Webinar of Supporting Dually Identified Students: Multilingual Learners with Disabilities

New America, a policy and research organization, organized a panel webinar to address the latest research and practices of students who are multilingual learners with disabilities or who we call dually identified students. The title of the panel webinar was “How Can We Better Support Dual Language Learners with Disabilities?

In this webinar we heard from leading researchers in this area including Dr. Lillian Duran, Dr. Sara Kangas, Dr. María Cioè-Peña, Elizabeth Burr. The conversation focused on problems and solutions for educators in the field working with this population of students. For example, we discussed the challenges with assessment practices for students whose native language is not English, the lack of native language support in special education, the lack of teacher diversity to represent students and families, the disproportionality of students of color in special education, and many more. We also discussed solutions such as using observation-based assessment to monitor progress, interviewing parents who are the child’s first teachers, and observing student progress beyond standardized measures across multiple contexts to ensure that we can discriminate between language learning and a learning disability. We hope the session was helpful for educators and that it helps to move from misconceptions and misidentification of English learners with potential disabilities.

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