Response to Intervention (RTI) is a framework that allows for a child's classroom difficulties to be addressed prior to the development of an Individualized Education Plan. It relies on an instructor noticing a child's difficulty, providing extra support, documenting the support and the child's response to that support, and in necessary, continuing to increase support until the child's needs are met.
RTI is especially good for struggling students without IEP's or 504 Plans, but is also useful for students with IEP's who have parents that are involved in the education process and actively working toward their child's academic success, teachers who use research-based educational practices, and professionals who work as team in order to accomplish student-centered goals. The process of documenting a student's response to different types of intervention can give future educators valuable information about what supports have helped the student in the past, and can provide a scaffolding for developing interventions for students with similar learning challenges in the future.
RTI is used in many different environments, across the country. It is a way to document that accommodations are being provided for all students, and a way to assist in advocating for students who need accommodations / modifications that are not able to be provided within the general curriculum in the neighborhood classroom. It is also often applied to students in ESL environments to help track their progress and determine which methods are most successful in helping them develop language.
RTI does have some challenges. Because it is broad, it can be challenging for new and inexperienced teachers to implement. RTI does not give specific guidelines for what is and is not appropriate or effective intervention, which requires teachers to research on their own in order to determine what might be an appropriate intervention. Training in RTI can also be expensive, so for financially struggling schools and districts, access to quality training can be challenging.
Traditionally, Intervention Plans will not be used on children with an Individualized Education Plan, as they should already have annual goals that pertain to the social, cognitive and academic development or Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). For children without an IEP, the process of RTI cannot be used to deny or delay the development of an IEP. A child who has a suspected disability should be assessed as soon as possible to address any issues or concerns. Intervention Plans can be completed as a temporary injunction, but assessment should not be delayed in order to undergo the process of RTI. Any student with a suspected disability or need should work through the first two tiers of Intervention Plan while accommodations can be made in order to provide diagnostic testing for the child. Each tier runs for approximately six weeks and have weekly and daily objectives and observations that must be documented in order to continue the Intervention plan.The first two tiers can provide documentation to support any findings or conclusion following the diagnostic testing and can be inputted in the child's individualized education plan