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Meeting the multicultural needs of Hispanic students in special education.

Meeting the Multicultural Needs of Hispanic Students in Special Education

* During the past two decades the number of Hispanic persons in the United States has increased dramatically. This growth is projected to occur at an even more rapid rate during the next decade. The purpose of this special issue is to focus attention on the needs of Hispanics who are handicapped or at risk of educational failure. It should not be inferred that this is the only or even the most needy group. Because Hispanics do represent the largest, rapidly increasing group within the language minority cohorts, their needs require immediate attention. However, many of the issues raised with regard to Hispanics are relevant for other ethnic groups.

There is an international flavor to the issue because the concerns of bilingual special education are not unique to the United States. Contributing authors have been solicited from Canada as well as states strongly impacted by sustained immigration of limited English proficient (LEP) students. Each author has an established record of experience in the field and is recognized in his or her area of expertise.

Florida has the fourth largest LEP population in the nation. The University of Florida has held the leadership role in providing bilingual special education training and research in the state and region. Sandra Fradd and Vivian Correa have provided this leadership through a variety of programs they have designed and implemented as a means for increasing personnel competency in working with handicapped and at-risk language minority students. In their opening article, Fradd and Correa point out the critical areas of concern for meeting the needs of Hispanic students.

California has the largest number of LEP students as well as a large group of personnel conducting research and providing training in this area. Richard Figueroa is the director of the "Special Education Demonstration Project: Hispanic Students." This longitudinal research program, which is sponsored by Dr. Shirley Thornton, California Deputy Superintendent for specialized programs, is documenting the available knowledge-base in bilingual special education. Jim Cummins, Robert Rueda, Nadeen Ruiz, Richard Figueroa, Richard Duran, Henriette Langdon, and Leonard Baca are part of this research and their present contributions comprise a synthesis of their work with the California project. Jim Cummins outlines a theoretical matrix for addressing the major issues in bilingual special education. Robert Rueda presents models for reconceptualizing the eligibility procedures for special education services. Nadeen Ruiz presents the conceptual and applied dimensions for bilingual special education curricula. Richard Figueroa examines the field of school psychology, its literature, status, and future with respect to meeting the needs of bilingual pupils. Richard Duran discusses the psychometric and dynamic assessment procedures currently available for special education "diagnosis." Henriette Langdon reviews the field of speech and language services for bilingual students. Leonard Baca and Christine Amato review the theoretical framework for designing an interdisciplinary model for bilingual special education programs, emphasizing coordination of services, and multidisciplinary problem-solving.

This special volume of Exceptional Children has been developed to broadly present some of the issues and to focus on some potential solutions to this growing need. This effort, however, is incomplete; many important topics have not been covered. The contents of this issue should be viewed as a point of dialogue. National and international communication and collaboration are required. A comprehensive agenda and commitment at all levels are necessary to effectively articulate the issues and garner the energies needed to address them.

SANDRA H. FRADD is Associate Research Scientist, Institute for Advanced Studies in Communication Processes, University of Florida, Gainesville. RICHARD A. FIGUEROA is Professor, Division of Education, University of California, Davis. VIVIAN I. CORREA is Associate Professor, Department of Special Education, University of Florida, Gainesville.
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Title Annotation:introduction to special issue
Author:Fradd, Sandra H.; Figueroa, Richard A.; Correa, Vivian I.
Publication:Exceptional Children
Date:Oct 1, 1989
Previous Article:Psychological testing of linguistic-minority students: knowledge gaps and regulations.
Next Article:Hispanic students at risk: do we abdicate or advocate?

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