State Policy and Guidance for Identifying Learning Disabilities in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

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Learning Disability Quarterly


This study investigates how state Departments of Education address the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students as they relate to the identification of students with a specific learning disability (SLD). A qualitative research design of directed content analysis was used to examine each state’s regulatory criteria for SLD, as well as state guidance documents on SLD, response to intervention, referral processes, and English Language Learners. States varied regarding the degree to which they provided legislation and/or guidance for practices of identifying SLD in CLD students. Findings were organized around four promising practices: (1) assessment, (2) personnel, (3) instruction and intervention, and (4) systemic integration of general education, special education, and English as a Second Language. Implications for policy, practice, and future research are discussed.


© Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2013