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Seven Steps to Separating Difference From Disability

Seven Steps to Separating Difference From Disability

December 2010 | 176 pages | Corwin
Students' cultural and linguistic differences are often mistaken for learning and/or behavioural disabilities. On the other hand, these cultural and linguistic differences may actually mask a student's disability. Despite significant advances in the understanding of effective teaching practices for culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students, including limited English proficient (LEP) and English language learners (ELL), the transfer of research to practice remains elusive.

In Seven Steps to Separating Difference From Disability, Catherine Collier introduces the PRISIM process (the Pyramid of Resiliency, Instruction, Strategies Intervention, and Monitoring) for use within an RTI framework. PRISIM's seven steps ensure that diverse students with special needs are not disproportionately identified for special services and that all students with special needs have those needs met in the most appropriate manner. This book contains:

- A 7-step process for separating difference from disability within an RTI framework

- Resource materials for implementing the process

- Reproducible forms

- Recommended reading materials

- Case studies

- Self-study assessment worksheet

- Glossary.

1. Building and Sustaining a Foundation for Learning
Our Diverse Students

Enculturation and the CLD Student


José Case Study

2. Establishing and Supporting Resiliency
Cognition and Language

A Brief Review of Language Acquisition Issues

Cognitive Learning Style

José Case Study

3. Instructional Intervention and Differentiated Instruction
Culture and Language

Cognitive Learning Style


Sociolinguistic Development


José Case Study

4. Intensive Intervention and Progress Monitoring
Asking the Right Questions

How to Use the Information

José Case Study

5. Resolution or Referral

Adaptation of Assessments

José Case Study

6. Integrated Services
Bias in Service Plans

Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Intellectual Exceptionalities

Learning Disabilities

Integrating Special Needs and CLD Needs

José Case Study

7. Maintaining and Sustaining CLDE Programs
Service Options

Teacher Preparation

Specific Skills and Competencies for Teachers

José Case Study


“The book is particularly useful to educators because it offers in-depth information about the influence of language and cultural differences. This helpful resource also outlines school-aged children's and adolescents' response to acculturation based on educators’ perceptions and expectations of these individuals’ school success.”

Joyce Williams Bergin, Professor and Assistant Dean, College of Education
Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA

“This book is timely and an important resource for all schools with diverse populations to have in their professional libraries and in their Child Study Team rooms. This book would also be a complete text to use in an ESOL certification class devoted to planning interventions for students of concern.”

Karen Kozy-Landress, Speech/Language Pathologist
MILA Elementary School, Brevard County Schools, Merritt Island, FL

“This is a complete guide for practitioners. I would be able to pick up the book and determine my child's stage in the study team process and where we should go next. Each step in the book stands alone as a reference.”

Margarete Couture, Principal
South Seneca Central School District, Interlaken, NY

“This book offers a detailed, easy-to-follow approach to determining the needs of students who are having difficulty learning, including assessments and interventions. I am putting the knowledge I obtained to good use, and will continue to use it as a reference." 

Kay Kuenzl-Stenerson, Literacy Coach
Oshkosh Area Schools, Merrill Middle School, WI

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ISBN: 9781412971607

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