Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, a university will prepare bilingual teachers to work with disabled students.
The $1.25 million grant was awarded to Portland State University to train teachers to work with students with autism and profound disabilities who come from homes where English is a second language..
The grant was won by Julie Esparza Brown, a professor who was newly elected to the Portland school board. She will co-direct the training.
Seven graduate students will be enrolled each year for five years. They will be trained for one year full time or two years part time for a master’s degree in special education. The grant will cover most of the tuition plus the costs of some tests and specialized training.
It is a struggle for students with autism, intellectual disabilities, or emotional disorders to learn when taught in their first language. These students face challenges, and then can only be taught in what to them is a foreign language. According to Brown, that is the reality for non-English speaking students with disabilities.