Establishing a good working relationship with your school is crucial to your advocacy for your child with school avoidance.
Your school is part of your team to help get your child back to school.
All states have guidelines on school-based Intervention teams. These teams go by different names in different places but all teams serve the same purpose – to meet the emotional, academic, and behavioral needs of students within regular education.
Information on how to access your school’s intervention team should be visible on the school’s website. If not, contact the guidance office or principal and ask about the school’s pre-referral intervention process and ask how to make a referral.
There are usually no rules about who is on a pre-referral intervention team but best practice is to have a multi-disciplinary team (i.e. administrators, nurses, regular & special education teachers, parents/guardians, and counselors) to gain different perspectives.
Parents play an active role on this team to determine strategies that will help their kids be successful.
They should share information about possible accommodations, modifications, strategies and evidence-based interventions helpful for school avoidance.
The process usually follows a format of:
As we mentioned above, each state has its own specific guidelines for its Intervention Teams
New Jersey does a good job explaining the purpose of intervention teams:
The job of the pre-referral team is to help solve problems, not to just be a prerequisite for a 504 plan or request for evaluation from the child study team
This point below is important*
*This example is from NJ state, usually states are very similar in their wording and guidelines, but not always so you must get your own state’s guidelines.
Don’t forget your school teams are made of individuals who are human beings. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we don’t have a complete understanding of guidelines, resources, or capabilities.
You may hear statements like:
“We have never done that”
“We don’t have a way to do that”
“We cannot afford to do that”
So, remember to go to your state’s intervention guidelines if you need to challenge any of these statements.