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English Language Learners And Special Education


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English Language Learners And Special Education

  1. 1. English Language Learners In Special Education Peggy McLeod, Ed.D DMP Associates AIR, October 2 0 0 4
  2. 2. English Language Learners In Special Education <ul><li>What Can School Districts Do NOW? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Who Are English Language Learners? <ul><li>Limited English proficient or English language learners? </li></ul><ul><li>English language learners is the term currently preferred by researcher and practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>Limited English proficient is the term found in federal law </li></ul>
  4. 4. Each state has definition of LEP – but not consistent across states.
  5. 5. Demographics
  6. 6. There are over 5.5 million limited English proficient students in the United States LEP Students
  7. 7. Who Are English Language Learners? <ul><li>Most common language: Spanish (80% of LEP students) </li></ul><ul><li>Other languages: Vietnamese, Chinese, Hmong, Khmer, Navajo, Haitian Creole, Korean, Arabic, Urdu, Russian, Tagalog, Lao, Japanese </li></ul><ul><li>77% come from low-income families </li></ul>
  8. 8. Who Are ELL Students? <ul><li>ELLs are concentrated in schools that are linguistically homogeneous and have high numbers of low-income students </li></ul><ul><li>Many are in schools with unqualified teachers, inadequate resources and crumbling facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Latinos have the highest dropout rate in the country </li></ul>
  9. 9. Is There a Disproportionate Representation of ELLs in Special Education?
  10. 10. Disproportionality <ul><li>Are LEP students overrepresented or underrepresented? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the reasons for disproportionality? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we determine disproportionality? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>District </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Classroom </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. English Language Learners with Disabilities <ul><ul><li>In 1997 (the only year for which this data is available), the Office of Civil Rights determined that only 5.5% of LEP students in the U.S. were also receiving special education services. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The latest Descriptive Study of Services to LEP Students and LEP Students with Disabilities (OELA, 2003) reported approximately 9.0% of LEP students received special education services in 2001-2002. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Is The Issue Disproportionality or Inappropriate Placements?
  13. 13. First, what can we do before referring?
  14. 14. Improve General Education: Teacher Training <ul><li>General education teachers who can teach an increasingly diverse student population </li></ul><ul><ul><li>English language learners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Children from diverse cultural backgrounds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Children living in poverty </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Improve General Education: Strategies <ul><li>Teacher teams to improve instruction in general education </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data driven </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School-wide interventions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appropriate language supports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Parent and community involvement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How can schools understand their students if they don’t understand where they come from? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Prereferral Strategies* <ul><li>Child study teams </li></ul><ul><li>Informal problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Observations </li></ul><ul><li>Parent interviews </li></ul><ul><li>*Some students should be referred for an evaluation immediately, depending on suspected disability </li></ul>
  17. 17. Classify English Language Learners For Evaluation Purposes <ul><li>Limited English proficient – recent arrival (less than one year). </li></ul><ul><li>Limited English proficient – one to three years. </li></ul><ul><li>Long-term limited English proficient – over three years (regardless of services). </li></ul>
  18. 18. Why is LEP Status Important? <ul><li>Will determine language or languages of evaluation. </li></ul>
  19. 19. How Do You Determine LEP Status? <ul><li>For most students, information is included in referral. </li></ul><ul><li>Consult bilingual/ESL service providers. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Evaluation of Language When is it necessary to evaluate language or languages? When the suspected disability has language component.
  21. 21. Next Steps <ul><li>Determine suspected category of disability. </li></ul><ul><li>Determine existing data. </li></ul><ul><li>Determine additional data needed. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Next Steps (cont.) <ul><li>If additional data gathering is necessary, determine in which language or languages child will be evaluated. </li></ul><ul><li>Determination of language of evaluation can be done based on the previously outlined categories of LEP: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recent arrivals should be tested in native language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All other LEP students should be tested in both languages if appropriate and depending on suspected disability </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. What Should the IEP Team Do First? <ul><li>Section 300.533 (Determination of needed evaluation data) allows teams* to review existing data to determine if child has “…a particular category of disability” and “whether the child needs special education and related services…” </li></ul><ul><li>*Always include bilingual/ESL service provider as part of team. </li></ul>
  24. 24. For What Categories Should An Evaluation of Language Be Conducted? <ul><li>Speech Language Impaired </li></ul><ul><li>Specific Learning Disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Mental Retardation </li></ul><ul><li>Autism </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple Disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Traumatic Brain Injury </li></ul><ul><li>Deaf and Hearing Impaired </li></ul><ul><li>Deaf/Blind </li></ul>
  25. 25. For Which Categories Is It Not Necessary to Evaluate Language? * <ul><li>Visually Impaired </li></ul><ul><li>Orthopedically Impaired </li></ul><ul><li>Other Health Impaired </li></ul><ul><li>Emotionally Disturbed </li></ul><ul><li>*Unless the IEP team suspects that the child’s language skills are delayed as well. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Why Determine Suspected Disability For LEP Students? <ul><li>IEP teams routinely conduct language evaluations for students they suspect have a non-language related disability. </li></ul><ul><li>To better calibrate evaluations and produce better results. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Suggested Strategies for Evaluation <ul><li>Gather as much background information as possible including academic records, parent interviews*, and observations. </li></ul><ul><li>For additional instruments, use bilingual personnel or trained personnel working with trained interpreters. </li></ul><ul><li>*Particularly important for ELL students. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Suggested Strategies for Evaluation (cont.) <ul><li>Use only instruments normed on a sample that includes children similar to those being evaluated </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>Report findings descriptively, never report scores (approximate measures). </li></ul>
  29. 29. Evaluation Issues <ul><li>Beware of language load when using translations </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of item difficulty (importance of bilingual evaluators) </li></ul><ul><li>Train evaluation personnel to work with and prepare interpreters whenever necessary </li></ul>
  30. 30. Training Special Education Personnel to Work with Interpreters <ul><li>Evaluation personnel is often reluctant and unsure of how to work with interpreters. </li></ul><ul><li>Trained interpreters are much more effective in translating the message accurately. </li></ul><ul><li>Trained evaluation personnel working with trained interpreters will produce better results. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Planning for Special Education and Related Services <ul><li>Link evaluation results to IEP </li></ul><ul><li>Link language(s) of evaluation to language(s) of services </li></ul><ul><li>CONTINUE TO PROVIDE LANGUAGE SUPPORT SERVICES, e.g., bilingual instruction or ESL services </li></ul>
  32. 32. Delivery of Special Education and Related Services <ul><li>Use team approach whenever possible, especially for students who need special education and language support services </li></ul><ul><li>Allow time for team planning - saves time and money in the long run </li></ul>
  33. 33. What Else Can You Do? <ul><li>Frequent review of referrals and placements of ELL students </li></ul><ul><li>Close collaboration with bilingual/ESL personnel </li></ul><ul><li>Training for special education personnel </li></ul><ul><li>…? </li></ul>
  34. 34. Peggy McLeod, Ed.D ©2004 DMP Associates AIR, October 2 0 0 4