School-Based Intervention Teams

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.


School-Based Intervention Teams

School-Based Intervention Teams

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.

The Process Should Be Collaborative

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:

  • Reviewing your child’s strengths
  • Discussing areas of concern
  • Reviewing what has been tried
  • Brainstorming new interventions
  • Developing a plan to carry out the interventions with accountability measures
  • Intervention plans should be in writing with a documented follow-up date to assess progress.

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:

A school-based program of collaboration, such as an Intervention & Referral Support team, provides the school with an institutionalized mechanism and comprehensive strategy for enabling staff and parents to work jointly to resolve problems in a systematic manner over a period of time.

The school’s program is an ancillary student support service helping staff and parents address the complete spectrum of student learning, behavior, and health problems.

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*

Decisions on program planning should not be based solely on currently available resources.

  • Perceptions of limited resources should be challenged and confirmed.
  • Teams should not assume that a resource that does not exist today can not be provided tomorrow,
  • or that the school is the only resource that is available and interested in providing support ( i.e. financial, services, influence) for the intervention program

*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.

Schools May Provide Excuses, Rationales, and Refusals as to Why They Cannot Provide a Particular Resource to Help Your School Avoidant Child

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.

Educating the Educators

We All Benefit When Our Schools Understand School Avoidance

Part of the problem with school avoidance is that many schools have not been trained or educated about school avoidance.

For this reason, parents also have to take on the role of educator. It is in our kid’s best interest to do this. 

You may be at your wit’s end dealing with your child’s emotional needs and the disruption their school avoidance generates. So, taking on the role of educator may seem daunting to you.

Don’t let your mind start wandering here; we have most of the information you need on this website.

To make it easier, we provide you with printable fact sheets and intervention road maps that you can share with your school.

Get Help Today with
Exclusive Access to Leading
School Avoidance Experts

Unfortunately only a small percentage of school professionals, therapists, educational advocates and policy makers understand school avoidance best practices. So, you must become the expert to ensure your child is getting:

  • Appropriate mental health treatment
  • School assistance without punitive responses (truancy, failing, grade retention)
  • Educated regardless of their school avoidance
  • A 504 plan or IEP if needed (many school avoidant kids qualify)

The time passing slowly without progress is the worst feeling. It wouldn’t have taken five years of suffering and uncertainty if I had this expert guidance during my son’s school avoidance. We would have saved $29,000 in lawyer fees and $69,000 for private schools.

Providing Information School Avoidance Families Need To Know

This Guide explains; 504 Plans, IEPs, Attendance Policies & More

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