chapter  9
18 Pages

Special Educational Needs of Children in Immigrant Families


As demonstrated in chapters throughout this volume, the research community has accumulated a substantial amount of knowledge on the academic achievement and English-language needs of young newcomers to the US. There is also a growing body of research on the physical and mental health prospects of immigrant youth. In stark contrast, and in spite of an abundance of anecdotal evidence, very little empirical work has examined immigrant youth’s rates of disabilities and participation in special education programs. This chapter provides an overview of what we do know so far about immigrant children and special education. We first provide empirical evidence from three data sources on the rates of disability and special education among immigrant youth compared to native-born children. We find that immigrant youth are less likely to participate in special education programs and offer some explanations for their underrepresentation. We conclude with implications for policy and practice.