Currently, I teach at a Head-Start program where I am the lead preschool teacher. I have many students in my classroom who have IEPs or need to be screened for a disability. Each child who is enrolled into the program is required to have a developmental screening within the first 2 weeks. The flaw I find with the process is the parents are asked to fill out the questionnaire, which seems like a wonderful idea, but I have found the parents are often confused about the questions. The majority of the families are Mexican with their primary language being Spanish. The screening is written in both Spanish and English.
However, most of the parents educational level is below eighth grade. Parents have shared their frustration over the screening process. If their child scores low on the initial screening the parent is then asked to complete an additional questionnaire.
I would like to propose using and RTI model where students are being assessed within the classroom. The RTI approach is done in three tiered model is to help guide teachers in their classrooms when dealing with a diverse population of students. The first tier: Intense Support, tier 2: Targeted Support and tier 3: Universal Support. The first tier provides support for general education teachers to better prepare and deal with special education students. Tier two helps provide additional assistance to teachers and helps them deal with the students in need. In addition, it helps teachers to assess if the student is in need of some type of response to intervention (RTI). The last tier is in place if that student does not respond to intervention and is need of more structure and intensive needs.
I believe adding an approach such as RTI to a preschool program will provide the support these children need. In addition, it will take the pressure off the parents.
Do any of you have ideas on how to improve the screening process for preschool age children?
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