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 Prior to the 1700s, society believed that individuals with special needs and disabilities should be feared, segregated,

and categorized.

 1500s: Physically and  1600s:"Deviants," (the mentally-ill,

mentally-disabled people handicapped, vagrants, and
are used for amusement as delinquents) are confined to
court jesters. Epileptics hospitals,
are thought to have chained to walls. Epileptics are
prophet-like abilities, segregated from the rest of hospital
gathering information populations, to prevent the spread
while in a seizure. of epilepsy to other patients.
Pioneers of the 1700s:
• Jacob Rodrigues Pereire (1715-1780):
First teacher of deaf-mutes in France. • 1741: The Foundling Hospital in
He introduced the idea that persons London was established because of
who were deaf could be taught to the large number of disabled
children being abandoned by
• 1796: In Britain, William Tuke
establishes the York Retreat, a
• Philippe Pinel (1745-1826): • Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard humane-care mental hospital. York
French physician who pioneered (1774-1838): A French Asylum, also in England, continues
in the humane treatment of the doctor who secured lasting
cruel, punitive treatment of
mentally ill. He advocated to fame because of his efforts to
educate a teen thought to patients.
release institutionalized patients
have a severe intellectual
from their chains and pioneered late 1700s: Educated Europeans begin
disability. He recognized the
in the field of occupational demanding a medical revolution, aimed at
importance of sensory
therapy. stimulation. improving the lives of
disabled people.
• 1817: Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet becomes principal of the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and
Dumb Persons, the first residential school in the U.S.
• 1829: Samuel Gridley Howe establishes the New England Asylum for the blind
• 1834: Louis Braille publishes Braille code
• 1848: Samuel Gridley Howe establishes Massachusetts school for Idiotic and Feeble Minded Children
• 1848: Dorthea Lynde Dix calls for attention to the shocking conditions of American asylums and prisons
• 1869: First public school class for children with hearing impairments opens in Boston
• 1876: Edouard Seguin helps organize the first professional association concerned with intellectual disability, a predecessor of
today’s American Association on intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Other pioneering contributors to the development of Special Education :

Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet Dorthea Lynde Dix

Samuel Gridley Howe Louis Braille Edouard Seguin
The rise of specialized schools led to the formation of advocacy groups which called for greater inclusion of individuals with

• 1921: American Foundation for the blind is created

• 1922: The Council for Exceptional Children is founded in New York City
• 1928: Seeing eye dogs for individuals with blindness are introduced in the U.S.
• 1936: First compulsory law for testing the hearing of school-age children is enacted in New York
• 1948: Only 12% of all children with disabilities received a special education
• 1949: United Cerebral Palsy Association is founded
• 1950: National Association for Retarded Children is founded

By the early 1950s, special education services and programs were

available, but often undesirable results occurred. Although
programs existed, it was clear that discrimination was still strong.
• 1953: National Association for Gifted Children is founded.
• 1963: Association for Children with Learning Disabilities is organized
• 1973: Public Law 93-112, the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is enacted; Section 504 prohibits
discrimination against students with disabilities
• 1975: Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) is passed; ensures a free and appropriate
public education for all children with disabilities. Individualized education Program (IEPs), The least
restrictive environment (LRE), Procedural due process, Nondiscriminatory assessment, and Parental
participated were major components that were added to this act.
• 1990: Americans with Disabilities Act (PL 101-336) becomes law; prohibits discrimination on the basis of
• 1990: PL 101-476, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is passed; emphasizes transition
planning for adolescents with disabilities.
• 1997: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PL 105-17) is reauthorized, proving a major retooling and
expansion of services for students with disabilities and their families.