Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners with Special Needs

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners with Special Needs

February 7 and 13, 2024


Virtual Meeting (Zoom)


This two session workshop will give a broad overview on determining language difference vs. language disabilities within our English learner population. Participants will have interactive learning experiences with collaboration and asset-based mindsets being central components. Participants will explore Federal and state language learning, Special Education and civil rights laws, culturally and linguistically responsive assessment, and best practices and resources related to English learner students with disabilities (ELSWD).


  • Watch the following short videos:
  1. Zacarian, D.  (2016 Colorin Colorado) Over- and under-identification of ELLs with disabilities (1:34)
  2. Zacarian, D. (2016 Colorin Colorado).  Student scenario for over-identification: Li (4:44)
  • Write a brief response to videos, responding to the guiding questions: How do these relate to your own experiences with ELs and ELSWD? What do you hope to gain from this course?


Participants will be able to…

  • Understand the laws protecting ELs and ELs with disabilities (ELSWD) and determine implications for practice; 
  • speak about diverse students using asset-based thinking; and 
  • define the collaborative roles of diverse team members serving ELs and ELSWD, especially in information-gathering and sharing of expertise.

Anne Dolan

Consultant, MATSOL
  • Sara Nelson