Examination of Foundations - Research Paper Example

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Examination of Foundations Institution In ancient societies, children with special needs were often killed (for example, in Sparta or in ancient tribes’ practices) either as sacrifice to “gods” or in the name of race preservation (Gearheart, 1972, p…
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Still, the disabled were thought to be incapable of ever becoming educated or self-supporting, which led to preventing them from being understood and educated. There were only few “isolated instances of acceptance, kindly care, and education” (Dash, 2005, p.20). It was not until the early 19th century that the attitude to children with special needs changed. Early American practices in education, as Kaplan & Owings describe them, were greatly influenced by Old World practices and beliefs that the settlers had brought to America from their home countries (Kaplan & Owings, 2010, p. 87). Formal and private education was religion-based for its most part, but it did not focus on the needs of the disabled. Despite the growing number of government-sponsored schools for elementary and secondary students in the United States, education practices for children with disabilities had been private in nature prior to 1900s (Gearheart, 1972, p.1). American education practices for children with disabilities were brought to the United States from Europe, often by physicians who visited Europe to obtain first-hand knowledge about ways to educate children with special needs (Dash, 2005, p.20). American physicians based their efforts to educate children with special needs on the scientific findings by Itard and Sequin. ...
Sequin, in his turn, developed a set of methods for teaching the mentally deficient. Having immigrated to the United States from France in the mid-19th century, he developed his concept of special education, which was revolutionary for that time. Together with Samuel Howe, Sequin formulated the following basics for educating the mentally retarded: the need of individualized instruction, the need to apply a carefully designed set of educational tasks, emphasize stimulation, meticulously arrange special children’s environment, the benefit of immediate reward for performance that is correct, the need of functional skills tutorship, the belief that every child has a capacity to improve to a certain degree, and the belief that every special child should be educated to the highest possible level (Dash, 2005, p. 21). Thanks to successful efforts of American physicians Braille (developed the system of teaching skills of reading and writing for the blind), Howe, Sullivan (taught the deaf-blind-mute Helen Keller to speak and write to such extent that the latter became a graduate and an author of several books), and Gallaudet (the founder of the first school for the deaf in the United States) led to opening of a series of schools for the disabled children, most of which were residential schools. Yet, by the end of the 19th century, pessimism and disbelief had developed in the society in relation to the education of the handicapped. That had happened due to a number of reasons, some of which were parents’ disappointment because the miraculous cure did not come in a short period of time, lack of qualified personnel, influence of Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest Read More
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