The Curriculum in the Early Years: Special Education Program

In 1972 the college began a program in special education.  Upon completion of the program students were certified to teach both special education and elementary education.   The program in special education was offered to elementary education majors through an interdepartmental course of studies conducted by the education and psychology departments.  The objectives of the program were to “develop teachers who are mature, competent and dedicated to the maximum development of human potential through positive human interaction.”  The 1972 college catalog notes that “the program, leading to the B.S. in Education degree, will prepare students to teach the mentally retarded and children with learning disabilities.”  Special Ed courses were listed at the 300 level and included Psychology of the Exceptional Child, Curriculum Methods in Special Education, Psychology of the Mentally Retarded, Field Work and Student Teaching.  The college designed the program when special education was in its infancy.  It was not until three years later,  in 1975 that the Education of All Handicapped Children Act was passed (Pub. L. 94-142).  This law required that all schools accepting federal funds provide equal access to education for children with physical and mental disabilities.

Submitted by:  A. Schwelm, Assistant Library Director

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