If you read my first post, The SLP and RtI: Part 1…The What, you have a better idea of what RtI is and which tiers relate to certain speech interventions. Now, let’s focus on the how. How do we create an RtI program and work it into a our day.
Usually, a student is brought up to your student problem solving team. As a team, and with your professional guidance, you may decide that this student needs to be screened for speech/language. So what can you use to screen students? There are several articulation apps that offer screening options. The Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test by Smarty Ears and Artic Screener by Pocket SLP are a few.
When it comes to language you have a few more options. If the students are young the Kindergarten Language Screening Test: 2nd edition ( KLST:2 ) is a good choice. It doesn’t require any academic knowledge to pass, so if the child didn’t have any preschool exposure it won’t impact your results. The screening form that comes with the CELF:5 ( or 4 if you haven’t updated yet ) will also give you some basic language information. It is also criterion referenced, so if your team needs numbers, you can use that data. If your team isn’t too particular about numbers and is just looking more for information, there are lots of great screening forms on TpT. Here are some of my favorites:
- Common Core RtI Assessments for Language K-2
- Common Core RtI Assessments for Language 3-5
- Common Core Speaking and Listening Rating Scales K-5
- Common Core Language Rating Scales K-5
- Goldilocks ( Speech Dynamic Assessment and RtI Unit )
- Curriculum Based Language Assessments for Grades K-5 Aligned with Standards
- Listening Comprehension Screenings Grades K-5: Common Core Aligned
So what to do when you are done screening? If you were looking at artic, see if the errors are developmentally appropriate. If they were, check with the teacher. Are the errors simply noticeable to the teacher or is it creating an intelligibility issue? Does it impact their writing? If these answers are no, then check to see if it is having an emotional impact on the child. Are they uncomfortable answering questions in class or chatting with their friends? Remember, just because it’s RtI and ‘informal’, doesn’t mean the rules go out the window. There must be a need ( an academic or emotional impact ) to receive services.
If it was language you were looking at how did they do on their screening? Was it just one area or did they struggle with the entire assessment? If it was just one area, check with the teacher and see if that is the area that is impacting them in the classroom. If the teacher has not noticed any issues with that area you may want to re-screen it to be safe. If they fail the same area again, you may want to do a cycle of RtI if there is an impact. If they failed the whole screening ( struggled in every or majority of areas ) then you have to some decisions to make. You can choose a single area to target and draft or bring up the results to your team to move for an evaluation.
Keep it simple. See where they struggled and draft a single goal to track. For example : At the end of an RtI cycle, Sue will make progress towards improving her ability to follow two step, sequential directions with 80% accuracy and no more than 2 verbal or visual cues. If you’re thinking this looks a little wordy after I just said keep it simple, hold on. Yes, it is a bit wordy, however, all goals should be SMART, even RtI ones. If you are targeting artic, choose just one and an outcome ( word, phrase, sentence ) that is reasonable for 6-8 weeks of work.
I make a folder for each RtI student and use a simple data tracking form to track progress, I’m old school that way 😉 After 6-8 weeks, my PPSTeam will re-meet and everyone who implemented interventions will share their progress. At this point I will also send home an RtI Progress Report for parents.
So you have screened your students, seen a need for RtI, and drafted a goal. Now it’s time to get down to business! I like to use the 5 Minute Articulation Program for my artic students. I use 10-15 minute blocks of time, it just works better for me, when addressing artic. I also do quick, 15 minute block sessions with my voice students as well. I see them once a week. Remember, these are tier 2 interventions so they are mild. By using these short blocks of time I am able to work with students in the hallway or in their rooms so that they are not missing much class time.
With language, fluency, and pragmatic RtI students I try and fit them into an existing group with similar goals. These interventions are more time and more intensive. Since I can really only see this kiddos in pull-out groups with my schedule, it is more restrictive too. I see them once a week to target the goal that I have drafted for them. I know once a week doesn’t sound like much, but, RtI isn’t supposed to be as intensive as full Special Ed services.
If it is possible see if you can push into their classroom. If your school does Daily 5 and you have an open portion of time, see if the teacher would be comfortable with you pushing into that time and you can become a part of that child’s rotation. I got the idea from a post that Speech Peeps did. If that does work, you may want if you have other students in that room that you can see at that time or maybe there are other struggling kiddos who could use some support. This way your student doesn’t feel singled out and some other students can get some support.
So you have gone through your cycle and now it is time to see their progress. If they have made progress and met their goal, you can now send them back to class and monitor them to make sure they don’t regress with the skills you just worked on. If after a period of time you see regression, bring it up to your team since they have been through RtI already. A regression of skills is a red flag. If they haven’t made progress or met their goal, it is time to decide if you need to do a full evaluation.
Pros and Cons
Here are the pros:
– Less time spent on possible unnecessary evaluations.
– Possibility of lower ‘official’ caseload.
– Parents tend to like RtI services better since their child can receive support without getting a ‘Special Ed’ label.
Here are the cons:
– More time spent on screenings.
– More students to see who are not ‘officially’ on the SLPs caseload, but still require the SLPs time.
– Parents may be resistant to an evaluation and IEP after receiving, ‘label-free’ RtI support.
RtI is a good method to see which students actually need full, IEP speech support and which perhaps just need a quick round to catch up. Even though most districts do not ‘count’ RtI students on an SLPs official caseload, they still require the SLPs time, attention, and work. Making sure your district understands this concept is important to ensure SLPs are not overwhelmed and overworked. RtI is not meant to be a permanent program for students. It is a way to figure out what is best for them and what they need to be successful students.
I hope this helped to answer some questions and provide some information. How do you handle RtI in your building? Have you found anything that was great, or maybe not so great?