Response to Intervention (RTI)
“RTI cannot be used to delay or deny an evaluation.” The Office of Special Education Programs clearly states this…Unfortunately schools are still using the RTI process to delay evaluating students.
Note, some schools are now using MTSS or multi-tiered system of supports instead of RTI. Both refer to the same process.
The RTI trap
The RTI Trap refers to the Response to Intervention Process taking so long that a student does not receive special education services for a long time.
As school starts, schools will often push off a request for an evaluation.
The challenge is that even with an aggressive effort, your child may not get the required plan in place until next spring and maybe later. Therefore, we recommend parents consider a two step plan:
1- If your child has an attention, anxiety or similar challenge, consider asking for a 504 Plan, as an interim step, to provide the necessary accommodations. Here is an excellent article from Understood.org on how to get a 504 Plan. A medical diagnosis with a note suggesting a 504 Plan is needed to trigger the process.
2- Put the request in writing for a special education evaluation– we would recommend doing this ASAP – here is a draft letter you can modify for your purposes and the letter from OSEP
How 3D Learner helps
Mary called and said — “My child is caught in the RTI Trap. The school told me that they will not assess my child until after they have completed the RTI or Response to Intervention Process. My friend told me you helped her with a letter that says that RTI Cannot be Used to Delay or Deny an Evaluation, and then you helped her in many other ways. Can you help me?”
The good news is that RTI or Response to Intervention cannot be used to delay or deny an evaluation, if you have the right information and the right help. The process we use to help parents has helped in every case over the last 8 years.
Proactive parents with the right support
1- Response to Intervention or RTI is a proactive process that was designed to get students back to grade level, and to only have the 5 percent of the students who need Special Education services qualify for an IEP or Individualized Education Program, where necessary.
2- Schools are often collaborative — but most parents are not told that …
3- RTI cannot be used to delay or deny an evaluation – and Dr. Melody Musgrove, the former OSEP Director, Office of Special Education Services, issued a very clear message — RTI Cannot be Used to Delay or Deny an Evaluation – this is still in effect as of September, 2018.
4- If you want to expedite an evaluation for your child – put the request in writing — we would recommend doing this ASAP. Below is a draft letter you can modify for your purposes and the letter from OSEP.
5- We have had hundreds of parents share this letter that very clearly states that RTI cannot be used to deny or delay an evaluation and no school challenges this.
6- You want to both share the OSEP letter and a letter you sign that provides your informed consent.
How RTI may work for your child
Tier 1 – When the regular teacher notices a problem with reading, writing or math, or even behavior, they will try some interventions. Data is collected to track progress. If progress is made and your child gets back on track, the process stops. If the rate of progress is not sufficient, your child will be referred to…
Tier 2 – Another teacher will come into the classroom and try more intensive interventions. Again, data is collected and tracked. If this process gets your child back on track, the process stops. If the rate of progress is not sufficient, your child will be referred to…
Tier 3 – Again, a teacher may pull your child out, or the teacher might come into the classroom for even more intensive intervention. A different program or approach from tier 2 is supposed to be tried and results documented. If this works and gets your child back on track, the process stops. If the rate of progress is not sufficient, your child will be referred to a Child Study Team for a Comprehensive Evaluation and/or consideration for Special Education Services.