Special Education Has Changed Over Time

Special Education Has Changed Over Time



Special education has been assisting students with learning disabilities in​ the United States education system since the end of​ World War II. The first push for special education started when a​ group of​ parent-organized advocacy groups surfaced. in​ 1947 one of​ the first organizations, the American Association on Mental Deficiency, held its first convention. That marked a​ starting point for special education as​ we know it​ today.

Started during the Civil Rights Movement in​ the early 1950s, the United Cerebral Palsy Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and John F. Kennedy’s Panel on Mental Retardation were among an​ increased amount of​ advocacy groups for assisted learning programs. This strong push helped bring special education into schools across the country in​ the 1960's as​ school access was established for children with disabilities at​ state and local levels.

The parent advocacy groups dating back to​ 1947 laid the ground floor for government legislation being approved by Congress in​ 1975 that was called the “Education for All Handicapped Children Act” (Public Law 94-142). This act went into effect in​ October of​ 1977 and it​ was the beginning for federal funding of​ special education in​ schools nationwide. The act required public schools to​ offer "free appropriate public education" to​ students with a​ wide range of​ disabilities, including “physical handicaps, mental retardation, speech, vision and language problems, emotional and behavioral problems, and other learning disorders.”

The law from 1977 was extended in​ 1983 to​ offer parent training and information centers. Later in​ 1986 the government started programs targeting youngsters with potential learning disabilities. The Act from 1975 was changed to​ the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA) in​ 1990. Since establishment of​ IDEA more than 6.5 million children and 200,000+ toddlers and infants are being assisted each year.

Special education in​ schools often unintentionally overlooks a​ key aspect of​ why students suffer from learning disabilities. The reasons for common learning disabilities are weak cognitive skills. Studies show that 80% of​ students enrolled in​ special education at​ some level suffer from underlying weak cognitive skills. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities that one needs to​ successfully learn academic subjects. in​ more detail cognitive skills are learning skills used to​ retain information; process, analyze, and store facts and feelings; and create mental pictures, read words, and understand concepts. They are not to​ be confused with academic skills which would include subjects like math, science, or​ history.

Proper testing to​ identify these weak cognitive skills will help quality learning centers put together a​ plan of​ action to​ strengthen them. This sort of​ training will last a​ lifetime. By not targeting the cognitive skills a​ student will struggle for the rest of​ their life until they are trained properly. it​ is​ highly recommended that you get your child tested at​ a​ learning training center that provides cognitive testing. Once tested a​ personal, unique training program can be developed for your child to​ overcome their learning disability.




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