So far, the 21st century has brought us yet more policy changes, scientific studies, outstanding advances in assistive technology and continued development of various teaching methods.
2000 ‘till now
Although speech to text programs have been around since the early 1950s, it wasn’t until the late
1990s and early 2000s that these programs have been able to be dramatically improved upon. Research is still being done to further improve accuracy and ease of use.
The Controversial No Child Left Behind Act was passed in an attempt to further ensure quality public education for all children. The general idea behind the act is admirable, but the greater dependence on standardized testing and the complicated voucher system are two areas which have served as greater handicaps than advantages in the educational arena.
IDEA was again reauthorized. Now, school personnel have more authority in special education placement, and it was tailored to fit the No Child Left Behind Act – for better or worse.
A gene which could be strongly associated with dyslexia was discovered by Dr. Jeffrey Guren and his team at Yale.
Tablet style computers became more affordable, and opened up new worlds of reading to people with language based difficulties like disability, thanks to the wider range of customizable reading materials.
I’m a huge fan of the Kindle platform.
Touch screen technology was developed and used with compatible programming increasingly to help non-verbal individuals communicate more clearly with the people around them.
The Elementary and Secondary Education act, or ESEA, which was created in 1965, was reformed in an attempt to give individual states greater freedom from the restrictions put upon them by No Child Left Behind.
Revised DSM V was put into effect. This document is the go-to source for all types of psychologically related disorders, including learning disabilities. One noticeable change is the elimination of the term “Asperger’s Syndrome” and grouping those with that former diagnosis under the general umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder. There was an attempt to group dyslexia under the umbrella of “specific learning disabilities”, but due to extensive protest, that was not done.
However, this new document is so deeply flawed that many in the medical field will no longer be using it as a guide for diagnosis. Instead, there are groups of professionals who will concentrate more on determining physical indications of disorders instead of the methods suggested by the DSM.
That said, this year, there have been numerous studies about the brain structure of various groups of people, based on disorder, gender and other factors. Because the ones I’ve found so far are still in their theory stages, I won’t include them in this list just yet.
Today, we live lives profoundly influenced by these changes and many others not listed here. Modern life is a far more delicate dance of intertwining issues revolving around culture, education and internal processes. Each of us will take what we will away from what we learn and experience, before creating our own advances towards the history of the beautiful world we live in.
Part One of this series
Part Two of this series