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The First One Hundred Years of Special Education in America?

1817 to 1925

This article traces the early history of educational opportunities for children with disabilities in the United States, from private institutions, to segregated public institutions, to public day schools. In all but a few exceptional instances, children with disabilities were completely excluded from public education prior to the twentieth century, and commonly were viewed as dumb, crippled, feeble-minded, mentally-defective, or diseased under a medical model of disability.