As the number of ELL students increase, it will become increasingly difficult for teachers to diagnose which students suffer from a communication disorder and which students merely are struggling with language acquisition. How can a teacher do this?
One red flag is if the student has difficulty in both English and his/her native language. This may require research on the part of the teacher - speaking with parents, family, or friends who speak a similar language - and may also require the help of professionals with skills in communication disorders and proficiency in the language of the child.
Because of the stigma attached to any student with a disability, ensuring that an ELL student does not have to face the extra burden of being a special education student is vitally important. Furthermore, performing such a service ensures that the special education resources at a school are not being taxed on students who may only need ELL services.
For more information, see attached document.
By Cary Sabados