What is IAT?
An Intervention Assistance Team (IAT) is a team of professional educators with diverse training and experience who convene to discuss and initiate interventions for students in need of assistance and individualized services. It is a problem-solving group whose purpose is to assist teachers, parents, and others with intervention strategies for dealing with the learning needs and behavior problems of students.
The Intervention Assistance Team (IAT) is established to systematically identify instructional recommendations for students having learning difficulties and behavioral or other concerns. The IAT should consider all support services available, such as tutorial, acceleration, compensatory and other services. The IAT may assist the teacher with instructional strategies, or may make program and/or placement recommendations.The IAT usually consists of the following people along with a short description of their possible roles:
- campus staff members who have been trained in the intervention assistance process
- Evaluation Specialist - provide additional support and resources, assist with student observations and gathering data, and help in preparation for meetings
- Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) - consults and/or meets with grade-level teams to assist with determining appropriate interventions, progress monitoring and documentation and completes screenings and evaluation when needed
- Speech Therapist - can also provide valuable information regarding possible intervention for students, provide resources to classroom teachers related to the development of and intervention with speech and language issues, provide speech and language interventions and progress monitor as appropriate, attend IAT meetings, and administer language screenings and evaluations when needed
- Principal - oversees the intervention process unless someone else is assigned this role, assigns staff to support implementation of interventions, oversees fidelity of the process, gathers information from the referring teacher prior to the IAT meeting, and schedules school intervention team meetings and parent conferences
- General Education Teacher - works with grade-level/department teams to identify appropriate Tier I interventions for students, carry out and document Tier I interventions, document Tier I, II, and III interventions including type of intervention, start and end dates, frequency, duration, time, days and progress-monitoring results, discuss students for whom progress is not adequate at the Tier I level and work with the grade-level team and support staff to increase interventions to the Tier II when appropriate, and complete forms for and attend IAT meetings when their students have not made adequate progress at the Tier II level
- Parents - provide background and historical information about student
- Counselor - assist with student observations and gathering data, provide additional support and resources, and confer with teacher, parents and student as appropriate
- other specialists and teachers, as appropriate, such as Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Nurse, Social Worker and Title 1 Teachers
- student may be invited when appropriate
The team may meet for any variety of reasons including academic, social, behavioral, and emotional. The IAT coordinates all activities of the campus multi-tiered systems of supports (MTSS). MTSS leverages the principles of Response to Intervention (RtI) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and further integrates a continuum of system-wide resources, strategies, structures, and practices to offer a comprehensive and responsive framework for systemically addressing barriers to student learning (Florida’s Positive Behavior Support Project, 2010).
The primary focus of the Intervention Process is the identification and consideration of educational opportunities in the general classroom setting that may resolve a student’s academic, social, emotional, communication and/or behavioral problem(s).
Interventions Assistance Team Goals
1. Review individual student progress and assess how best to meet their needs.
2. Raise the level of understanding among all staff about student needs and their effects on learning and teaching.
3. Support the teaching staff in its goals of helping each student be academically/behaviorally successful.
4. Provide a systematic method for school staff to refer students experiencing behavioral or academic difficulties for Section 504 or Special Education evaluation.
5. To bring all student services and programs together and promote uniform and consistent efforts in addressing the needs of all students.
The IAT should establish regularly scheduled meetings to ensure that assistance and recommendations are provided to the teacher, student, and parent prior to referral for special education or Section 504 evaluation. The student’s response to intervention must be reviewed before a referral for special education or Section 504 evaluation is made. There are cases, however, in which a referral for a special education or Section 504 evaluation should not be delayed and should be completed without the implementation of interventions. Students suspected of disabilities such as vision impairments, hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities, and other developmental disabilities should be referred immediately for Section 504 or special education evaluation. The IAT maintains the Child Find responsibility for each campus and determines when a referral to special education for Section 504 is needed.
The Intervention Process Includes Three Tiers (Tier descriptions from the RTI Action Network):
Tier 1: High-Quality Classroom Instruction, Screening, and Group Interventions
Within Tier 1, all students receive high-quality, scientifically based instruction provided by qualified personnel to ensure that their difficulties are not due to inadequate instruction. All students are screened on a periodic basis to establish an academic and behavioral baseline and to identify struggling learners who need additional support. Students identified as being “at risk” through universal screenings and/or results on state- or district wide tests receive supplemental instruction during the school day in the regular classroom. The length of time for this step can vary, but it generally should not exceed 8 weeks. During that time, student progress is closely monitored using a validated screening system such as curriculum-based measurement. At the end of this period, students showing significant progress are generally returned to the regular classroom program. Students not showing adequate progress are moved to Tier 2.
Tier 2: Targeted Interventions
Students not making adequate progress in the regular classroom in Tier 1 are provided with increasingly intensive instruction matched to their needs on the basis of levels of performance and rates of progress. Intensity varies across group size, frequency and duration of intervention, and level of training of the professionals providing instruction or intervention. These services and interventions are provided in small-group settings in addition to instruction in the general curriculum. In the early grades (kindergarten through 3rd grade), interventions are usually in the areas of reading and math. A longer period of time may be required for this tier, but it should generally not exceed a grading period. Students who continue to show too little progress at this level of intervention are then considered for more intensive interventions as part of Tier 3.
Tier 3: Intensive Interventions and Comprehensive Evaluation
At this level, students receive individualized, intensive interventions that target the students’ skill deficits. Students who do not achieve the desired level of progress in response to these targeted interventions are then referred for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The data collected during Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are included and used to make the eligibility decision.
It is important to note that anytime a parent requests a Section 504 or special education evaluation, the campus must convene an IAT to consider the request. At this time, the IAT should review relevant data to either formally refer the student for a Section 504 or special education evaluation or formally refuse the request for evaluation. If the decision of the IAT is to refuse the request, the IAT must complete a Notice of Refusal, document the supporting data, and send the Notice of Refusal along with the Section 504 or special education procedural safeguards to the parent.
In addition, HISD maintains the responsibility of evaluating for suspected disabilities through special education for all children and adolescents aged 3 - 21 living within the boundaries of HISD. Non-enrolled children and adolescents may be referred for a special education evaluation. The campus should always convene an IAT meeting when a parent requests an evaluation for the child or adolescent not enrolled in school. At this time, the IAT should review relevant data to either formally refer the student for Section 504 or special education evaluation or refuse the request for evaluation.
If the decision of the IAT is to refuse the request, the IAT must complete a Notice of Refusal, document the supporting data, and send the Notice of Refusal along with the Section 504 or special education procedural safeguards to the parent.