Psych 143b-Tape#3a Issues and trends in Special Education We want to begin by defining special education and then we are going to consider some historical perspectives on this issue.
Special Education- can be viewed as a planned intervention designed to prevent or reduce of conditions that may interfere with the psychological functioning of the student. S.E.-was founded on the assumption that all children can reach their full potential, given the opportunity, given affective teaching and given the proper resources. S.E. was originally designed for children who were considered inappropriate for public school instruction, children with physical sensory and social impairments. However, S.E. did not emerge as a distinct category within general education until the first part of the 20th century. Although the specific category of S.E. is a relatively recent occurrence, many of the ideas underlying the care and education of exceptional children originated at earlier times. What we are going to do now is consider some of these earlier perspectives.
More Ancient or Primitive Societies In most primitive societies, survival represented the major obstacle facing the individual with an exceptional condition. The oldest accounts of medical intervention with individuals with exceptional conditions come from Ancient Egypt and date from about 1500 years BCE.
In Ancient Greece human exceptionality was considered from both the medical and the philosophical points of view. Egyptian ideas considering medical interventions were later adopted by those interested in the etiology and medical treatment of conditions such as deafness, visual impairment, and mental retardation. Philosophers directed their attention towards sensory impairments concluding that deafness was more intellectually disabling than blindness and concluding that the deaf therefore were incapable of reasoning and unteachable. Apart from medical and philosophical interests in human exceptionality the treatment of exceptional individuals was typically quite harsh in both Greece and Rome.