Investigating Parent and Professional Perspectives Concerning Special Education Services for Preschool Latino Children

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Belinda J Hardin, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Population changes in the US have created new challenges for service providers responsible for screening, determining eligibility, and providing appropriate educational services to young English Language Learners (ELLs). Six focus groups (two each) with administrators, teachers, and parents were conducted in two different locations to investigate the referral, diagnostic evaluation, and placement of prekindergarten Latino children who are ELLs and their families. The purpose of this study was to: (a) identify effective practices that differentiate between cultural/linguistic differences and learning differences; (b) identify the gaps in the current special education services; and (c) make recommendations to reduce the disproportionate representation of young ELL children based on these data. The results revealed a number of factors contributing to the disproportionality of young ELL children in special services such as: inconsistent screening and evaluation methods; insufficient numbers of bilingual professionals and trained interpreters; communication barriers and contradictory procedures that undermine meaningful partnerships with parents of ELLs; the need for professional development on the purposes and administration procedures of screening and evaluation tools; and a need for policy and regulation changes pertaining to ELL children such as the timing of screenings and evaluations.

Additional Information

Early Childhood Education Journal, 37, 93-102.
Language: English
Date: 2009
Early childhood special education, English Language Learners, Family participation, Attitudes

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