Identifying and addressing learning disabilities in English language learners
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Students who are English Language Learners (ELL) are a diverse group who are an expanding demographic in schools. ELL students come with a wide range of challenges, including how to assess them when they are such a heterogenous group, and how to address their needs when they all have different educational and linguistic backgrounds. The question of assessment becomes even more complicated when the student who is ELL is also learning disabled (LD) as language proficiency issues and learning disabilities manifest in similar ways. The goal of this applied research project is to examine how to flag a student who is ELL and possibly LD as early as possible, as well as how to meet the needs of all students in the classroom including those who are ELL and those who are LD. The resources created for this project include assessment tools, language profile sheets, cognates and loaner word vocabulary lists, language behaviour expectation sheets and supporting strategies, and academic vocabulary lists.