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ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL) AND THE DISABLED CHILD

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ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL) AND THE DISABLED CHILD

 

What is ESL?

 

ESL means English as a Second

Language. The United States has become

more diverse. Many people from other

countries have immigrated to the United

States and English is not their primary

language. Some children do not hear

English until they attend school.

 

What does an ESL program

provide?

 

The goal of these programs is to help

foreign speakers become fluent in

English. Different teaching skills are

needed to help ESL students. An ESL

teacher should be certified to teach ESL

classes.

 

My child’s public school refuses to

enroll my child in an ESL program

what should I do?

 

Talk to an attorney. Under Federal law

no public (that includes charters) school

can deny equal educational opportunity

because of a person’s race, color, sex or

national origin. A public school cannot

refuse to help a child overcome language

barriers that interfere with equal

participation in instruction.

 

How do schools decide if there is a

language barrier or if a child has a

learning disability?

 

The school first interviews the parents.

The parents have a right to have an

interpreter present.. During the interview

the school can learn about the child’s

developmental history and whether the

child may have already been found to

have a learning disability.

The school then tests the child by using a

nonverbal IQ test or using tests in the

child’s first language. These tests help the

school decided if lack of English

proficiency is affecting their progress in

school or whether there is a learning

disability that needs to be addressed.

 

What happens if my child is not found

to have a learning disability?

 

There are a series of special tests that are

given to ESL students yearly that look at

their listening, speaking, reading and

writing proficiency. Each area has

different levels of proficiency. These

tests also help schools decide if there

may be a learning disability that has

been overlooked before or if special

accommodations should be made.

If your school is not testing your child

yearly and he or she is enrolled in ESL

classes you should talk with Families

Helping Families or a lawyer as soon as

possible to help keep the child from

falling behind.

 

What happens if my child in ESL

classes is found to be eligible for

Special Education?

 

Your child should keep getting ESL

services but also special services or

accommodations to help your child

with disabilities.

Children in Special Education should

be reevaluated every 3 years unless you

and the school agree otherwise. The

child can get reevaluated up to once a

year; however, it can be even more

frequently if you and the school agree

that it should be done more often.

Make sure your request for

reevaluation is in writing and make

sure it is done at least every 3 years.

 

Where Can I Get Help?

 

Families Helping Families

Networks. Find your local group at

www.fhfjefferson.org.

 

Louisiana Developmental

Disabilities Council website at:

www.lddc.org

 

Advocacy Center for the Elderly

and Disabled, a statewide free legal

services program. Call 1-800-960-

7705 or 1-855-861-3577 (TTY) or

visit their website at:

advocacycenter@advocacyla.org.

 

Legal Information available on

http://louisianalawhelp.org

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