Learning disabilities haven’t been around for very long. Maybe I should clarify that as, learning disabilities haven’t been “recognized” by the schools for very long. Our children today have more help than we did as kids, but our parents had almost no help at all. Back then, LD kids were either called “lazy,” “dumb,” or both.
The first identified learning disability was “dyslexia” in the late 1800s.
It wasn’t until 1963 that the official term, “learning disability” was used by Samuel A. Kirk. Thank you Samuel for your wisdom.
This paved the way for legislation in 1969 by the United States Congress in the form of the “Children with Specific Learning Disabilities Act,” which made it mandatory for children in need to receive services.
In 1975, the “Education for All Handicapped Children Act” created the basis for where we are today with a Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
In 1990, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was renamed as the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA) and the word “handicap” was changed to “disability.”
Also in 1990, Autism and Traumatic Brain Injury became eligible categories under IDEA allowing for special education services.
We are now up to 13 eligible categories and we will see more in the future, but it takes a long time to identify and recognize specific disorders.
When we first presented Auditory Processing Disorder in our IEP in the mid-90s we got a lot of funny looks from the IEP team. We’re lucky that services were much easier to come by the second time around.