By Theresa Kaska
Response to Intervention (RTI) can be overwhelming: You may have to process your feelings, decide the best way to advocate for your child, and determine how to best approach educators and administrators. As a parent and educator, myself, I realize how much information is presented to you during the process. Therefore, I have developed these ABCs of RTI to help you as you navigate this journey.
1. Advocate. It is the best way to support your child. YOU are the best advocate for your child and know your child’s strengths and struggles, which can provide invaluable insights to the team.
2. Breathe, and recognize this may be a marathon, not a sprint, to discover the ways to best help your child succeed academically (in and out of the classroom).
3. Collaborate and be a team player. Ask questions like, “Can you help me better understand how to support my child at home?” and find out to whom you should communicate future questions. In addition, always bring your calendar to each meeting.
4. Design a binder in which to keep and organize all communications. Create and label tabs, such as the following: team meetings, teacher conferences, work samples, homework observations, and resources.
5. Expect to do research and know your district’s policy on RTI, which can be found on most district’s websites (search keywords: board policy). Explore your state’s department of education website and become familiar with RTI in your state. Please note that districts and states are in different phases of RTI implementation. For information beyond RTI, check out the information about Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at https://sites.ed.gov/idea/about-idea/. Also, check out https://www.understood.org and be sure to bookmark https://dyslexiaida.org/.
Warning: Emotions may get in the way of effective communication; ask to take a break and then regroup with the team if you start to feel too passionate!
Theresa Kaska, M.Ed, CALT, CDT is a graduate of Mount Union College where she obtained a bachelor of science in sports medicine and education. She holds a master of education from Notre Dame College and is a licensed intervention specialist for students with mild/moderate learning disabilities in grades K–12. She is also a certified Academic Language Therapist and member of the Academic Language Therapy Association and a Certified Dyslexia Therapist and member of the International Dyslexia Association. Theresa serves on the board of directors for the Northern Ohio Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Her training as a therapist is highly specialized in multi-sensory, structured language techniques, grammar, verbal and written expressions. She has additional training in Lips, Keys to Literacy, Wilson Reading System, FUNdations K and 1st grade, and she completed Multisensory Math 1 with Marilyn Zucker. Currently, she teaches at the Lawrence Lower School in Broadview Heights, Ohio.
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