Description of Applying a Response-to-Intervention Model to Literacy Instruction for Students Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
Structured Abstract: Introduction: Response to intervention (RTI) has become widely recognized and used in education. Propelling its significance is its systematic and schoolwide approach and emphasis on using a problem-solving approach to providing appropriate instruction for each child. Children with visual impairments (that is, blindness and low vision) are primarily included in public school classrooms and educated under the overall guidelines that apply to all children. Therefore, professionals who work with children with visual impairments must understand RTI and its implications within the context of visual impairment. Methods: Key principles of RTI are examined, including universal screening, multitiered models, monitoring of progress, and the use of evidence-based practices. Results: An RTI framework within the context of literacy instruction for children who are visually impaired is presented. Discussion: The benefits of embracing RTI are discussed. First, RTI ensures that collaborative planning takes place by using a problem-solving approach in which data from ongoing assessments are collected and the results are used to plan instruction using evidence-based interventions. Second, RTI can be used to identify students who are at risk of academic failure and can assist in the identification of additional disabilities. Early identification of students who are struggling with literacy is not only essential to providing necessary instruction, but data-driven decisions should be made to ensure that specific skills are addressed by qualified individuals who are familiar with the unique needs of individuals with visual impairments. Implications for Practitioners: The authors conclude by encouraging professionals in the field of visual impairment to become actively involved with the implementation of RTI in their local education agencies.