Strategies to Identify and Support English Learners With Learning Disabilities


January 2016

No single method has proven effective in differentiating between English learner students who have difficulty acquiring language skills and those who have learning disabilities. As a result, schools, districts, and states struggle with this issue. Misidentified students can end up in classrooms or programs mismatched to their needs, which can hamper their educational achievement. This resource brief describes key elements of research-based processes that can help identify and suggest appropriate services for English learner student populations. It also highlights five comprehensive state manuals aimed to assist educators in identifying and supporting English learner students who may have learning disabilities.


"States Struggle to Identify, Support ELLs with Learning Disabilities" (June 6, 2016) Education Week

"What We (Don't) Know About English-Learners and Special Education" (July 22, 2015) Education Week

REL West Report: Identifying and Supporting English Learner Students with Learning Disabilities: Key Issues in the Literature and State Practice