Poll 1 on RtI and LD

With this post, I’m beginning a series of polls to assess readers’ perspectives on response to intervention or response to instruction (RtI) and Learning Disabilities. As most people concerned with LD know, RtI was expressly permitted in the most recent set of regulations under the US law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Although most special educators agree at least in part with RtI, one of the most controversial issues is whether implementing RtI will reduce the incidence of LD. That’s the topic of this poll.

[poll id=”3″]

By the way, the Division for Learning Disabilities published a good booklet providing basic background about RtI. It is written in practitioner-friendly language and can be read in only a few minutes. Visit the products section of TeachingLD.org to learn more about it. (Yes, I contributed to the booklet, but I don’t make any royalties from it.)

By the way (2), over on Teach Effectively there are a set of slides from presentations about RTI. These presentations were delivered by prominent special educators at the 2007 meeting of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Please note that this poll should not be consider scientific evidence. Do not construe the results of any of these polls as representative of systematic polls conducted by reputable polling organizations. These results simply reflect the opinion of the people who responded to the question. The sample of people who respond is selective, not randomly drawn from a defined population.

3 Responses to “Poll 1 on RtI and LD”

  • Sharon Davis Bianco

    If the phrase “reduce the incidence of Learning Disabilities” were replaced with “reduce the number of students determined eligible for SLD”, I wonder if the results of this poll would be quite different? So often I hear child study team members lamenting their perceived need to classify students to get the students the support and services they need. CST members will admit some of these students are not truly SLD, but will call them whatever necessary to provide the needed instruction or intervention.


  • I agree with the concern with your use of the term “incidence”. I do feel that if inteventios are consistently and rigorously implemented in primary grades, that the number of children qualifying for SPED services under the “SLD” label would significantly decrease. I am a middle school SLP who works with students who read at a first to third grade level (completely unacceptable!!). During elementary-to-middle school transition meetings I repetedly hear teachers saying “well…we tried a little of this program and a little of that one, but he just doesn’t get it.” Seriously!!???!?! Why is it so hard to get consistent, intensive intervention for these students in the primary grades when they would receive the most benefit and likely not need to be staffed into special education? I think that the RtI concept has great potential; however, the schools have not fully embraced it and therefore it has been ineffective. At the middle school level (at least at my school) RtI has been the gen. ed. teachers’ way of “dumping” troubled students onto the lap of the already overwhelmed special education staff. Isn’t that the complete opposite of the rationale behind RtI?

  • RTI, when used to intervene early for children with learning problems can be very effective. When RTI is used in eligibility determination of Learning Disabilities will drastically change the composition of those students who are eligible for special education. Children without processing deficits will be identified, which will be quite different. Time will tell if less children are identified with Learning Disabilities.

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