Interview With Audrey
Eyewitness To The Inception Of Special Education

Over the years, I’ve had hundreds of discussions surrounding the abysmal state of the education system. It’s always the same issues discussed; lack of funding, lack of resources, lack of teachers and severe classroom overpopulation. With almost unanimous agreement regarding the decay of our school system, I began asking myself (and others), where we as a society went wrong. At what point did we begin falling behind and shortchanging our children? When did our Nation’s education system as a whole become a “political back burner?” This epidemic is all over the news, social media and most major education publications, yet NOTHING changes! If anything… the issue continues to worsen. Being a teacher today is extremely tough no matter the grade or subject, whether the classroom is inclusion or self-contained! Teachers are leaving the profession in droves and the problem continues to grow exponentially. I often wonder… what was it like being a teacher “back in the day”? Were behavior issues as rampant as they are today? What was it like to work in a school when IDEA was passed… what was it like before children with learning disabilities were recognized? Have we, as a nation, made ANY progress? As an educator, these are some of the questions that burn in my mind… and now, I have answers from an eyewitness to the birth of Special Education in the U.S.

Audrey Dalien
S.L.D. Teacher From 1948-1985

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview my husband Luke’s grandmother, Audrey Dalien.

Audrey started her teaching career at a one room school house located deep in the farm lands of Minnesota. Gaining her certificate in under a year, she conducted her first class in 1948.

After a couple years of teaching, she took a little over a decade off to raise her children. Audrey returned to teaching at a time when Special Education was gaining momentum across the country and several years later, became one of the first SLD teachers in the nation.

My goal is to help people gain insight into how teaching was in this country, and what we as a society can learn by simply looking in the rear view mirror.

The overall interview was lengthy, but extremely powerful! Audrey has literally seen it all! Working at a one room school house with coal for heat, being given a janitor closet for her first Special Education room, and great insight into the education system of years past.

I will be posting clips of the interview as they become available. Check back often for updates;

Question 1
How Important Is Education To Our Country’s Future?

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