Special Education Has Changed Over Time

Special education programs have been helping students with learning disabilities in the United States education system going back to the end of World War II. The first push for special education programs in the education system started when a group of parent-organized advocacy groups emerged. In 1947, the American Association on Mental Deficiency, held its first convention, which marked the beginning for special education as we know it today.  The AAMD was one of the first organizations to do so.
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 the inception of IDEA around 6.5 million children and over 200,000 infants and toddlers 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 have shown that about 4 in 5 students enrolled in special education at some level experience fundamentally weak cognitive proficiency. Cognitive proficiencies, or 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.
Ballou Education is an organization that specializes in special education advocacy employing the best education advocates in the industry.  Ballou Education is located in Scottsdale, AZ and can be reached at (602) 614-9002
Tamara Ballou is the founder of Ballou Education and has been advocating and consulting with parents of special education children since 2007.  With over 24 years of experience in the education and the special education fields, Tamara Ballou and Ballou Education provides consulting and advocacy services such as: IEP Meetings, 504 Meetings, MET/ Evaluation Meetings, DDD Meetings, Manifestation Meetings and Mediation etc. 
Ballou Education helps children with disabilities ranging from ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Intellectual Disabilities, PTSD, TBI, Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, Down Syndrome, Apraxia, Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delays, FAS, Fragile X, Neurological Disabilities, Seizure Disorder, Speech and Language Disability, Memory and Processing Deficits, CAPD, Vision and Hearing disabilities, Emotional Disability, Chromosome Disorders, Orthopedic Impairment, and Twice Exceptional Gifted.