Dis-labeling the Ables: The Overrepresentation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students Receiving Special Education Services
Keywords:culturally and linguistically diverse, misidentification, overrepresentation, special education
There are significant changes in the education system’s demographics due to the increased immigration into the United States. A growing demographic has unique characteristics and academic needs for educators to recognize. This lack of understanding often causes the misidentification of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students as having special educational needs. The present research examined the factors contributing to the overrepresentation of CLD students receiving special education services in an urban school district in the Midwestern United States. Through a qualitative phenomenological study of six CLD families regarding their perceptions of their children’s evaluation for special education services, three themes emerged: inaccurate screenings, grade retention, and parental lack of awareness of special education services. Based on these findings, this research calls for preparing teachers to provide culturally responsive services, carefully identifying culturally and linguistically diverse students, and educating CLD parents about special education services in their native language.
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