Evolutions In Special Education Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Teaching Type: Essay Paper: #62898900 Related Topics: Evolution, Deaf Culture, Special Education, Exceptional Children
Excerpt from Essay :

Evolution of Special Education: Pre-1950s to Present

Special Education Evolutions

Special reduction has made tremendous evolutions since its inception. To effectively understand the current state of special education in public education, it is necessary to consider the full trajectory and how the perspectives on special education have developed over the years. The first special education programs were target at "at risk" children who primarily resided in urban slums and ghettos after a public education was made compulsory in the United States. They taught manual skills such as carpentry or metal work while other programs focused on teaching moral lessons to minorities. Later, special education began to focus more on children with disabilities. Although there were students that had physical and mental disabilities in the nineteenth century, making specific provisions for the inherent challenges that these students faced did not became a common educational priority until the 1940s. Since this time, the understanding of the needs of children with physical and mental disabilities has gone through rapid evolutions as the effectiveness of special education has improved relative to these needs. This analysis will look at the state of special education before the 1950s to the present to point out some of the achievements that this field of education has made.

Special Education Evolutions

The early development of special education can be traced back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The focus of special education was not so much on education however; instead it considered more of an effort to make social provisions for "defective" children as they were perceived at the time. There was an effort to remove these students from the emerging public schooling systems so that so-called "normal" children could focus on their studies. There was also the notion present that disabled children could best be helped by the emerging specialist class that could better accommodate their specific weaknesses better than the traditional classroom.

"The development of special education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was linked to a number of complex factors, not least of which was the emergent and sometimes competing professionalism of teachers and doctors and psychologists and a growth of official interest in the


It was less for egalitarian or liberal values, and more for an opportunity to impose a level of social control. However, the social control that was instituted was focused on teaching common values that included self-discipline and tolerance for other ethnic groups. Since the U.S. population was so heavily diversified by ethnic background as well as religious beliefs and other differences, these groups need to learn to live together in relative harmony and teaching children to value tolerance was an effective means to spread these specific value throughout the population.

It was in this environment the first special education programs that specialized in certain disabilities appeared in the educational system. The first specialized programs were targeted at specific disabilities, such as blindness or deafness, and were generally private institutions. These programs were relatively rare and difficult for parents to both afford as well as find access to. It wasn't until the civil rights movement in the U.S. that originated in the mid-twentieth century and demand that children with disabilities be provided a free and "appropriate" education (Aron & Loprest, 2012). Furthermore, there were also provisions cited that called on the students to be taught in the "least restrictive" setting.

The mid-twentieth century led to a period in which there were major evolutions in the quality and outcomes of special education programs. Researchers note that the three biggest changes to special education include (Lloyd & Llloyd, 2015):

1. Deinstitutionalization

2. Provisions of legal protections for individuals with disabilities

3. And an emphasis on evidence-based practices.

Before this revolution in special education, students would be institutionalized in dorm rooms and separated from the rest of the students. Through a series of reforms that…

Sources Used in Documents:


Armstrong, F. (2002). The historical development of special education: humanitarian rationality or 'wild profusion of entangled events'? History of Education, 437-456.

Aron, L., & Loprest, P. (2012). Disability and the Education System. Future of Children, 97-122.

Lloyd, J., & Llloyd, P. (2015). Reinforcing Success: What Special Educaiton Could Learn From Its Earlier Accomplishments. Remdial and Special Education, 77-82.

Seave, P. (2011). Evidence-Based Practices Reduce Juvenile Recidivism: Can State Government Effectively Promote Implementation Among Probation Departments? American Journal of Community Psychology, 138-140.

Cite this Document:

"Evolutions In Special Education" (2015, August 31) Retrieved January 16, 2022, from

"Evolutions In Special Education" 31 August 2015. Web.16 January. 2022. <

"Evolutions In Special Education", 31 August 2015, Accessed.16 January. 2022,

Related Documents
Special Education, Also Referred to
Words: 1229 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Teaching Paper #: 92281368

It is also worth noting that the evolving nature of special education can be attributed to the cultural changes, family values, and civilizations taking place. Research attitudes towards people with special educational needs exhibit considerable variation as one move from one culture to the other. Findings show that people of different culture may perceive the similar conditions differently. For instance, Yoruba perceived that albinism as a punishment from God (Wilson,

Special Education Until 1975, Disabled
Words: 2069 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Teaching Paper #: 62291897

S. Office of Education (Osgood 1999). Each federal act preceding the Education for All Handicapped Children Act freed up funds for special education training programs and for special education programs themselves. Moreover, the legislation raised awareness about the breadth and diversity of the disabled community and helped to reduce stigma. President Johnson followed well in the footsteps of his predecessor by establishing the Committee on Mental Retardation and helping to pass

Special Education Inclusion
Words: 8710 Length: 33 Pages Topic: Teaching Paper #: 43314572

country's public schools are experiencing dwindling state education budgets and increased unfunded mandates from the federal government, the search for optimal approaches to providing high quality educational services for students with learning disabilities has assumed new importance and relevance. In an attempt to satisfy the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, a growing number of special educators agree that full inclusion is the optimal approach

Application of a Pedagogic Model to the Teaching of Technology to...
Words: 60754 Length: 230 Pages Topic: Teaching - Technology Paper #: 60817292

Pedagogic Model for Teaching of Technology to Special Education Students Almost thirty years ago, the American federal government passed an act mandating the availability of a free and appropriate public education for all handicapped children. In 1990, this act was updated and reformed as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which itself was reformed in 1997. At each step, the goal was to make education more equitable and more accessible to

Factors That Determine the Increasing Number of African-American...
Words: 4428 Length: 14 Pages Topic: Teaching Paper #: 25424527

African-American Children in Special Education Programs The large amount of minority children, specifically African-American children, who have ended up in special education programs for students who have learning disabilities, behavioral disabilities, emotional disabilities, or mental disabilities, has remained a very strong reality even though it has been recognized for more than 20 years (Townsend, Thomas, Witty, & Lee, 1996). After looking at many of these patterns and how often they

Special Ed Philosophy a Special
Words: 1433 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Teaching Paper #: 13632993

Gerl (2010) points out in his advocacy of metaphysics as a way of approaching the philosophy of special education that this helps to construct a legal perspective which is evolving in a way that is consistent with the evolution of ethical perspectives of human dignity, individual rights and the treatment of those with disabilities. While this strikes as relevant, Gerl even concedes that one may not be suited for