The relative recency of LD as a category makes its history an important consideration. Why was LD created as a category of special education? What forces resulted in its emergence as a new special education classification? What need did LD fulfill within the spectrum of special education? Although LD is not a static phenomenon and will quite likely change over time, it is important to examine the historical influences through which it was born. By examining its antecedents, we can establish a baseline from which to better understand the basic nature of LD. Weiderholt (1974) commented on the need for historical perspective in the study of LD:

Until the late 1950s, investigators in a number of disciplines were engaged in relatively independent work that would later contribute to the development and unification of the LD field.