Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Value of the Written Intervention

We know Response to Intervention (RtI) is not a special kind of program or book. We know it is a process in which all students can benefit through interventions that begin in the general education classroom. We also know the goal of RtI is to prevent failure and make opportunities so all can succeed as learners. And we know that the RtI process is "tiered" or "leveled" with more intensive services implemented at each tier/level. Each tier/level requires regular monitoring and the student is determined to respond or not respond to the various interventions. So now what? Knowing the basics is very empowering, but don't stop there. The value of a written intervention plan, which not required, can provide additional support in understanding and insuring follow through for all parties. It is a great way for parents to be fully involved in the RtI process. A written plan is especially helpful at Tier 2 and Tier 3. A written plan might include the following:
*specific area(s) of concern
*information to support the concern(s) such as test scores or work samples
*a descriptor of the specific interventions
*the length of time that will be allowed for each intervention such as 7 days or 10 days
*the number of minutes per day the intervention will be implemented
*the person responsible for the intervention
*the location of the intervention
*the factors that will be used to determine the success of the intervention
*a description of the monitoring strategy
*a monitoring schedule
*reporting out of the frequency an intervention was used
Of course the instructional interventions that will be implemented should be done by a high qualified teacher or other specialist. Please note that an intervention plan is not the same as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that is written for a student determined to be eligible for special education services. A sample case study may help you see how the RtI works from start to finish. The complete case study can be found on the website of the National Center for Learning Disabilities at www.LD.org and is included in the document titled A Parent's Guide to Response to Intervention (RtI).

Case Study (Highlights)
Susan is in 1st grade. When school began, her mom reported her concern regarding Susan's difficulty with her beginning reading skills.
Tier I: universal screening reflected Susan's struggle in reading; Mom was notified of her performance on the universal screening; Susan was placed in a small group with others who had been identified as "at risk" and received additional instruction; her performance was monitored for several weeks. At the end of the intervention time, Susan's progress monitoring showed her performance below the identifying mark that would indicate a positive reponse to the intervention. Susan was considered unresponsive and placed on Tier II.
Tier II: a face-to-face meeting with Mom was held and school talked with Mom about the decision to move Susan to Tier II with more intensive interventions in reading. Susan's mother asked for information and materials so she could support Susan at home and reinforce the interventions; school gave Mom a written plan and a kit of materials to use at home; Mom began to work with Susan for 20 minutes each evening at home. In addition Susan received reading interventions 45 minutes each time, four times each week, for 8 weeks; progress monitoring was done and data was collected weekly; Mom was given data each week to show her Susan's performance. Susan's lack of response over that 8 week period of time encouraged the team to move to Tier III. The school team suspected a disability and met with Mom to discuss this suspicion. Mom was asked by and gave the school written consent to conduct an evaluation to gain further insights into Susan's struggles with reading. Information from Tier I and Tier II, classroom observation, and a parent interview was used in movement to Tier III.
Tier III: information  from the evaluation and other data points reflected a learning disability in reading; Susan was found eligible for special education services; a team of people met, including Mom, to develop an IEP for Susan; Mom provided written consent for special education services and Susan entered a Tier III intense intervention which was delivered by a special education teacher. This teacher worked with Susan one-on-one each day for an hour and supplemented the hour each day with another half-hour of small-group tutoring with one other student. Progress was monitored twice a week; Mom received a report every grading period; progress was made; other interventions were tried to improve progress even more and included assistive technology. The additional services started to close the gap and Susan was continuously monitored. Special education services would be provided until Susan was back on track with her peers.

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