The Dearth of Published Intervention Studies About English Learners with Learning Disabilities or Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Special Education


  • Carlos Enrique Lavín George Mason University
  • Linda H. Mason George Mason University
  • Robert LeSueur George Mason University
  • Paul Haspel George Mason Univeristy



English Learners, intervention, learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders


In 1987, James Ysseldyke made an open call in Exceptional Children, asking for manuscript submissions that addressed issues and concerns of culturally diverse learners. Over 30 years have passed since that call, and research with this population remains limited. Approximately 9% of the K-12 special education population nationwide is composed of English learners with disabilities (ELWD; McFarland et al., 2018). Disconcertingly, the results of the 2017 NAEP reading assessments indicate that ELWD scored below any other student category. In order to better serve ELWD, it is imperative that the field of special education evaluate prior published research with a focus upon what has been found to work for the ELWD population. This systematic literature review analyzed published research (2002-2018) from prominent special education journals, specifically for ELWD with learning disabilities or emotional and behavioral disorders. Results describe the 12 studies that met review criteria. Implications for improving interventions for ELWD are presented. 

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Author Biographies

Carlos Enrique Lavín, George Mason University

College of Education and Human Development

Doctoral Candidate

Linda H. Mason, George Mason University

Endowed Chair, Helen Kellar Institute for disAbility,


Robert LeSueur, George Mason University

College of Education and Human Development

Paul Haspel, George Mason Univeristy