|The RTI Model|
Today, at 9 am, we finally had GB’s CSE. We added an extra individual counseling without any disagreement. Then we tackled the meeting of social needs and the reading gaps left by the disastrous year in first grade. The elementary school GB attends uses RTI (response to intervention) to determine whether a child is learning disabled. It is now mandated to be one of the approaches a school in NY uses to classify a student as learning disabled. I know quite a bit about RTI because I worked closely with on of its originators, Frank Vellutino, PhD, during my doctoral program.
The theory is that a lot of students struggling to read are struggling because they have not been exposed to high quality teaching using empirically proven teaching methods. It is a three tier system. Tier one is for all students, making sure that their teachers are correctly using proven learning to read programs. GB’s first grade teacher was not. Once the teachers are doing this, all students are given diagnostic testing which not only pinpoints which students are not mastering the material, but also which parts of the reading process they are struggling with. These students are placed in tier 2 interventions.
Tier 2 interventions are administered by specially trained reading instructors and take place in small groups of 3 to 5 students, who are reading on the same level and struggling with the same parts of the reading process. Most students spend 6 to 24 months in Tier 2 interventions, after which they are reading at or above grade level. Students who do not respond to Tier 2 interventions are moved to Tier 3. Tier 3 interventions are both more frequent and highly individual. Children needing Tier 3 interventions usually end up classified as Learning Disabled and continue to receive highly individualized instruction.
GB will be given the diagnostic testing this week and will be placed in a small group, which meets everyday, for reading instruction. Depending on the results of the diagnostic testing, she will be placed with 2nd and third graders who are functioning socially at an age appropriate level.
We will have a program review in the end of October to monitor if what we are doing is meeting her needs. I should have the testing results by the end of the week.
We also discussed changing GB’s classification. Right now, she is classified as OHI (Other Health Impaired). She will probably be reclassified as autistic, since the older she gets, the more the autism seems to dominate. Classifying her autistic also gives us access to the broadest range of services.