The New Meaning of RTI (Response to Intervention)

The timeline to receiving an ADHD diagnosis can be varied depending on how much a parent or guardian advocates for intervention and a diagnosis.  As young as three, I felt that my son was struggling to meet the benchmarks for a child his age.  He always seemed a bit behind, slightly not focused, and overly anxious.  He went through preschool and kindergarten struggling to stay on task and understand content.

At the ripe old age of 5 five, I was told that my son needed a tutor, in KINDERGARTEN!  Being my first child, I quickly shelled out $60 a week to help build his foundational knowledge.  Still struggling months later he was referred to the Response to Intervention team (RTI).  To me RTI should stand for Remiss to Intervene.  My son’s progress was monitored at monthly meetings.  His progress ebbing and flowing, on the cusp of needing help and then squeaking by just enough to please the powers that be.  For three years my son was on and off the RTI team.  Three academic years wasted without intervention. The only lesson learned was for me to advocate for my child.

My child needed testing and because of intermittent success it was being postponed.  Thinking because I worked at the school, as a teacher, my son would be given the attention needed.  I asked to have him evaluated.   It was February and I was told the testing wouldn’t begin until next year.  Testing schedules were booked and summer was approaching so testing during that school year was not likely to happen.

I could not let another year slip by without adequate gains being made.  So I cowboy’d up and had private testing done.  I had an ADHD diagnosis within a month and began to develop a 504 plan with the school.

For those of you who have a 504 for your child, I bet you have some similar goals: extended time on tests, preferential seating, and communication in daily planner.  I think they pick these goals out of a hat.  Here are some 504 tips:

  • Advocate and set goals your child really needs!
  • Review and rewrite the goals as needs change.
  • Most importantly, meet with teachers at the start of the school year to inform them about your child’s 504 plan.
  • Check in through out the school year to make sure the 504 accommodations are being used.

One last tip, Remember to Intervene (RTI) before it is too late.