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How do students qualify for Special Education?

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Presentation on theme: "How do students qualify for Special Education?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How do students qualify for Special Education?
With a focus on related ELL issues

2 Brief History of Important Events
– The law that brought special education services to all students. Special education grew RAPIDLY until 2004, and is currently declining. Response To Intervention might be primary cause for peak/decline. Services versus Place…

3 Important Questions, Related to Qualification
Language and/or Culture versus Disability Poverty versus Disability Delay versus Disability Combination of the above??? The important question, can the presenting problem be better explained via __________.

4 Brief Overview of our time
A little about the laws (sorry). Then, about the categories in a way that hopefully simplifies things.

5 WAC A-03020 (3) Each school district must ensure that:      (a) Assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess a student:      (i) Are selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis;      (ii) Are provided and administered in the student's native language or other mode of communication and in the form most likely to yield accurate information on what the student knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally unless it is clearly not feasible to so provide or administer;

6 Ochoa’s and Ortiz’s Book
“It is no doubt apparent at this point that assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse individuals is far more complicated than it may seem on the surface and certainly involves a great deal more than the misguided search for the “right” test.” Assessing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, page 167. Emphasis added.

7 WAC A-03040        (2)(a) A student must not be determined to be eligible for special education services if the determinant factor is:      (i) Lack of appropriate instruction in reading, based upon the state's grade level standards;      (ii) Lack of appropriate instruction in math; or      (iii) Limited English proficiency; and      (b) If the student does not otherwise meet the eligibility criteria including presence of a disability, adverse educational impact and need for specially designed instruction.      (3) In interpreting evaluation data for the purpose of determining eligibility for special education services, each school district must:      (a) Draw upon information from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, parent input, and teacher recommendations, as well as information about the student's physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior; and      (b) Ensure that information obtained from all of these sources is documented and carefully considered.

8 The Categories Areas of Eligibility (the categories)
Intellectual disability, a hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment (including blindness), an emotional behavioral disability, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf- blindness, multiple disabilities, or for students, three through eight, a developmental delay and who, because of the disability and adverse educational impact, has unique needs that cannot be addressed exclusively through education in general education classes with or without individual accommodations, and needs special education and related services.

9 The 3 Prongs 1) Disability – The characteristics of one of the categories has been met. 2) Adverse Impact- The noted disability is adversely impacting the student’s access to their education (e.g., reading skills too low to independently read classroom materials with comprehension). 3) Need for Specially Designed Instruction – WAC (c) Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible student, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction…

10 Important Note Only two of the categories require meeting a defined numerical criteria (SLD and DD), with a third hinting at numbers (ID). By numbers, we are talking about IQ score versus academic scores for SLD and standard deviations below the mean for DD.

11 Now, the categories, but let’s make it easier…
Some categories are less “judgment” dependent: Meaning, the adverse impact of the disability and the need for specially designed instruction are much easier for all to understand.

12 Examples of the “easier” categories
Hearing Impairment-Deafness Visual Impairment-Blindness Orthopedic Impairment (some caution here) Traumatic Brain Injury Deaf-Blindness Multiple Disabilities (Normally not a problem category) Autism

13 Orthopedic Impairment
Sometimes the people’s eyes create problems for their perceptions. Examples (student with walker and 4.0 student with CP)

14 Then, it becomes slightly more difficult
Intellectual Disability (some cautions) Emotional Behavioral Disability Other Health Impaired (OHI)

15 Intellectual Disability (ID) and OHI
Early on in the ID category, over identification was not uncommon for ELL students. That has been decreasing. Since the early 1990’s the identification of students with ADD and ADHD has grown rapidly, and if identified for special education services they tend to be placed into the OHI category. Intellectual Disability was formally known as Mental Retardation, and, …..

16 ELL issues that can arise
For Intellectual Disability, there are limitations regarding the cultural sensitivity of the tests and language can be a challenge to accurate testing. For Emotional Behavioral Disability, some of our students are coming from trauma and are faced with the inability to clearly express their needs. For Other Health Impaired, it can be difficult for parents to navigate our system to document their children’s needs.

17 Back to the categories, but the difficulties grow even greater….
Communication Disorder Developmental Delay

18 General issues with CD and DD
Some staff members are transitioning from the medical model to the school model….Which can impact CD qualifications. For the DD category, there are struggles understanding developmental norms and there is always the “We just want to help…”

19 ELL issues that can arise
For Communication Disorder, it can be difficult to separate language development/acquisition from language delay (no numerical line for qualification). Also, sometimes folks forget to take into account characteristics of previous language(s). (e.g, Vietnamese sounds/Spanish word order – girl very nice). The are some issues regarding students being qualified for articulation therapy for sounds not made in their native/primary language. For Developmental Delay, many students can qualify who are simply adjusting or learning language.

20 Back to the categories, the most difficult category and the most problematic category…
Specific Learning Disability (SLD) It is critical to note that approximately % of all students in special education are served under the category of SLD. SLD is the hardest category to accurately identify ELL students for special education services. SLD is the category most often used and overrepresented by ELL students.

21 Specific Learning Disability
SLD numbers may have dropped due to the proliferation of Response to Intervention (RTI)—a method of providing targeted assistance to young children who have difficulty learning—and other early-reading interventions (see Response to Intervention). Lastly, the identification of SLDs, though strictly outlined in policy, appears more subjective and prone to human error than the identification of most other disabilities; thus, SLD identification is perhaps more affected by related changes in policy, budget, personnel, etc. Source --- Fordham Institute Article on Trends

22 Why all the problems? The methodology used to qualify students
The lack of training on language development The lack of universal screening and interventions for struggling learners or the lack of correctly targeted interventions

23 Discrepancy Model The Discrepancy Model is the historical model for qualification under Specific Learning Disability. The Discrepancy Model uses the gap between IQ and achievement to determine whether or not a student is eligible. In other words, an IQ significantly above academic achievement indicates eligibility for special education services as a student with a Specific Learning Disability. OSPI has a table for these numbers.

24 SLD issues continued Before PL , there were 6-8 disorders that were all wrapped up under the SLD label. Although most categories have been stable in growth rates from the 1970’s, SLD tripled from the 1970’s through the 1990’s and has been on a steady decline since just after Interesting note, The decline in SLD numbers does correlate to the increase in RTI model implementation.

25 A refresher about IQ’s 100 is the average
About 67% of people are from Intellectual Disability is often seen as under 70 Gifted is often seen as over 130

26 IQ : Highest measured IQ 2.5 % of the population IQ’s 130+ 150 – 160: Highly gifted 130 and above: Gifted 115 Average Range ca. 67 % of population 100: Average 85 97.5 % of The population IQ’s 70 and below: Intellectual disability : Lowest measurable IQ

27 The 3 Prongs--- For a lot of ELLs
1) Disability – The numbers can usually be met to say yes for ELL students under SLD. 2) Adverse Impact – The team will almost always say yes. 3) Need for Specially Designed Instruction – Yes!!!! However, this all left out (ignored???) the laws about ruling out 1) language, 2) Culture, 3) Instruction

28 The Question… The question is not whether or not the student needs help, but instead… What is the correct intervention and is the presenting problem representing a disability, delay, difference, and/or language acquisition???

29 Problems… SLD is the largest category with the most disproportionality and this conflicts with the laws… Tests “(i) Are selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis;”, but there aren’t any tests that solve this dilema..

30 Problems… Tests, “Are provided and administered in the student's native language….” but this frequently does not work….

31 Problems…. (2)(a) A student must not be determined to be eligible for special education services if the determinant factor is:      (i) Lack of appropriate instruction in reading, based upon the state's grade level standards; But, the student needs help….

32 Problems… “(iii) Limited English proficiency; and”
But the student needs help….

33 Not a solution…. The qualification of ELL students, or any students, as a student in need of special education services, when the answer to the presenting problem is a different intervention (Difference/Delay versus Disability).

34 Solutions Early intervention (Dr. Carnine testifying to senate):
Moving to a response to intervention model can dramatically reduce the long-term failure that is often associated with the IQ- achievement discrepancy formula. 70 to 90 percent of the most at risk children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade can be brought to the average range with effective instruction.

35 Solutions Intense Intervention, Dr. Torgeson out of Florida:
“Within 1 year following the intervention, 40% of the children were found to be no longer in need of special education services.” This was only 8 weeks of intervention at 2 hours per day and the children were, “with severe reading disabilities…”

36 Solutions A strong pre-referral process that takes into account the most critical data and focuses on targeting interventions correctly. Parent Training and Parent Engagement.

37 The end….. Thank You, Steve


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