular classrooms in their neighborhood schools, with collaborative support services as needed. Another aspect of the Current Phase is when the EMA of 1975 was rewritten as IDEA in 1990. IDEA, Individuals Atwell 3 with Disabilities Education Act, made it hard to suspend or expel students with learning disabilities because of their behavior. IDEA also required that each learning disabled child have an IEP, Individualized Education Program.

An IEP is a document that must include current performance of the student, the annual goals the studen needs to achieve, special education and related services the child needs, participation, if any, with nondisabled children, modifications needed to take state tests, dates and places of when and where special services will be provided and the measuring progress of the child. Before a student can have an IEP, they first must be labeled as a student with a learning disability. There are stages to figure out whether or not a child has a learning disability. The first stage is noticing if a student is having difficulty in one or more subject areas.

The next step is to evaluate the child’s suspected disability area, but before this can take place, the school must receive permission from the parents to evaluate their child. Then the eligibility is decided by a group of qualified professionals along with the parents to determine if the child has a disability defined by IDEA. If found eligible, the IEP team must meet and write an IEP for the child within 30 days of the student being identified as disabled. The IEP team meeting is held and the IEP is written. Atwell 4 Services are then provided for the student. At the end of the year, progress is measured and IEP is reviewed.

After this process takes place, every three years after that, the student is reevaluated. By law certain individuals must be involved in the writing of a child’s Individualized Education Program. Parents must be involved because they know their child and what their child may need. Regular education teachers, if the student will be placed in regular classrooms some time during the day, are a need on the team, because they know the general curriculum. They also have knowledge of how to handle behavior problems. The next member of an IEP team should be a special education teacher.

This person will be able to contribute their knowledge in how to modify general curriculum and testing to help the special needs child learn and show what they have learned. The special education teacher also has the responsibility to teach the student and carry out the IEP. The individuals involved in the IEP team are individuals who can interpret evaluation result’s, represent the school system, individuals with knowledge or special expertise about the child, representatives from transition service agencies and the student who the IEP is being written for.

Atwell 5 Education has gone through many stages of the way a child should be taught. The law has made a path for those with learning problems and now there is no stopping them. Children with learning disabilities finally have a chance to excel in school and gives them the opportunity to have a normal life. Atwell 6 Works Cited A Guide to the Individualized Education Program. U. S. Department of Education. 20 Feb. 2001. . Lerner, Janet W. Learning Disabilities: Theories, Diagnosis, andTeaching Strategies. 8th ed. Boston: Ally & Bacon Publishers, 2000. Levine, Daniel U. , Allan C. Ornstein. Foundations of Education. 6th ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997.


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