This essay will explain how Special education has changed in many different ways throughout the last century. How it views of the way students with differences should be taught and treated have changed due to different laws that have been passed over the past years. I will explain the different phases of special education in its largest span of time. It will discuss how the term” learned disabled “was derived after it took the place of phrase “brain injured”. And it will explain the stages in which the IEP’s are developed and how a child with special needs should be taught to produce success. Additionally, this essay will discuss the court case of Brown v. Board of Education’s decision to demand that all special needs children be granted an opportunity to receive a free and appropriate education.
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In past years people would lock their disabled children up in rooms and isolate them from others because they were ashamed of them or because they were different and they didn’t know how or what to do with them. This made matter worse, disabled children were left isolate and alone, sometimes being abused physically and sexually, they were not considered human. This continued to happen until a few pioneer, people who were advocates for children with special stood up for them and brought their cases to court, but that’s something of the past now. The education laws have also seen a turn -about. One major area of education was in a desperate need of changed was opinions and beliefs. Education for children with learning problems had emerged from no education for children with special needs to special funding for programs especially for those individuals with learning problems. Mostert, M., & Crokett, J. (2000, June)
The special education for special needs children went through man y phases before they were recognized by the court systems. 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 being 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 vary 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.
Then there was 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 assessments, analyzed specific 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” Then the turning phase for the education of students with learning problems was later called the Integration Phase which lasted from, 1960’s to 1980’s.
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. The U.S. legislature began to recognize the rights of individuals with disabilities, which prevents schools from discriminating against special needs students. The US legislature laws demand that all of the rights be reserved for the rights of anindividual with special needs to have an appropriate education, even if the disabilities are not covered under the special needs law. The teachers and educators of special needs students remain accountable for the appropriate education of these students, and they will be held accountable in the court of law even if it means losing their job or locked up in jail. 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 they had would receive a “free and appropriate public education.”( IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities and Special Needs Act).
The last phase is the Current Phase, from the 1980’s 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 efforts and support services as needed for each individual student. Another aspect of the Current Phase is when the EMA of 1975 was written as IDEA in 1990. IDEA, individuals with Disabilities Education Act, made it hard to suspend or expel student s with learning disabilities because of their behavior. IDEA also required that each learning disabled child have an IEP, Individual Education Plan. An IEP is a document that must include current performance of the student, the annual goals the students need to achieve, special education and related services. This Plan also included the child needs, participation, if any, with nondisabled children, modifications needed to take state test, dates and places of when and where special services will be provided and the measuring progress of the child, and any special accommodations that the child may need. Before a student can have an IEP, they first must be labeled as a student with a learning disability. The parents, special education teachers, the school guidance counselor, regular teacher, the school’s psychologist, and the principle are always notified and included in the plans for this meeting.
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There are stages to figure out whether or not a child has a learning disability and need special services. 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 the child. The eligibility is decided by a group of qualified professionals along with the parent to determine if the child has a disability defined in IDEA. If the child is found eligible, the IEP team will meet to discuss and write and IEP for the disabled child within 30 days of the student being identified as disabled. The IEP team meeting is held and the IEP is written in collaborative efforts from all members of the IEP team. (U.S. Department of Education, 20, Feb, 2001) Services are then provided for the student. At the end of the year, progress is measured and the IEP is reviewed. After this process takes place, every three years the student is reevaluated. By law certain individuals must be involved in the writing of a child’s Individual 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 mainstreamed into regular classrooms some time during the day, are a need on the team, because they know the general curriculum of the student. They also have knowledge of how to handle students with behavior problems. The next member of the 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 process. The individuals involved in the IEP team are individual who can interpret evaluations result’s, represent the school system, individuals with knowledge of special expertise about the child’s, representatives from transitional service agencies and the student who the IEP is being written for.
In conclusion, special education has gone through many phases and stages of the way a child should be taught in the past decade. The law has made a path for those with learning problems and now there is not stopping them. Children with learning disabilities finally have a chance to excel in school and the laws have made it possible for them to take advantage of the opportunities for them to have normal life.
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