How Far Have We Come?
Interestingly enough, the notion of individual brains “learning differently” has been around since 1877, when German neurologist Adolf Kaussamaul used the term “word blindness” to describe “a complete text blindness...although the power of sight, the intellect and the powers of speech are intact.” Research in this field continued through the 1800-1900’s, with the term and definition of learning disability actually being coined by Samuel Kirk in 1963.
This heightening of awareness, along with focused research, drove the 1969 federal mandate of support services for LD students. This mandate was further refined in 1975 with the enactment of The Education For All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142), known today as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In 2001 No Child Left Behind was enacted, supporting standards-based education reform, “on the premise that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education.”
So, we’ve come a long way. Or have we? Even today, misunderstandings about learning disabilities persist. In August of 2012, NCLD surveyed public perception of learning disabilities. Check it out here – you may be surprised at what you read. And share what you learn with others, in celebration of Learning Disability Awareness Month.
Blogger Barbara Hunter, MEd, shares her expertise in the use of technology to support learning.