Many children in the Mobile area may find learning difficult for a number of reasons. Good educators are constantly trying to find innovative ways to help these students.

One such innovative approach, which may be of interest to parents of special needs children, is called Response to Intervention, or RTI for short. RTI has won the accolades of the National Education Association, an organization which represents the interests of teachers across the country.

Basically, RTI is a method through which a school can identify and help a student who might be struggling in the general learning environment. One of the advantages of this program is that, while it helps students who are eligible for service under special education law, it also can be used on students who may not legally qualify for special education services.

In other words, it can be a lifeline for a child who is obviously having a difficult time but who, for whatever reason, is not able to get an IEP.

The idea behind RTI is to layer how a school handles a student once it identifies an academic issue. The starting point is for teachers who are giving core instruction, that is, education on those basic topics all Alabama students learn, to notice when a student is starting to fall behind.

The school will then monitor the student carefully and provide increasing degrees of extra support to the student until the problem gets resolved. In many cases, after all, it turns out that all a student really needs to succeed is an extra push. On the other hand, RTI helps to ensure that students who really need the help actually get the necessary resources allocated to him or her.