In 2004, when I first started to investigate the history of the learning disability construct, I quickly found that the available literature on the topic fell into two categories, valid historical scholarship and celebrationist narratives. There were a small number of serious historical works by Carrier (1983, 1986, 1987) and Franklin (1987, 1994), who examined the growth of the learning disability diagnosis as a political and scientific development over many decades.

I framed my own research in the tradition of Franklin (1987, 1994) and Carrier (1983, 1986, 1987), upholding the standards of research methodology and critical analysis set by historians (e.g., Danto, 2008; McDowell, 2002). My goal has been to determine where this notion of learning disability came from and how it grew in the work of many scientists over time. I...

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