Special Education students who are also English Learners must have special considerations as part of the IEP planning and implementation process.
A special education student who is an English Learner must have his/her English Development addressed, in the same manner as any other student. In addition, there are specific requirements as to how those needs are addressed for special education legal compliance.
1. Initial Entry into School - when first entering the public school system, parents of special education student must be give a Home Language Survey. If there is any language other than English indicated on questions #1-3 (#4 is optional per district policy), the student must participate in English Language Development testing. If the student is not able to participate meaningfully in the CELDT, there are two alternative assessments:
Preschool English Language Survey (PELS) for special education preschoolers
Ventura County Comprehensive Alternate Language Proficiency Survey (VCCALPS) – designed for students who do or will take CAPA (5 years and older).
English Language Assessment for Special Education Preschoolers
CSHA Positon Paper: Tests for Bilingual Spanish-English Preschool and School-age Children
2. Initial Eligibility – Once a student has been identified as an English Learner, the Assessment Team needs to determine whether the “suspected disability” is truly a disability, or the result of difference caused by the normal process of acquiring English, which does not constitute a disability.
Guidelines for Assessment for Special Education of English Language Learners (2012)
3. IEP - The IEP for a special education English Learner has certain requirements:
A. English Language Development page (ELD) – NEW in the SIRAS IEP software program – Describes how student will participate in EL testing, the related IEP goals, and the ELD services he/she will receive – including location and number of minutes, and the strategies for assisting student to access core.
ELD page instructions
Menus for ELD page
B. Annual Goals (and Objectives, if applicable) for each Annual Goal, the language of Instruction must be noted. Also, all goals must be linguistically appropriate, meaning they are appropriate for the student’s EL level. In addition, there must be at least one goal for ELD based on the student’s levels on the four sections of the English Language proficiency test. An EL goal can also address another need related to the disability, but be sure to note that it is also an EL goal ensure and is at the appropriate EL level.
Preschool ELD Goals Bank
ELD Goals Bank
ELA Goals by ELD level
C. "Special Factors" on the LRE page - If you check "Special needs of English Learners" the new SIRAS IEP program will automatically include this statement -
"See English Language Development Page."
4. Speech-Language Services – There are specific guidelines for Speech-Language Pathologists providing speech or language service to ELs.
Speech and Language Guidelines for Providing Services to English Learner Special Education Students (Revised Summer 2011)
5. Reclassification to Fully English Proficient (RFEP) – Some students with disabilities may have difficulty meeting state and district guidelines for Reclassification. If the IEP team feels that the disability is impacting performance on the measures required for Reclassification, there is a review process by which the team can recommend Reclassification to the EL Department in the district.
Guidelines for Reclassification of English Learner Special Education Students
See also “Meeting the Needs of English Learners with Disabilities Resource Book” which covers issues related to Special Education ELs.