Strategies for visually impaired bilingual learners to improve their understanding of academic language

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In 2014, 4.6 million students, or 9.4% of the public school student population, were English as a second Language Learners (ELLs) (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). As the United States becomes more diverse each year, the overall number of students who are ELLs is expected to increase. Conroy (2005) asserts that given the increase in the number of ELLs in special education, it is reasonable to assume that ELLs who are also visually impaired will too increase. Teachers may find ELLs with visual impairments a challenge when they are adapting materials for the diverse learners in their classrooms. Most have had little, if any, experience with English Language Learners with visual impairments. Some may falsely assume that these learners are unlikely to be successful in the classroom or are at risk for not mastering the standards (Kocyigit & Artar, 2015). Kocyigit and Artar (2015) state that learning differences can have an enormous effect on the classroom environment. Therefore, it is necessary to provide support to the teachers of ELLs with visual impairments on how to best meet their students’ needs and promote success.


This article can be found in Vol 62, Issue 2, Pages 26-32 of Visual Impairment and Deafblind Education Quarterly. It can be accessed on the VIDBEQ website:

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