Posted on 11/21/2019 at 11:56 AM by Blog Experts

Last spring, I had the privilege of listening to Steve Gill present information from his co-authored book: "The ELL Critical Data Process- 2nd Edition: Distinguishing between disability and language acquisition."  One salient point he shared was that of disproportionality among EL students identified for special education services nationwide.  

As a response to this trend, he developed the LE3AP theme to help educators determine disability in EL populations.  The LE3AP theme stands for Look at Exposure, Experience, Expectations And Practice.  Questions surrounding LE3AP include: Has the child seen what the teacher is concerned about?  Has the child had experience to try the skill?  Has there truly been an expectation to learn the skill? If the skill is less than desired, has a systematic intervention been used to improve the skill?   

In Steve's book, he shares an analysis matrix to guide educators when determining whether a disability is suspected or not.  The preschool matrix addresses 10 areas including: exposure, experience, household expectations, intervention (practice), parental literacy, the approach taken with regards to English learning, child's primary language, observation, parent interview, and developmental history.  Once the matrix is completed, the IEP team talks through the responses and determines if further intervention is warranted or if a full and individual evaluation is appropriate.  

For more information about LE3AP and the ELL Critical Data Process look for Steve and Ushani's book on or contact Steve at

Maureen Heilman, speech-language pathologist at Northwest AEA

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