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Response to Intervention in Pre-K? Share Your Thoughts

Here's a tidbit from recent reporting that I'd like to hear more about from readers. I recently met with a family in a Chicago suburb whose 3-year-old son had been placed in Response to Intervention in his preschool program. In a nutshell, Response to Intervention is a technique originally used with young struggling readers in which teachers use increasingly intensive supports to help them and if they still struggle, refer to special education. The goal is to help kids without labeling them.

The young boy was having trouble sitting still and paying attention, and his antics (yelling and interrupting the teacher) were disrupting class. The experienced parents (with three older children doing well in school) already had their son in speech therapy and wanted him tested to figure out what was the root cause of the behavior. With the help of an advocate they now seem to be getting what they need.

Anecdotally, I've heard a lot in K-12 about districts trying to use RTI to stall evaluations for special education services (shouldn't happen but there are reports it does; that's a story for somewhere else), but this is the first I've even heard of RTI being used in pre-K programs at all.

Readers: Is Response to Intervention being used in pre-K that you know of? How does that mesh with IDEA's Child Find requirements—to identify children as early as possible who need early intervention or special education services in preschool? Very interested to hear your observations.

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