Response to Intervention (RTI): RTI IN PRESCHOOL

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Kimberly:  I work for a Head Start program and refer students, if needed, for evaluations, referrals, etc. The school system in this county provides RTI for students I refer, when I thought they were going to be evaluated. These children failed developmental screenings or their parents asked them to be evaluated. One student in particular seems to have significant language and communication delays and I found out the other day that he is on RTI and has not been evaluated.

How long would it be considered too long to be on RTI for a 3-4 year old. Second question, the school is adamant about following this procedure, but can’t Mom at any time request the evaluation? Can the school system say no?

Thank you!!!!

  1. What can be done? Each individual parent denied an evaluation has a right to dispute the denial by requesting a due process hearing. They can also file a state complaint if they were not provided with written notice of the denial. Your local parent center can be of great assistance to families (

    If the school is systemically denying evaluations to students when a disability could reasonably be suspected, this may be a violation of their “child find” responsibilities. If you feel strongly enough about this issue, you can certainly contact your state Department of Education. You may also consider filing a state complaint on behalf of all the denied children.

  2. Kimberly –

    You are right, parents may request an evaluation for special education eligibility at any time. And other individuals involved with the child’s care (including people from Head Start like yourself) may refer a child for evaluation any time they are concerned about that child’s development.

    The school CAN deny the evaluation request – but only if they suspect the child doesn’t have a disability. They must provide the parents with a letter explaining why they are denying it, as well as information about the parent’s right to dispute it.

    And they cannot delay or deny an evaluation simply to complete RTI – OSEP is very clear about this (see

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