SPED timeline


Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles was founded


One of the first special schools in the world opens in France. It was the first school in the world to teach blind students.

American Asylum for Ed. and Instr. of Deaf and Dumb


First special education school in the United States is opened in Hartford, Connecticut. The school was named American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (now called the American School for the Deaf).

School for Deaf and School for Blind open


School for Deaf and School for Blind open

American Association on Mental Retardation is formed


American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) is formed. Now called The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).

Compulsory education for all


All states required to have compulsory education by 1918.

International Council for the Education of Exceptional Children is formed


group of administrators organized the International Council for the Education of Exceptional Children

1st "White Cane Ordinance"


This ordinance was initially enacted in Peoria, Illinois. The White Cane Ordinance grants right of way to individuals with visual disabilities. People with disabilities are beginning to be seen as individuals with rights.

Classification of "autism" introduced


Dr. Leo Kanner of John Hopkins University first introduces the classification of "autism" to describe individuals with a similar group of characteristics (lack of eye contact, no emotional attachment).

Cerebral Palsy Society is formed


Parents of students in the New York City area organize the Cerebral Palsy Society

American Association on Mental Deficiency convention


This was one of the first parent-organized advocacy groups and it held its first convention in 1947.

Captioned Films Acts (PL 85-905)


made movies accessible tohearing impaired

National Defense Education Act of 1958


With the National Defense Education Act, for the first time, the federal government became involved in elementary and secondary high schools.

PL 85-926 signed by President Eisenhower


President Eisenhower signed this 4 days after NDEA. It provided financial support to colleges and universities to train people to teach the mentally retarded.

Training of Professional Personnel Act (PL 86-158)


Teachers of the Deaf Act (PL 87-276)


President John F. Kennedy created the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation


President Kennedy proudly created this Panel in recognition of the needs of individuals with Mental Retardation. He had personal experience with this disability since his sister was also diagnosed with mental retardation.

Association for Children with Learning Disabilities is formed


In Chicago, parents organize at a convention and create the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities.

State Schools Act (PL 89-313)


By passing the State Schools Act, there was a shift to improve the education for students with severe disabilities.

Congress adds Title VI to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965


Congress creatied a Bureau of Education for the Handicapped, which is now called the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act


President Lyndon Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Congress created Bureau for the Education of the Handicapped


Congress in 1966 mandated a Bureau for the Education of the Handicapped (BEH) under Title VI of the ESEA which was the first education of the handicapped act.

Handicapped Children’s Early Education Assistance Act (PL 90-538)


When this act was signed, it authorized support for early childhood education programs.

Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens v. Commonwealth


Economic Opportunities Amendments (PL 92-424)


These amendments increased enrollment to Head Start for young children with disabilties.

Mills v. Board of Education


This litigation was brought by 7 people with disabillities against the District of Columbia public schools. It was decided that no one can be denied the right to enroll or be expelled solely because of disability.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is enacted.


This national law protects individuals that have been diagnosed with disabilities from discrimination based on their disability.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is enacted.


Parents are allowed to have access to all personally identifiable information collected, maintained, or used by a school district regarding their child.

Individuals with Disabilities Act was signed


Kurzweil Reader invented


Raymond Kurzweil invents the Kurzweil Reader which changes text into synthesized speech.

PL. 94-142 Education of All Handicapped Children Act


1983 Amendments to EHA (PL 98-199)


This amendment to EHA added statements that supported transitions.

Amendments (PL 99-457)


This Amendment required states to provide services to children with disabilities - from birth to 21.

Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education


This court case helped to determine the concept of Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) when working with students with disabilities.

Hopkins v. Gilhool and Goals 2000 Summit


This litigation resulted in special education classrooms being required to be comparable to regular education classrooms.

Timothy v. Rochester, New Hampshire School District


The idea of "Zero Rejection" is established. Students are allowed to attend school and be educated regardless if they show any achievement

1990 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


1990 Amendments to EHA (PL 101-476


This act helped to focus attention on the needs of students and the support they require as they transition from high school to adult life.

No Child Left Behind is enacted.


Signed by President George Bush, this law calls for all students, including students with disabilities, to be proficient in math and reading by the year 2014.

Assistive Technology Act


Assistive Technology Act addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities who require assistive technology

IDEA reauthorized


There are several changes from the 1997 reauthorization. The biggest changes call for more accountability at the state and local levels, as more data on outcomes is required. Another notable change involves school districts providing adequate instruction and intervention for students to help keep them out of special education.