Implementation of IDEA: Integrating Response to Intervention and Cognitive Assessment Methods

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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) was reauthorized by the U.S. Congress in 2004, yet ongoing regulatory efforts are required to determine its operationalization and implementation. Of particular concern to school psychologists and others involved in the educational process are the guidelines for identification of children with specific learning disabilities (SLD). Two seemingly opposite camps have been arguing for either a response-to-intervention (RTI) approach for SLD identification or a methodology that includes comprehensive evaluations for SLD identification and intervention purposes. In this article, the authors propose a resolution to these critical issues by emphasizing a multitiered approach to serving children with learning problems—one that begins with RTI, but then provides for comprehensive evaluation of cognitive processes if RTI methods are not successful in ameliorating the child's learning difficulties. If a child fails to respond to intervention and demonstrates a deficit in the basic psychological processes following comprehensive evaluation, both the definitional criteria for SLD and the method for determining SLD eligibility will be addressed. This methodology incorporates the best aspects of both the RTI and comprehensive evaluation perspectives to forge a balanced practice model that ensures diagnostic accuracy and optimizes educational outcomes for children with SLD. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Psychol Schs 43: 753–770, 2006.

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Psychology in the Schools





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This article was published in Psychology in the Schools, Volume 43, Issue 7, September 2006, Pages 753-770.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pits.20186

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