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Published by Barbara Bray

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Published by: Barbara Bray on Oct 30, 2008
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Anne D’Alonzo10/26/08Case Study A — FridaBackground Summary
Bilingual (Spanish and English) girl, age 6.10. English dominant.
Parents immigrants from Mexico, 18 years ago. They speak Spanish at home, and verylittle English. Brother (21) born in Mexico, and does not live at home. Sister (16) lives athome and speaks English with John.
I have communicated with parents through a translator (at IEP and ELAC meetings) andwith my meager Spanish.
Mother reports that John is very friendly as they walk around the neighborhood—he sayshello and converses, while she can’t.
Mother has requested that directions for homework by translated into Spanish so that sheand father can help John.
Mother works afternoon-nights, while father is home later in the afternoon. Reports thatthere are no other children in the neighborhood, so John spends afterschool time watchingT.V. (in English).
Attends integrated (inclusion) OUSD first-grade classroom, staffed by full-time aide, gen.ed. teacher, and me, the special education teacher; 4 of the 18 children in the class receivespecial education services.
Previous to current placement, attended CDC gen. ed. preschool, Pre-K class for studentswith communication handicaps and SDC Kindergarten for students with autism andcommunication handicaps.
Special Education
Special education designation: Speech and Language Impairment; originally qualified inMarch 2006 in preschool. At recent tri IEP, he still qualifies under SLI due to articulationand expressive and receptive language delays. His auditory processing and memory aresignificantly below age expectations.
Referred both by mother and by preschool teacher due to concerns about his articulationand expressive language skills. Initially evaluated in both English and Spanish by a bilingual speech and language therapist.
Meets criteria for ADHD, with inattention as primary problem. He often blurts outanswers before hearing entire questions.
Language-related goals include provide story to explain mathematical problem situation,answering WH ?s (using correct pronouns), restating central idea of a text, and following3-step directions.
 Language/Communication Abilities (Pragmatics)
Able to communicate his needs and feelings through words. He will often say, “I doinggood?” and is concerned about pleasing adults and doing well. When I wore a bright
green shirt one day, he said, “That scary color. Don’t like it.” He will ask to read books,and is very concerned about missing out on activities. He began to cry when he was toldhe needed to stay in at recess to finish some classwork.
Tends to repeat words/phrases when speaking—this behavior could be due to learning asecond language and difficulty the words to express himself in English.
Plays with peers, usually superheroes. They seem to understand that John is saying“Ironman” when I hear “Eigerman.”
 Language Difference versus Disorder—Evaluated on 21 “Possible Indicators of Language- Learning Disability,” from McKibbin-Roseberry, Celeste (2002).
Multicultural Students withSpecial Language Needs, second ed.
 Academic Communication Associates, pp. 221-222.
Note: CLD with language disabilities demonstrate problems in both primary languageand English.
1. Difficulty learning language at normal rate, even with special assistance2. Deficits in vocabulary4. Communication difficulties at home6. Auditory processing problems (poor memory and poor comprehension)7. Lack of organization, structure, and sequence in spoken and written language10. Slower development than siblings (as per parent report)14. Difficulty paying attention15. Need for frequent repetition and prompts during instruction16. Need for a program of instruction more structured than that used by other students17. Difficulties affecting grammar and sentence structure18. Difficulties in the use of precise vocabulary
 Relevant Issues—English learners and literacy
Visual cues are important for English learners; however, John will often misinterpret the pictures, or develop a completely off-topic response to the pictures.
English learners require frequent checks for understanding, especially regardingdirections for accomplishing a task. John is slow to begin academic work and to completeit. His mother reports that at home he will seem to listen to directions but not alwaysunderstand (in Spanish). John requires 1:1 assistance in class to help him begin work.
Had participated in CELDT testing and SRA Language for Learning (OUSD program for English language learners).
Current Issues—Assessment Bias
Strategies that Reduce Bias in Assessment excerpted from
The Journal of Educational Issuesof Language Minority Students, v14 p269-300, Winter 1994.
REDUCING BIAS IN THE ASSESSMENT OF CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLYDIVERSE POPULATIONS by Robert D. HernandezPlease refer tohttp://www.ncela.gwu.edu/pubs/jeilms/vol14/hernand.htmCurrently, as in the past, children whose language is other than English are, in many cases,misdiagnosed as having communicative disorders and placed in special education programsbased on results from tests that were administered in English. No attention was given to thebiased content and norms which reflect the values and experiences of the white, Englishspeaking, middle class population (Mercer, 1980, 1983). Bilingual children who performunsatisfactorily in the school setting because of limited exposure to English and/or culturaldifferences need to be distinguished from children who demonstrate communicativedisorders and who require special education intervention. When evaluating childrensuspected of a communicative disorder it becomes important to determine what is adifference versus what is considered a disorder (Mattes, 1984; Taylor, 1986).
 Five strategies have been identified that when used appropriately reduce bias in assessment (Chamberlin & Mendinos Landurand, 1991):
1. Increased knowledge/awareness of cultural and linguistic backgroundThe educational level of the parents, current status of employment, the number of children in thefamily, and income level will help determine a child's acculturation. The meaning of bilingualismvaries throughout the literature. Some researchers focus on the
passive (listening and writing)
competence in both languages in terms of their equality while others focus on the equal productive competence as in
speaking and writing
(Albert & Obler, 1978). When it comes tolabels,
"balanced" versus "non-balanced"
(Damico, 1991) are used to describe bilinguallanguage development. An equal level of proficiency in the two languages in all aspects of communication is used to describe a balanced speaker of two languages. A greater proficiency inthe primary or native language over the second language is the case for a non-balanced speaker (Hamayan & Damico, 1991). It is important to consider that students come from linguistic backgrounds other than English, yet may be more proficient in English than in the native or  primary language.

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