Response to Intervention (RTI)

What is Response to Intervention?

The response to intervention (RTI) process is a type of Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) for providing services and interventions to struggling learners at increasing levels of intensity. It includes:

  • Universal screening
  • High-quality instruction 
  • Interventions matched to student need 
  • Frequent progress monitoring, and
  • The use of child response data to make educational decisions 

RTI should be used for making decisions about general, compensatory, and special education, creating a well-integrated and seamless system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data. An RTI process cannot be used to delay or deny an evaluation for eligibility under IDEA. (See this U.S. Department of Education memo [PDF].) 

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can play a number of important roles [PDF] in using RTI to identify children with disabilities and provide needed instruction to struggling students in general and special education settings. These roles include:

  • Assisting in the selection of screening measures
  • Assisting in the selection of scientifically based literacy interventions
  • Aiding general education teachers with universal screening
  • Conducting expanded speech sound error screenings for K-3 students to track students at risk and intervene with those who are highly stimulable and may respond to short-term interventions
  • Interpreting screening and progress assessment results to families
  • Consulting with teachers to meet the needs of students in initial RTI tiers with specific focus on the language underpinnings of learning and literacy
  • Collaborating with classroom teachers to provide services and supports for students with communication disabilities

Response to Intervention in IDEA '04

Frequently Asked Questions for SLPs

Barbara Ehren and Maureen Staskowski offer expert answers your questions about the role of the SLP in this RTI Talk produced by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). You will learn tips and effective ways to engage in assessment and intervention activities based on lessons learned working with SLPs in local schools.

Response to Intervention in Preschool

ASHA Products

RTI in Action: Oral Language Activities for K–2 Classrooms
A practical response to intervention (RTI) activity book with a focus on oral language.

RTI in Action: Grades 3–5: Oral and Written Language Activities for the Common Core State Standards
This book and accompanying CD provide background, activities and resources to in corporate the CCSS into your work with students. Watch this interview with ASHA's former Director of School Services, Deborah Dixon, for more information on the product.

ASHA Publications

A selection of articles from ASHA's peer-reviewed scientific journals and news magazine.

A Comparison of the Prevalence Rates of Language Impairment Before and After Response-to-Intervention Implementation in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools

A Team Approach to Response to Intervention for Speech Sound Errors in the School Setting in Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups

How to Fit Response to Intervention Into a Heavy Workload in The ASHA Leader

Overcoming the Research–Practice Gap: Key Considerations for Speech-Language Pathologists Related to Multitiered Systems of Support in Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups

Related Resources

Responsiveness to Intervention and Learning Disabilities 
A toolkit providing best practice related to an RTI-based specific learning disability identification process.

What You Need to Know About IDEA 2004: Responsiveness to Intervention

The IRIS Center, in collaboration with the Tennessee State Board of Education and the Tennessee State Improvement Grant, announces four online modules on response to intervention (RTI).


LD Online
LD OnLine offers accurate and up-to-date information about learning disabilities and RTI.

National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
NCLD provides essential information to parents, professionals and individuals with learning disabilities, promotes research and programs to foster effective learning and advocates for policies to protect and strengthen educational rights and opportunities. NCLD has recently developed the RTI Action Network to assist professionals and parents understand and navigate the RTI process.

Center on Multi-Tiered System of Supports

Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports

International Literacy Association (ILA) [PDF]

ASHA Corporate Partners