Deaf Students and English Learner Services




National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes

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Deaf students are diverse, with a wide range of language and educational backgrounds. Unfortunately, many deaf students have experienced some degree of language deprivation during childhood and often have delayed language skills in English.1 Around 25% of deaf children in the United States are multilingual, and many have a home language other than English.2,3,4,5 An estimated 50% of deaf individuals have an additional disability.4,6 Additional disabilities also often have an impact on language development. English is the primary language of instruction in the United States, so deaf students may benefit from services and support that focus on English language development. This document provides an overview of English language proficiency (ELP), how it is measured when it comes to eligibility for English learner (EL) services, and what this may mean for deaf students.

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