ELL Students in Special Ed

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Stacey, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Stacey

    Stacey New Member

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    Nov 20, 2011

    In your experiences, are students who don't speak English well being placed in special education classes when they do not have learning disabilities? How can students be assessed fairly to make sure this doesn't happen? OR do you think it actually helps the students to be placed in special ed classes? Thanks for your feedback!
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 20, 2011

    In my district, it is very difficult to place a student who is ELL in special education. These students do qualify but only if they are not showing growth through RtI interventions. Then they are tested in both their native language and English. In order to label the child, they must show the disability across languages.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 20, 2011

    This is true in my district as well.

    I have a handful of students this year who are both ELL and special ed. Given my experience with ELLs, I can definitely see that these students have issues that are beyond the scope of their limited English proficiency.
     
  5. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Nov 20, 2011

    If you have access to their EL scores (your state probably has a standardized test to monitor their progress - ours is called CELDT), you may start to see a gap in skills. For example, a student might be up to advanced in speaking and listening, but still beginning in reading and writing. Or you may see siblings who have had the same language exposure and schooling who have moved along much faster than the one suspected of having learning disabilities. These are clues that might indicate further testing.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 20, 2011

    Students are not placed in sped unless there is a documented 'trail' of interventions, modifications, assessments and extensive testing. Simply not knowing English is not a qualifier for sped services.
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    The same is true here. I see quite a few students who are ELL and their special needs have simply been overlooked because teachers assumed any learning issues were solely language based. Usually by the time they get to high school, it's very difficult to get them special ed services. The parents just don't think it's needed or they are opposed to it. Very frustrating. :(
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Nov 20, 2011

    Yes, same here. We have a committee in my district that I have to take all of my "culturally and linguistically diverse" RtI students through before even being allowed to evaluate them for special ed. It's extremely hard to get them to qualify. We often wait for years on kids because it was assumed all along it was a language issue, when really it's been a learning disability. This is one of the things I get upset about in my district. My biggest issue is that about 80% of our classes are ELLs. When 1 or 2 of those students are really struggling, how can we say it's language when the other students who are in the same boat language wise are doing fine? We also offer reading and writing in Spanish in k-2. For some of my really low RtI kids, the Spanish teachers are coming and telling me they're dong really badly in Spanish class as well- yet we go round and round about whether or not this is a language issue. I just identified a 5th grader last week. At the IEP meeting, the parents said she'd had an extremely difficult time with reading since kindergarten, and asked why she was just now getting on an IEP. What a valid question, and one I didn't have a good answer for- in truth, she should have been on the IEP years ago, but everyone kept saying it was a language issue. Of course, we test them in both languages, so if they're doing great in Spanish, we can't qualify them for special ed. I did actually have someone on our "diversity committe" try to tell me last year that I couldn't identify a student with an LD because Spanish was his dominant language :dizzy:. This was a 3rd grader who had been at our school since Pre-K, received the Spanish and English literacy instruction for k-2, and couldn't really read in either language. Luckily, she was outvoted by the rest of the committe and I FINALLY got him on an IEP.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Nov 20, 2011

    Welcome to A to Z, Stacey. Are you by any chance a student taking teacher-licensure coursework?
     
  10. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Nov 20, 2011

    I have had two students in the past five years who I suspect were ELL only, but placed with me through "professional judgement", even though their testing did not qualify them for a learning disability. Yes, the RTI model was used, but as we don't even have an ELL program, maybe they were not getting the RTI that they needed.

    Common issues for the two: writing issues such as verb tense agreement and "the car red" vs "the red car", basic reading fine, but reading comprehension issues due to not knowing vocabulary, and following directions to do math problems (which are confusing even to kids whose first language is English).
     

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