Screening and Evaluation of Culturally
and Linguistically Diverse Populations
Lillian Durán, Ph.D.
Utah State University
Part Two
FL Developmental Delay Criteria
 (2) Criteria for eligibility. A child is eligible for the special program for
children who are developmentally delayed when the following criteria
are met:
(a) The child is three (3) through five (5) years of age.
(b) Documentation of one of the following:
1. A score of two (2) standard deviations (SD) below the mean or a
twenty-five (25) percent delay on measures yielding scores in months
in at least one (1) area of development; or
2. A score of 1.5 standard deviations (SD) below the mean or a twenty
(20) percent delay on measures yielding scores in months in at least
two (2) areas of development; or
3. Based on informed clinical opinion, the eligibility staffing committee
makes a recommendation that a developmental delay exists and
exceptional student education services are needed.
(c) The eligibility staffing committee in accordance with paragraph 6A6.0331(2)(b), F.A.C., has made a determination concerning the effects
of the environment, cultural differences, or economic disadvantage.
 (4) Procedures for evaluation.
 (a) Delay is documented by a multidisciplinary team in accordance with
paragraph 6A-6.0331(2)(c), F.A.C., utilizing multiple measures of
assessment which include:
1. Standardized instruments, judgement based assessments, criterion
referenced instruments, systematic observation, functional skills
assessments, or other procedures selected in consultation with the
parent(s); or
2. Informed clinical opinion utilizing qualitative and quantitative
information to determine the need for early intervention services; and
3. Parent report which can confirm or modify information obtained and
describe behavior in environments that the district may not be able to
(b) When a developmental delay cannot be verified by the use of
standardized instruments, the delay(s) may be established through
observation of a typical functioning in any one (1) or more of the
developmental areas. A report shall be written documenting the
evaluation procedures used, the results obtained, the reasons for
overriding those results from standardized instruments, and the basis
for recommending eligibility.
Example Alternative Eligibility
 “The standards and procedures (standardized, norm-referenced
scores) used with the majority of children were not used with
this child, as the instruments were not normed on bilingual
children who speak languages other than English. Such normreferenced scores are not considered valid for this child. The
objective data used to conclude that this child has a disability
and is in need of specialized instruction included: (MODIFY AS
APPROPRIATE) parent comments, Head Start teacher
comments, developmental data, observation of the child in the
home/school setting, the child’s responses to items from
standardized instruments used with young children, and
comparison of his/her skill development with that of siblings (or
peers from the same culture).”
Screening and Assessment: Options
in addition to standardized
Parent Report (Restrepo, 1998)
Observation in Natural Settings (Restrepo, 1998)
Clinical Interviewing (Peña, 2001)
Carefully planned pre-referral interventions/ Data
collection over time (New RtI model)
 Dynamic Assessment (test-teach-retest) (Gutiérrez-Clellan
& Peña, 2001)
 Testing to the limits (Baca & Cervantes, 2004)
These five strategies will be much more effective and
meaningful than standardized testing when
distinguishing between a second language
acquisition issue and a developmental delay (Artiles &
Ortiz, Eds., 2002)
Family Interviewing
Banks, Santos and Roof (2001), offer seven suggestions
for Family Interviewing:
1. It is recommended that a conversational approach
be adopted with families,
2. The purpose of the interview should be made clear
to the families prior to the visit,
3. A rapport should be established with the family
prior to gathering sensitive information. Small
gestures such as greeting all of the people present,
thanking everyone for their time and sharing
background information about yourself and your
program can help with that relationship building,
Using open-ended questions along with
close-ended questions can lend to more of a
conversation rather than just a question and
response format to the dialogue,
Practitioners should be sensitive to the fact
that some families may see information
gathering as an invasion of their privacy or
as threatening or demeaning. They should
be sure to use interpreters or “cultural
liaisons” whenever possible.
Including as many family members that are
present as possible in your interview will
broaden the scope of the information you
are able to gather about the child and their
home life. This also recognizes that many
times extended family members may play
vital roles in the child’s development,
Practitioners should begin with more
general information and get more specific as
the interview progresses.
Understanding culture
 Culture is: The totality of
socially transmitted
behavior patterns, arts,
beliefs, institutions, and all
other products of human
work and thought.
 The predominating
attitudes and behavior that
characterize the functioning
of a group or organization.
(free online dictionary)
Think about previous life
Think about the difficulty of finding their
way in a new home
Think about Traditional Customs and Values
Compared to life in the U.S.
Immigration status and fears of possible
U.S. born populations and ongoing struggles
with equal opportunity and access
Native Language Revitalization
 There are several initiatives
underway in the US to revitalize
and maintain Indigenous
languages and cultures
 Many programs rely on elders for
transmission of language and
cultural traditions to younger
 Many native languages are at-risk
for extinction if dramatic efforts are
not undertaken to preserve them
by increasing the number of
speakers as quickly as possible
What a different world it would be!
FL currently has 202 children who
speak an Indigenous language in
your EC programs
Why Save a Language?
 An excellent video developed by the
University of Montana on the revitalization of
Indigenous languages and the critical link
between language and culture.
The University of Montana Bookstore
5 Campus Dr. (University Center), Missoula, MT 59812
Phone: 406-243-1324; 888-333-1995
Fax: 406-243-2001
Two resources for information
about various cultural groups
 Cultural Profiles Project
 Lynch, E.W. & Hanson, M. J. (2004)
Developing Cross-Cultural Competence: A Guide
for Working with Children and their Families.
Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes
Preparing families for eligibility
determination and IFSP/IEP meetings
 Think very carefully about your level of
language and jargon
 Prepare families for the structure of the
meeting and the expectations for their
 Think about the “implicit” rules that the team
brings—How does the family know what to
do? What supports are available to them?
This is where cultural liasons become
Incorporating culture into your
evaluation process
 Be sure to include statements that address
culture in your "Special Considerations" area
on your Evaluation Report
 Ask yourself, "How might this family's culture
and background experiences influence
development differently than the population
on which the test was normed?
 Be sure to document these differences
through information gathering and include this
information in your report.
Language and cultural
 Example from Development Behavior Clinic
 "Julio's" family is from Mexico. Julio's mother
only speaks Spanish, his father speaks
intermediate English, but mostly Spanish at
home. His older siblings are using lot of
English in the home. When asked his parents
said that Julio did not need an interpreter for
the evaluation because he is beginning to use
English words.
"Special Considerations"
 Under "Special Considerations" the teacher
 "Julio's language, cultural, economic, or
environmental background does not indicate
that special adaptations in assessment
procedures needed to be made. Julio's
parents report that he understands English
well and when he does speak it is in English.
They did not feel an interpreter would be
needed to get accurate assessment results."
Assessments administered to Julio
 The Mullen Scales of Early Learning
 The Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation
 The Expressive One word Vocabulary Test
 The Peabody Developmental Motor Scale
 The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-2
 All were administered in English. All standard
scores were reported with no qualifications.
What would you do?
 Why might the family decline the use of an
 What would you tell the family? How would
you negotiate this situation?
 Is the "Special Considerations" statement
okay? What would you write?
 What might your evaluation process look
like? What tools or alternative procedures
might you choose?
 Or was this approach acceptable?
Suggested Screening Tool
1)The Early Screening InventoryRevised (ESI-R) (Available in Spanish)
The Early Screening Inventory is recommended
as a standardized screening tool for this
population because it has more of a
developmental focus and is thought to be less
culturally biased than other commonly used
Suggested Screening Tool
2) Ages and Stages Parent Questionnaire
(Available in Spanish)
Research has proven that parents are reliable
reporters about their child’s development.
Parent report is particularly important when
screening children from culturally and
linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Suggested Screening Tool
 Bilingual Early Language Assessment (BELA)
 This was designed as an informal measure of
a child’s receptive and expressive language
 Available for free download in English,
Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and
 Designed for ongoing progress monitoring
Suggested Screening Tool
Minneapolis Preschool Screening Instrument –
 Covers fine motor, gross motor, language,
literacy and concepts
 Minneapolis is developing specific norms for
the ELL population in their district
 There is a Spanish version and they are
working on Hmong and Somali
Contact: Christina Sheran, Ph.D.
807 NE Broadway
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Suggested Assessment Tool
2) Child Development Inventory (CDI)
(Available in Spanish)
This Developmental Inventory is extensive with
300 questions completed by the parents covering
six domains of development; gross motor, fine
motor, self-help, social, communication, and
general development. The comprehensiveness of
this inventory provides valuable insight into the
child’s daily functioning in their natural setting
as perceived by their primary care provider.
Other Assessments Available in
 Battelle Developmental Inventory
 Learning Accomplishment Profile-Diagnostic
 For language the Preschool Language Scale4 (PLS-4) and MacArthur-Bates Inventarios
del Desarrollo de Habilidades Comunicativas
Spanish Language Assessments
 If you use a Spanish language assessment
administered by licensed bilingual personnel
with a Spanish-speaking child then you can
report the scores i.e. the PLS-4, The Battelle,
the LAP-D, the ESI-R, etc.
Assessment for language groups
other than Spanish
 To be clear I am NOT saying that there are
no instruments to use to evaluate a CLD
child's need for special education
 What I am saying is that you need to be
CAUTIOUS in how you report scores and
findings from whatever instrument you
 There ARE instruments that you can use in
Spanish, but at this point not in other
language groups. For other languages, or
Spanish as well the TPBA may be a good
approach to evaluation.
Suggested Assessment Tool
Transdisciplinary Play-Based Assessment
Linder, 2007
The Transdiciplinary Play-Based Assessment
(TPBA) provides a functional approach to the
assessment of young children ages 0-6 in the
Communication, and
Sensorimotor domains.
To complete the assessment the child is
observed by an ECSE team that can include
• early childhood special education teacher,
• a speech and language pathologist,
• a physical therapist and
• an occupational therapist
during structured and unstructured play
Organized into four sections in which the child:
1. plays with a familiar care provider,
2. a play facilitator (i.e. a member of the ECSE
3. a peer, and
4. in conclusion is provided a snack and
observed while eating and socializing.
The TPBA does not provide standard scores it
instead summarizes information in terms of a
developmental profile.
Given that standard scores are generally not
reliable or reportable for this population it is
not a concern that the TPBA does not provide
standard scores for eligibility determination.
It provides a much more functional and holistic
picture of the child’s development which
ultimately is what is needed for the
determination of special education eligibility
for young children who are English language
Federal Guidelines
Whenever possible the child should be seen
at home at least once where both the
parents and the child will be more
comfortable. It is also important to see a
child over a period of time and in different
settings if appropriate i.e. home, child care
and preschool to help determine if a child is
truly disabled.
If the parents are concerned with their
child’s development, the child’s skills
should be evaluated.
Federal Guidelines
Tests that are translated should not be
scored. Scores from a standardized test that
is given in a non-standardized manner (i.e.,
translating it into another language) should
not be reported.
If it is thought that lack of exposure to
certain materials or tasks may be the cause
of the child’s underperformance, a testteach-retest approach may be useful to rule
out lack of exposure with certain skills.
Federal Guidelines
 A decision-making model should be
employed to determine eligibility if standard
scores are not reported and the evaluation
report should provide information about
which data sources had the greatest relative
importance for the eligibility decision. These
data sources can include: teacher comments,
previous testing, observational data,
ecological assessments, parent report and
other developmental data.
Federal Guidelines
Special Education assessment must be done in the
child’s primary language or languages.
Communication to the parents and due process
forms must be in the parent’s primary language,
either written or orally translated.
No single procedure should be used to determine
Testing materials and procedures should be used
that are not racially or culturally discriminatory.
 Artiles, A. & Ortiz, A. (2002). English Language
Learners with Special Needs: Identification,
Assessment, and Instruction. McHenry, IL:
Center for Applied Linguistics
 Barrera, I. & Kramer, L. (2009) Using Skilled
Dialogue to Transform Challenging Interactions.
Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes
 Paradis, Genesee, & Crago (2010). Dual
Language Development and Disorders: A
Handbook on Bilingualism and Second Language
Learning. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes
 Lynch, E.W. & Hanson, M. J. (2004)
Developing Cross-Cultural Competence: A Guide
for Working with Children and their Families.
Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes
 Tabors, P. (2009) One Child Two Languages: A
Guide for Preschool Educators of Children
Learning English as a Second Language. (2nd Ed.)
Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes
 Ohtake, Santos, & Fowler (2000). It's a three-way
conversation: Families, service providers, and
interpreters working together. Young Exceptional
Children, 4 (12), 12-18.
 Cheatham, Santos, & Ro. (2007). Home language
acquisition and retention. Young Exceptional
Children, 11(1), 27-40.
Espinosa, L.M. (2008). Challenging common myths
about young English language
learners. Foundation for Child Development Policy
Brief Number 8. Retrieve from
Websites for family information in
languages other than English
 March of Dimes--Companion website all in
Spanish about health during pregnancy,
prematurity, birth defects, and some other
pregnancy and newborn information
 Zero to Three-- Parent Hand-outs on child
development available in Spanish
 Hennepin County Library--Reading tips in
many languages and there is an "español"
link with a lot of information about early
literacy in Spanish for families
 PACER Center-- translated materials about
Special Education and school into Hmong,
Somali and Spanish
 Also see ELL Resource List for websites at
the end

Can children with developmental disabilities learn more