Response to Intervention
Both Early Intervening Services and Response to Intervention are preventative, proactive strategies aimed at minimizing the occurrence of
behavior and learning problems as early as possible, thereby reducing the need for more intensive services later. When these approaches are used, occupational and physical therapy practitioners implement strategies that can be used throughout a school. For example, suggestions might include the use of wide-lined paper or a pencil grip to support improvements in handwriting, modification of the classroom environment to increase accessibility, use of elastic-waist pants for a child unable to fasten clothing after toileting, strategies to deal with a child who hits others on the playground when he or she becomes frustrated, or general strategies for breaking down steps for jumping rope so that a child struggling with this skill can be successful in physical education. In addition, occupational therapy practitioners may collaborate with other professionals to design school-wide positive mental health programs, positive behavioral support services, and antibullying campaigns.

The occupational and physical therapy role in EIS and RtI will vary from state to state and from district to district depending on how these provisions are implemented. (Ask your supervisors, because how your salary is funded impacts how you will be able to support these initiatives!) Because both initiatives are targeted toward general education, school-based practitioners may need to educate student support teams on how occupational therapy helps meet student’s learning and behavioral needs in those environments. In addition, practitioners should participate in state and district professional development activities related to EIS and RtI and become full participants on the local teams considering interventions and supports students need to succeed in school (Clark, 2008; Clark & Polichino, 2008; Jackson, 2007).

AOTA's RtI page- see additional resources in shaded boxes on the right hand side.

AOTA Practice Advisory on Occupational Therapy in Response to Intervention

FAQ on RtI from AOTA

Sec. 300.302 Screening for instructional purposes is not evaluation.
The screening of a student by a teacher or specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation shall not be considered to be an evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services.

Pre-Referral Classroom Suggestions

ESC 4 OT & PT In the Schools Project Share Group
School Strategies
Ideas teachers can use to support student achievement in the classroom,
hallways, cafeteria, restroom, P.E. and during school events!
Therapists can print thedocumentsand give them out to teachers and parents.

Harris County Department of Education:

Tiered OT/PT Intervention Ideas (Denver Schools)

RtI Kits for OT- PT at PAEC cooperative

OT/PT Handbook for RtI (TCSE):

OT PT RtI Resources Livebinder compilation of resources related to RtI and Related Services