English Learners with Disabilities: Linguistic Development and Educational Equity in Jeopardy

  • Sara E. N. KangasEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This chapter outlines current equity issues that surround the teaching of English learners (ELs) with disabilities. Drawing upon U.S. K-12 schools as the focal context, this chapter critically discusses how ELs with disabilities are often disadvantaged by policies and practices that are misaligned to their educational needs. Compounding this disadvantage are the persistent misconceptions that bilingualism is beyond the cognitive capacity of ELs with disabilities and that special education services are more critical than language services. As a consequence, these language learners are often deprived of opportunities for their linguistic development, which has significant ramifications for their academic trajectories. Thus, this chapter argues that English language teaching for ELs with disabilities is laden with social justice issues at every juncture. The chapter concludes with implications for safeguarding the bilingual development of language learners with disabilities.


English learners with disabilities Equity K-12 education 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA

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