The English Language Learner Is Defined By The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

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An English language learner is defined as someone who “has sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language and whose difficulties may deny such individual the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is in English” (Ortiz, Woika, 2013, p. 2). As defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a child with a disability has “mental retardation, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; and who, by reason thereof, needs…show more content…
If a student is both an English language learner and has a learning disability, their educational needs become inherently more complex. However, through research on the needs of English language learners with disabilities, on various case laws, and by participating in lectures on the topics of English language learners and students with learning disabilities, I have come to a clearer understanding of these unique needs as well as the processes necessary to identify, evaluate, and work with these students. Prior to the 1960s, both English language learners and students with disabilities were often segregated from their peers, given inadequate instruction, and inappropriately assessed (Ortiz, Woika, 2013). This began to change when, with the holding of Brown vs. board of Education (1954), a principle for equal educational opportunities for all students was brought to fruition (Yell, 1998). After this decision, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 prohibited the discrimination of people on the basis of race, color, or national origin in the operation of federally assisted programs. Further, to
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