What is RTI, and who is truly learning disabled? According to the research that prompted changes to the IDEA in 2004, 50% of children identified as students with disabilities in the United States are identified with learning disabilities. Of those, 70 to 80% would never have been identified if only they had been effectively taught to read.
Determined to tackle the LD explosion, Congress introduced a whole new approach for identifying children with learning disabilities. While it authorizes an assessment of a child’s response to research-based reading instruction in regular education — referred to as *Response to Intervention (RTI) — as a prerequisite to referral, it eliminates continued reliance on the now discredited discrepancy model.
Learn how these seemingly minor changes in federal law place new and far reaching demands on the entire school community and how they serve as a powerful catalyst designed to redefine the roles and responsibilities of special education and general education in tackling illiteracy.
Karen Norlander, an attorney, impartial hearing officer, former managing attorney for the NY State Education Department, and director of the legal division of National Professional Resources, explains the changes in the federal law and the research that prompted them. By highlighting the implications of these changes and their relationship to another major challenge IDEA 2004 presents — the need to address the disproportionality of minorities identified under other categories of disabilities, she provides a "wake up call." Ms. Kemp, national educational consultant and educator, shares her experiences in moving the traditionally separate and independent systems of special education and general education toward the unified and effective collaborative model the law demands. Together, Ms. Norlander and Ms. Kemp identify the obstacles, offer ways to overcome them, and provide a roadmap to facilitate the transition.
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