Posted on 02/14/2012 at 11:27 AM by Global Reach

The Iowa Culture and Language Conference (ICLC) was held November 7-9, 2011 in Coralville, Iowa. Both Teresa Walker and Angie Corderman from Northwest AEA presented on, "The Top Ten Areas to Consider before Placing ELL Students in Special Education."  Many special education teachers and administrators from across Iowa attended the session. [Please read below to see the top ten list.]

The Fallacy!!
“If ELLs are failing in general education, there is no harm in placing them in special education where they will receive individualized instruction” (Anonymous, n.d.).

The Truth!!
There are ten top areas that must be considered before “suspecting a disability” on a student who is identified as ELL.

10. Cultural Competency
9. Number of Years in the U.S. and/or in school
8.  Variables
7. Interventions
6. Assessments
5. Comparisons
3. Law
2. Disability vs. Difficulty
1. Does the disability exist in the first language?

The above criteria or ten critical areas can help a SAT team make a decision with integrity before placing a student identified as ELL on an IEP. 

For full access and sources, please see the attached PowerPoint. Feel free to email Teresa Walker at or Angie Corderman at with any questions.

Thank you.

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