This blog is designed to offer support to parents and students as they move through the PK-12 public education system. It is filled with information of both an academic and legal nature and focuses on special needs children, scholarship searches, and academic support, specifically regarding study habits/skills.
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a way for educators to
address concerns from parents regarding children who may be experiencing
difficulties in school. Iowa’s Director of Education, Jason Glass, has
announced quite a focus on RTI for school districts across the state in the
next several months. RTI is a process that is designed to help support children
who are not being successful in school in any subject or a combination of
subjects through the implementation of multiple high quality instructional strategies
for a period of time to see if a child “responds” to any of the
“interventions”. This goal of this process is to focus on helping children
learn by addressing problem earlier, before the child is so far behind that a
referral for special education is made. The better a student responds to a
strategy, the less likely that student will be referred for special education
services. There are specific core features of the RTI process that are
important in understanding the entire process; however, the one that gets the
most attention is the “tiered approach”. This approach is a leveled application
that is common across many human service fields, including the medical and
public health fields.It involves
interventions at three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary and are all
designed to be levels of prevention.
The primary level of prevention focuses on keeping problems
from preventing. For example, a high quality reading program delivered to all
students in the general education setting should reduce the incidence of
reading problems.The secondary level of
prevention focuses on efforts to detect problems early and correct them right
away or keep them from getting worse. For example, using that same example with
the high quality reading program, if a student is not progressing adequately,
that student may receive an extra period of small group instruction or even
individual one-on-one support. Finally, the third level of prevention refers to
efforts to approach problems in an aggressive manner. Again, using that same reading example, if the
child continues to fall behind and experience difficulties additional
information would need to be gathered to determine what stronger and more
specialized interventions would be appropriate. Of course, a key to the success
at any intervention level is parental involvement.
Involvement of parents in the RTI process is crucial to its
success because the parents can actually help reinforce the support of the
school at home.The Center for Learning
Disabilities and the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities advises
parents to ask a few of the following questions:
our school use an RTI process (or the RTI process but called something
materials does the school have to explain the RTI process?
interventions are being used to serve the child currently?
school personnel check to be sure the interventions are done as planned?
school personnel determine success of a strategy?
does the school involve the parents during the RTI process?
*At what point in the RTI process
are parents informed about their IDEA rights, including the right to request an
The primary benefit of RTI is that
it eliminates the “wait to fail” situation because students get the help
quickly in the general education setting.It is important for parents to work with the school to support the
implementation of strategies in the RTI process. It is also important to note
that during the process of RTI, parents do not give up any authority to act on
their child’s behalf, and, at any time during the RTI process, parents can
request a special education eligibility evaluation.