When I was a practicing SLP I remember sitting in IEP meetings and arguing for BOTH speech-language therapy services AND ESL for bilingual or ELL children who had speech and/or language impairment. Often, I would be told that, no, their district POLICY said that we would have to pick that it would be EITHER ESL or SLP services but NOT BOTH!
That never made sense to me, children who are in the process of learning English as a second language, can and sometimes do have speech and/or language impairment. So, logic tells me they would need both. I can’t imagine that we could say okay physical therapy OR speech-language therapy; or English OR Math classes; or Art OR Music, and so on. So why not special education services AND ESL? I think that this was especially true for language related services (reading/writing; speech/language), but that’s just an impression. I think the logic was that in ESL they would be learning language skills related to oral and written language. And that’s true. But, they would not be receiving the individualized services targeting their area of disability (which is not the same as trying to learn a second language).
Certainly, we don’t deny these services if the child is monolingual English. Districts don’t have policies that say, well if the child is learning to read with the teacher and has dyslexia– they don’t need to see a specialist too. Or, they talk every day at home and school, so let’s not work with a speech-language pathologist.
Anyway, here’s what the feds have to say about this policy.
“As explained in the Dear Colleague Letter: English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents jointly issued on January 7, 2015, by the Department and the Department of Justice (2015 DCL):
“The Departments are aware that some school districts have a formal or informal
policy of “no dual services,” i.e., a policy of allowing students to receive either EL
services or special education services, but not both. Other districts have a policy of
delaying disability evaluations of EL students for special education and related
services for a specified period of time based on their EL status. These policies are
impermissible under the IDEA and Federal civil rights laws… (p. 25)”
Did you see that?? IMPERMISSIBLE under the IDEA and Federal civil rights laws.