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(3.15) What is the “Response to Intervention (RTI) model” and what part does it play in determining if my child has a specific learning disability?

(3.15) What is the “Response to Intervention (RTI) model” and what part does it play in determining if my child has a specific learning disability?

The Response to Intervention (RTI) model is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Ideally, RTI is a school-wide instruction and assessment process used to assist all students.

RTI is also one method of assessing a student to determine if the student qualifies for special education under the specific learning disability category. Federal and state laws allow school districts to use the RTI model to provide instruction and remediation to students struggling in the classroom and to help identify their eligibility for special education under specific learning disability. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.309(b); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.307; 5 C.C.R Sec. 3030(b)(10)(C)(2)(i).] RTI is not defined in special education law.  But, generally, RTI services can include additional attention and monitoring, small group instruction and individual instruction. The period of RTI assessment/instruction can last for several months. Even if the school district uses the RTI method of assessment, it still must follow all federal and state assessment requirements and timelines.