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1 In this chronicle of the field of learning disabilities, we have drawn upon original sources as well as other prior histories of the field: Hallahan & Cruickshank, 1973; Lerner, 2000; Mercer, 1997; Wiederholt, 1974. The writing of any history, especially when it is restricted to a certain page-length, reflects the particular point of view, or bias, of the author(s). Therefore, we encourage the reader to consult these other histories to supplement the information in the present paper.
2 Actually, in 1836, a little-known country doctor named Dax presented a paper to a medical society in France, in which he noted that over the course of his career he had seen about 40 cases of brain-injured patients with speech problems, and none of them had damage solely in the right hemisphere. “His report aroused little interest, and Dax died the following year unaware that he had anticipated one of today’s most important areas of neuropsychological research” (Pinel, 1997, p. 412).
3 Anderson and Meier-Hedde (2001), in an excellent summary of several early case studies of dyslexia, have questioned Morgan’s legitimacy as the first to report on word-blindness in children. They note that James Kerr, Medical Superintendent to the Bradford School Board, delivered a presentation 6 months prior to Morgan’s publication in which he reported on a child with word-blindness. However, when Kerr’s essay was published in 1897, the reference to the boy with word-blindness was terse. He listed several cases of various kinds, including a “ boy with word blindness, who can spell the separate letters, is a trouble…” (Kerr, 1897, p. 668). In any case, it is fair to say that Morgan was probably the first to publish on word-blindness in children.
4 As we discuss later, the need for intensive instruction has re-emerged at the end of the 20th century as a theme among some learning disabilities researchers.
5 Newell Kephart later became a major historical figure in the learning disabilities field in his own right, with his advocacy for perceptual-motor training for children with learning disabilities. We discuss his work in a later section.
6 Although recommending a general focus on perceptual training, Strauss and Lehtinen did not provide many specific perceptual training recommendations. For example, their discussion of perceptual training was nowhere near as detailed as those of Newell Kephart, Marianne Frostig, and Gerald Getman, whom we discuss later. Furthermore, although Strauss and Lehtinen did make some mention of the value of phonics instruction, they primarily discussed it in the context of auditory perceptual problems and offered few suggestions for phonics instruction.
7 In the 1960s and 1970s there were several other studies that assessed Strauss and Lehtinen’s and Cruickshank’s recommendations, focusing specifically on the use of reduced environmental stimulation, primarily through the use of cubicles (Gorton, 1972; Jenkins, Gorrafa, & Griffiths, 1972; Rost & Charles, 1967; Shores & Haubrich, 1969; Slater, 1968; Sommervill, Warnberg, & Bost, 1973). In general, these studies showed improvements in attending skills but no improvements in academic achievement.
8 Bureau of Education for the Handicapped, U.S. Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; Neurological and Sensory Disease Control Program, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke
9 Kirk (1976) stated that this study brought about renewed interest in Howard Skeels’ (Skeels & Dye, 1939) original study, in which institutionalized young children with mental retardation were provided stimulation by institutionalized teenage girls with mental retardation. Encouraged to do a followup, Skeels (1966) found evidence that the effects of the program lasted into adulthood. Kirk also stated that the Skeels study and his served to help convince Congress years later to fund Head Start and preschool programs for children with disabilities.
10 Recently, the ITPA has been revised (Hammill, Mather, & Roberts, 2001). Ironically, the senior author of the ITPA-3, Donald Hammill, was one of the strongest critics of the original ITPA. The ITPA-3 focuses more exclusively on language and does not include subtests devoted to visual perception.