The History of Special Education: From Isolation to Integration.

The History of Special Education: From Isolation to Integration. – book reviews

This book traces the painfully long path through Western Europe, the United States, and Canada toward the realization of equitable opportunities for disabled students. Readers might be familiar with the treatment long ago of deaf, blind, and mentally and physically disabled people when, if they were not vilified publicly, they were locked away. However, biases practiced in this century recounted here might seem more surprising if not shocking; these include “scientific” explanations for disabilities that justified limited expectations and resources and even sterilization.

This comprehensive volume breaks new ground in assessing the development of special education as a formal discipline from the first efforts in early Christian times to such current mandates as Public Law 94-142.

This book presents a four-part narrative that describes the emergence of this branch of education in fascinating detail, beginning with the earliest instruction and theories by isolated individuals in 16th century Spain and the effects of the Age of Enlightenment on nascent organizations in 17th century France and England. It joins together the growth of ideas and schools in 18th century Europe and North America with the 19th century consideration, for the first time, of the vital issues of placement, curriculum, early intervention, and the status of teachers. Social trends such as the “medicalization” of the causes of disabilities, “scientific racism” based upon I.Q. tests, and the movement toward integration in all schools are also weighed regarding their effects upon early and latter-day 20th century programs.

The author, who is Associate Professor of Education at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, examines every significant figure involved in special education, including Ponce de Leon, Bonet, Diderot, Tuke, Gallaudet, Bell, Howe, Snellen, Jackson, Montessori, Binet, Watson, Dewey, Kirk, and Dunn. She provides insights on the change in sensibilities over time through separate essays that highlight select figures and significant events. Tables tracking notable trends, such as the increase of women teachers, round out this thorough examination.

COPYRIGHT 1995 U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group