Historical foundations of special education

Historical Foundations Of Special Education

Historical foundations of special education

The roots of special education go back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe. Where the reform movement began to improve the conditions of people with special needs.

In the Middle Ages and until the seventeenth century, People with disabilities were vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion from communities. But at the beginning of the eighteenth century, The idea emerged that these people deserved proper education and care.

Before the eighteenth century, Special education has been considered a nascent and underdeveloped field in many cultures and societies around the world. There was insufficient awareness about the rights and needs of persons with disabilities, Therefore, the necessary support and care were not provided to them.

In that period, People with disabilities were subjected to social judgments and discrimination, They were considered a challenge to society and a source of shame and dishonor for their families. Children with disabilities do not receive adequate education in public schools, Many countries have adopted a policy of “hiding” these children from society by placing them in shelter institutions.

In the eighteenth century, Also known as the Age of Enlightenment, Different and new ideas and opinions began to appear that played a role in changing the perception of people with disabilities in the coming eras.

Interest began in shaping trends in the education of persons with disabilities on a broader scale. The spread of many private schools concerned with educating children with disabilities has expanded. NGOs and local communities have also begun working to raise community awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities and improve their lives.

It can be said that special education in the eighteenth century was still in the process of establishing and developing. It was the beginning of efforts to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities. Although it was not as developed as it is today, It opened the doors to expanding special education trends and providing the necessary support and care for these people.

In the nineteenth century, Laws and legislation have emerged that protect the rights of persons with disabilities and guarantee them opportunities to obtain education and appropriate care. It has become clear that these people need special schools tailored to their individual needs. Instead of integrating into public schools.

Movements and associations have also emerged that work to promote special education and spread awareness about the rights of individuals with disabilities

In the twentieth century, Special education has witnessed tremendous development and radical transformation. This century has been an era of progress in education and our understanding of the needs of students with disabilities. New foundations have been built to provide comprehensive and integrated education for these students. Many programs and organizations were established that sought to achieve this noble goal.

Growing awareness of the importance of special education in the twentieth century prompted governments and educational institutions to provide more resources and training to teachers and specialists to meet the needs of special education students. Specialized training programs have been provided for teachers to learn how to deal with students with disabilities and develop curricula that meet their specific needs.

The history of special education in the United States of America and other countries began after World War II. As the number of people with disabilities has increased significantly, which necessitates the provision of various services, Also increasing awareness and interest in the rights of persons with disabilities.

at this time, Public schools began providing services for students with disabilities. Dedicated programs and special classes for these students have been established in public schools.

Special education has been the target of criticism and controversy. Among the most important issues that were the subject of criticism and controversy in the twentieth century are:

  • Classification systems and diagnostic nomenclature
  • Inequitable representation of minorities in special education programs
  • Education in private schools and classes
  • Ineffectiveness of the programs and methods used
  • Methods of diagnosing disability categories

Some of the important and active names in the history of special education

Dorothea Dix

An American activist who was the first to defend the rights of people with mental and psychological disabilities and founded the first series of care homes for them

Alfred Binet

French psychologist who developed the first individual intelligence test

Pedro Ponce

The Spaniard is considered the first teacher of the deaf in history

Charles Michel

The Frenchman who founded the first school to educate people with disabilities

Louis Brill

The Frenchman who invented the Braille system for reading and writing for the blind

Maria Montessori

The Italian doctor and educator who developed the educational curve that is still known throughout the world by her name

Valentin Howe

The Frenchman who founded the first school for the blind in the world

Thomas Hopkins

The American who founded the first school for the deaf in America


Al-Khatib, Jamal Ahmed (2013 AD). Foundations of special education. Dammam : Al-Mutanabbi Library