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secondary prevention refers to the early identi-

  • cation of handicapping

conditions (or potentially handicapping conditions) and providing appropriate intervention services before the condition worsens or affects other areas of devel- opment.

Early Intervention and Public Policy

In 1950, the National Association for Retarded Children (now the ARC) was founded. Efforts were put into motion to identify children with disabilities and to bring them out of attics and back rooms. Members of President John F. Kennedy’s family also were inuential through their public acceptance of their own family member with mental retardation. The Kennedys’ acceptance went a long way toward breaking down the social stigma attached to a family that allowed a child with a disability (especially a child with mental retardation) to be seen in public.

Screen and segregate

About the same time (1950), special education began in public school systems. These rst special education classes often provided little more than custodial care. Caldwell describes it this way:

My rst experience in lobbying was in Jefferson Cit , Missouri, where we were trying to get classes for the educable and trainable mentally retarded. The children would be tested, labeled, segregated into a special facilit , and virtually isolated again. These special facilities would keep them out of everybody’s hair … and [avoid] the irritation of not only the parents but also the teachers. … It would also get them out of the way of other children who would supposedly be held back by them. (p. 5)

The screen-and-segregate period lasted more than twenty years, at which point the constitutional rights of people with disabilities began to be recognized.

Identify and help

The identify-and-help period came about during the 1960s as a result of po- litical and social activities. Caldwell summed up this period thus: “We have not abandoned concern with screening, with trying to nd children who need help. …We now try to make the search earlier in hopes of affording early remediation or more accurately, secondary prevention” (p. 5; emphasis added).

Include and support

Since Caldwell’s signicant contribution, we have seen further change. In 1986, Madeleine Will, then assistant secretary at the Ofce of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (under the U.S. Department of Education), in an annual report regarding the status of special education programs, proposed what has been called the Regular Education Initiative. She cited concerns about some unintended negative effects of special education “pull-out” programs. Her re- port suggested that greater efforts to educate mildly and moderately disabled students in the mainstream of regular education be pursued (Will, 1986). Fur- ther contributions to include and support were made by the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, and the rulings in both the Holland and Oberti court cases (Board of Education, Sacramento School District v. Holland, 1992; Oberti v. Board of Education of Clementon School District, 1993). These two court cases resulted in rulings that demonstrated clear support for inclusive educational programs. Further support comes from the

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