Who's Outside the Box

Locations of visitors to this page

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

RTI: What about US?

Twenty percent of pre-school aged children exhibit moderate to clinically significant emotional and behavioral difficulties, which will ultimately place them at greater risk for disruption of the learning process. While policy changes of the 21st century are moving toward a Response to Intervention (RTI) in order to better serve these students, what is happening to the children that are placed in districts where the typical assessment procedures remain? Shouldn’t school psychologists work with children during the critical period of development and learning?

Are these students simply stuck inside the box along with the practitioners who guide them? It is likely that by the time RTI is adopted across the nation, many students will have graduated without the necessary tools that prepare them for a career or higher learning. With this frightening reality in mind, how will School Psychologists, school administrators and the like justify their decision to remain inside the box?
(This Blog was created by Christen M. Sylvester)

8 comments:

mikec said...

RTI is a scary unknown concept for many who work in schools and there is still some debate as to its effectiveness and practicality in nature. Exposure to such things as the RTI website and related research will familiarize schools and districts and can only make administrators and school psychologists more comfortable (and hopefully responsive) to the idea (no pun intended) of RTI. I can't pretend to be an expert on RTI but the idea of an integrated system of RTI mixed with traditional methods is something that sounds feasible with proper instruction and support. As for your last question, unfortunately many people value their "comfort zone" more than life itself. Change is bad, new is bad, hard work is bad, but the newcomers like us will be responsible for infecting others with new ideas and methods.

vincent said...

I'm going to have to agree with Mike and say that and integrated approach would be the most beneficial looking down the road. Many people who work in schools are still unaware of RTI so it may not be implemented as fast as we would hope, which is rather unfortunate because I think many children with either behavioral or academic issues will filter through the system without proper interventions or even being identified at all. Also, with respect to schools that are still using the old methods of assessment and the stats on preschool aged children exhibiting emotional difficulties, I don't think that how children are assessed is as big of a deal as which children will be identified and assessed. The children with externalizing behaviors are obviously going to be pointed out immediately. This is where screening methods used in RTI and the RTI system would be more beneficial because then you have ways to identify children with internalizing behaviors and issues.

Anonymous said...

Vin,

I agree with your comment regarding the under identification of pre-school aged children with internalizing behavior...but if we know this and RTI is not yet accessible to all...why are there still so many children "falling through the cracks?" If not RTI, perhaps another form of proactive assessment or identification? Perhaps tertiary intervention, so that teachers and parents are taught to recognize the symptoms that may interfere with leaning and development. I know I am not reinventing the wheel here, but are practitioners really being proactive in their means to identity at-risk children.
~christen

judy said...

kids are still falling through the cracks because RTI has yet to be widely used. i like the model, because, ideally, classroom teachers will be held more accountable in reaching the needs of all learners. with any luck, the falling-through-the-cracks will stop. i also believe that school psychologists will have an important role in RTI. we can be an indespensible resource to classroom teachers in the use of screenings, implementation of modifications, and consulting throughtout the entire process. the former school psychologist of my school moved on to (as she explained a few years ago) "observing the pre-k the primary calssrooms within the district and writing intervention plans to help improve instruction and increase CBM outcomes, in order to decrease the likelyhood of referral for services" - sounds like RTI, except i don't think the acutal terminology has is used yet in the district. in any event, RTI is not going to take away school psychology jobs, because there will always be the need for special education - cognitive and behavioral assessments and interventions, and intensive specialized instruction delivered by specifically trained, dedicated teachers. unless we go back to institutionalizing
anyone less than "normal", there will always be a need for non-inclusive settings, and therefore a need for a team to serve this population. j

Katie said...

The articles we have read and the experience in my practicum site have all lead me to believe that RTI is a great wave for the future. I agree with Vinny and Judy that it will help reduce the overclassifying and provide support for students that would otherwise fall through the cracks.

But I also feel that it will be along time coming because teachers in the school systems that have not been trained for special education do not have the knowledge to reach all students at various levels. Also they may not have the desire to leave their comfort zone as Mike previously mentioned.

I think to compete in today's society we need to find ways to implement strategies from RTI into the traditional settings to ease parents, teachers, and administrators outside of their boxes before they will be ready to leap from them and join the wave.

Rosa said...

I have increasingly begun to feel overwhelmed by the questions (problems?) that plague our field. There seems to be so many things (teachers? students? interventions? labels?) to consider when working as a school psychologist, inevitably I feel destined to be outside the box in my thinking and practices simply because I am new to this field and untainted by failed previous systems of change. What I fear is that we are losing focus and that our quest for theoretical validity in practice has become paramount and individual practical considerations have fallen by the wayside. What I mean is, I feel that we are spending more time focusing on labeling our approach verses there's rather than incorporating ours with there's. Inevitably, there will be many people in our districts that are not of the same theoretical perspectives and we will need to find a way to work with them together to solve problems...that to me is the root of our challenges as new school psychologists. It's like this,just as we tolerate different political and religious viewpoints, we will have to tolerate different theoretical perspectives. We will have to find common ground (a student) to work with to provide viable solutions. With that being said, all we can do is hope for compatible teams. What happens to students who remain inside the box of old solutions? It's like a game of chess. Hopefully we move key pieces (people) towards better solutions and ways of thinking and that opens the possibility for further progression and spread of new information and hopefully this will help at least one child...and when it does, you build support for your methods and hope to move more people to help more children.

Rosa said...

I have increasingly begun to feel overwhelmed by the questions (problems?) that plague our field. There seems to be so many things (teachers? students? interventions? labels?) to consider when working as a school psychologist, inevitably I feel destined to be outside the box in my thinking and practices simply because I am new to this field and untainted by failed previous systems of change. What I fear is that we are losing focus and that our quest for theoretical validity in practice has become paramount and individual practical considerations have fallen by the wayside. What I mean is, I feel that we are spending more time focusing on labeling our approach verses there's rather than incorporating ours with there's. Inevitably, there will be many people in our districts that are not of the same theoretical perspectives and we will need to find a way to work with them together to solve problems...that to me is the root of our challenges as new school psychologists. It's like this,just as we tolerate different political and religious viewpoints, we will have to tolerate different theoretical perspectives. We will have to find common ground (a student) to work with to provide viable solutions. With that being said, all we can do is hope for compatible teams. What happens to students who remain inside the box of old solutions? It's like a game of chess. Hopefully we move key pieces (people) towards better solutions and ways of thinking and that opens the possibility for further progression and spread of new information and hopefully this will help at least one child...and when it does, you build support for your methods and hope to move more people to help more children.

christen s. said...

So... shouldn't continuing education standards be imposed in order to keep School Psychologists abreast of new interventions, assessment tools, etc? I was speaking to a School Psychologist just the other day who has never heard of RTI! If teachers, psychologists, medical doctors and the like are held to such standards of continuing education, shouldn't we?

I feel that the argument that School Psychologists, "stuck inside the box" is loosing ground. Changes should be made! I feel that NASP should mandate continued training in order to rid this over-used rebuttal of "older School Psychologists aren't trained...”

What do you think? What can WE do about it?