The previous century is characterized by the enhanced popularization of democratic principles and the adoption of freedoms that guarantee quality education for various social groups. Starting from the second half of the previous century, major improvements were evident in the sphere of special education through adoption of policies and early interventions, ameliorating the academic environment for children with learning disabilities.
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Major positive changes took place in the 1950s when the first programs in special education were implemented at schools. The Education of All Handicapped Children Act issued in 1975 was revolutionary as it completely altered the approach towards special education services: children with specific needs could learn in the least restrictive pace. Modern trends have also contributed to the professional growth of educators and facilitated learning for students with the help of innovative technologies. Early intervention and prevention techniques are essential for children with learning disabilities to develop and enhance basic language skills.
Examination of special education progress can be effective only when the advancements of general education are observed first. The previous century is characterized by the enhanced popularization of democratic principles and the adoption of freedoms that guarantee quality education for various social groups. For instance, the people of race obtained better opportunities due to the deliberate funding of educational institutions and abolishment of segregation in society.
Furthermore, the feminist movement guaranteed certain privileges to women and promoted educational facilities for them. Starting from the second half of the previous century, major improvements were evident in the sphere of special education through adoption of policies and early interventions, ameliorating the academic environment for children with learning disabilities..
Elaboration on Policies and Practices in Special Education
Special education provides and interprets certain practices that allow addressing the individual needs of each student to assure a better learning environment for everyone. The beginning of the previous century marks complete negligence of the needs of children with disabilities and questions the necessity of addressing special education. There are different types of disabilities, including learning and physical dysfunctions, communication and emotional disorders, and developmental problems, depending on which the severity of each particular case may range.
Within the classroom environment, teachers present the information to comprehend, remember, and analyze, so those children who face difficulties in the learning processes require more attention and identification of the problem. Before the 1950s, these issues were not properly addressed, but a human-based approach promoted an altered vision on the children with disabilities and their needs.
The first positive changes took place in the middle of the previous century when the first programs in special education were implemented at schools. However, they were not suitable for every disability type, so further elaboration on special approaches was necessary (Grimes, Stevens, & Kumar, 2015).
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When analyzing the laws and regulations of Iowa regarding special education, it is evident that there was no appropriate funding of the programs. There was a lack of professionals that could effectively address the needs and assist the learning process of children with disabilities. Other states experienced similar problems so that incompetent students in rural communities did not get appropriate access to educational services based on their particular needs.
The idea of special education evolvement was gradually developing over the time, so substantial policies and practices were adopted during the 1960s and 1970s in the US. Even though there was a shortage of special education programs at that time, educational interventions intended to improve students’ learning and behavior within general classrooms (Grimes et al., 2015). However, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act issued in 1975 was revolutionary as it completely altered the approach towards special education services: children with specific needs could learn in the least restrictive pace (Hernandez, 2013). This Act was adopted on the federal level, so each state revised its policies and practices in this sphere to correspond to the national standards.
Current Trends in Special Education
Starting from the 1990s, the qualification of teachers and increased awareness of publicity were noticed throughout the country. By 2000, there was an international agreement stating that “children with disabilities had the right to attend their local mainstream school” (Grimes et al., 2015, p. 9). Furthermore, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 guaranteed substantial funding for disadvantaged students in American schools. This means that children with learning disabilities received different educational services suitable for them. Each student was tested prior to selecting the program of special education. Thus the implementation of federal and state regulations along with an increased commitment of teachers assured better learning environment for children with learning impairments.
Modern trends have also contributed to the professional growth of educators and facilitated learning for students with the help of innovative technologies. Teachers currently receive adequate training and work in collaboration with each other (Hernandez, 2013).
These contemporary tendencies also imply that professionals are facilitators for students in understanding educational subject and prepare them for computerized learning through mastering necessary skills (Bagabas, 2016). Apart from students with disabilities, much attention is dedicated to indigenous people by addressing their cultural and linguistic characteristics, which means that positive dynamics is evident in the sphere of special education.
The Importance of Early Intervention
In general, a learning disability is a disorder that involves difficulties in understanding or using language, and imperfects listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. To identify such kind of impairment in children, specialized tests in reading and writing are provided to them (Pesovaa, Sivevska, & Runcevac, 2014).
In case their results are below the benchmark typical for a definite age, then a child has learning impairments. Facilitating studies for such children is possible through the early intervention and prevention techniques to develop and enhance basic language skills. This approach is usually divided into three levels which are applied based on the severity of the learning disorder. Primary intervention assumes that teachers provide access to the curriculum and track the progress of each student within the learning environment (Pesovaa et al., 2014).
Secondary intervention implies that students who have below-the-average results are organized into small interactive groups and granted the extracurricular activities with detailed instructions provided. In case no progress is evident, tertiary intervention as special education is applied. Children who obtained early prevention and intervention services are usually characterized by proper literacy skills in further in comparison with those who did not.
Until the 1950s, there were no considerable improvements in the field of special education for people with disabilities. However, the Act of 1975 required all schools in each state to review their policies and practices regarding the quality of special education services, including a sufficient number of professionals and adequate budgeting. Major progress was evident in the 1990s when both teachers and general publicity changed their attitudes towards people with specific needs. Furthermore, early prevention and intervention are necessary for children with learning disabilities to facilitate their studies in general classroom environment, enhance literacy skills, and avoid further implications.
Bagabas, H. L. (2016). The effectiveness of computerized instructional packages on concept acquisition and improving academic achievement among female deaf students in KSA. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(21), 65-71.
Grimes, P., Stevens, M., & Kumar, K. (2015). An examination of the evolution of policies and strategies to improve access to education for children with disabilities with a focus on inclusive education approaches, the success and challenges of such approaches and implications for the future policy direction. UNESCO. Web.
Hernandez, H.J. (2013). Collaboration in special education: Its history, evolution, and critical factors necessary for successful implementation. US-China Education Review B, 3(6), 480-498.
Pesovaa, B., Sivevska, D., & Runcevac, J. (2014). Early intervention and prevention of students with specific learning disabilities. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 149, 701-708.