How to Get Help for the School-aged Child Before an Evaluation for Special Education Becomes Necessary
A parent with concerns about a child's learning or behavior is encouraged to contact the child's teacher or principal. The first step is for concerns to be addressed by the teacher, the parent and the child. If this step is unsuccessful, a parent should ask the child's teacher, counselor or principal about making a referral to the campus-based student support team. The goal of this team is to identify struggling learners early in order to improve their educational outcomes. This is different from a special education referral.
In Texas, prior to referral for special education evaluation, State law requires that the child be considered for all support services available to all children. These services include reading and math tutorial, in class support, STARS, dyslexia instruction, accelerated instruction and intensive programs of instruction, ESL and the Pre-Kindergarten program. The campus-based support team may meet more than once to address a child's needs and monitor the child's progress. The school will keep the parent informed of the efforts being made and the results of measures used to help the child.
Response to Intervention: A Process of Early Intervention
"Response to Intervention" (RTI) began to be implemented here in Texas during the 2007-2008 school year. Schools are adopting this new, non-discrepancy model of determining whether or not a student has a learning disability. RTI activities are expected to have a positive effect on schools across our state. RTI is a model that addresses the needs of all children through a continuum of services, which provide:
High-quality instruction and tiered intervention strategies aligned with individual student needs;
Frequent monitoring of progress to make results-based academic or behavioral decisions; and
Application of child response data to important educational decisions (such as those regarding placement, intervention, curriculum and instructional goals and methodologies).
In a RTI process, it is anticipated that 80% of all children will be successful in Tier I high-quality general education instruction in the core curriculum. Children who are at-risk are identified for Tier II targeted interventions through screening measures that indicate a child is having problems in academics or with behavior. When a child is identified as at-risk through screening measures, the campus-based support team may collect additional information from the teachers, the parent, observations, disciplinary records, or other data.
The goal of any Response to Intervention (RTI) process is to identify children who are at-risk and intervene early. The targeted interventions a child receives in Tier II are those that have been proven successful in similar cases. The school will implement these interventions with fidelity over time. A child's progress will be regularly monitored in Tier II.
The targeted interventions will be continually adjusted based on progress monitoring until the child meets with success. Children who do not respond to these targeted within a reasonable period of time as suggested by research are referred for Tier III interventions. Tier III interventions are more intensive and individualized than Tier II interventions.
Lackland I.S.D. will begin implementing RTI (Response to Intervention) this school year. State regulations/procedures are expected shortly. The above information was taken from
A Guide to the Admission, Review and Dismissal Process May 2007.
Referral for a Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE) for Special Education Services
If a child continues to experience difficulty in the general classroom after the provision of interventions, school personnel may refer the child for a FIE for special education services. A referral for a FIE for special education services may be initiated by school personnel, the child's parents or legal guardian, or another person involved in the education or care of the child. If the parent makes a referral for a FIE for special education services, and the school decides an evaluation is not needed, the school must give prior written notice to the parent of its refusal to evaluate.
A parent may directly ask for a FIE for special education services. A parent may begin this process of referral by indication in writing to the teacher or administrator that he or she believes that the child is in need of special education services.
Lackland I.S.D. has a duty to make a referral for a FIE for special education services anytime it suspects that a child has a disability and a need for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If targeted interventions were tried and the child has not progressed as expected, or the child requires services beyond what is available in general education, the child may have a disability and a need for special education services.