Early Intervening/Pre-referral

Early Intervening Services (EIS)

Under IDEA 2004, districts can develop “early intervening services” for students in grades K-12. These services are provided for students who have not been identified as needing special education but who require academic or behavioral support to succeed in general education classes. The emphasis for these services is for students in K-3.

EIS reduces the need to determine that a child has a disability before providing support. Also, districts may use up to 15 percent of their special education monies to develop and implement EIS. The IDEA 2004 regulations further specify that:


EIS provides for educational and behavioral evaluations, services, supports, and scientifically-based literacy instruction, as well as professional development.

Districts that experience substantial disproportionate representation must use the maximum amount of funds to provide EIS, particularly for groups that were significantly over-identified for special education.

At any time, a child can be referred for evaluation and the right to a free, appropriate public education.

Children previously identified as disabled can receive EIS.

EIS may not be used to delay the evaluation of a child suspected of having a disability.

School districts must report to the state annually the number of students who receive EIS and the number of students who receive special education after receiving EIS.


Instructional Support/Pre-referral


Pre-referral interventions and practices are intended to reduce the number of referrals to special education. Pre-referral practices vary by state both in process and in name. Pre-referral is preventative with the intent of addressing a student’s needs through accommodations within the general education program in order to avoid unnecessary referrals to special education. A teacher refers a student to a pre-referral team. The team then reviews the available information on the presented student, forms a hypothesis as to the cause for the student’s difficulties and then develops strategies to reduce or eliminate the impact of the difficulties on the student’s performance in school.


The Purpose:  To provide supports to meet student needs w/in the general education setting


Types of Involvement:      ~  Provide information  ~  Consultation  ~   Accommodations  ~


The intent of federal regulations is to have all students educated with their peers to the extent possible, and appropriate instructional practices and supports enable this process.


When a teacher identifies a student as being at risk, an instructional support team meets to design classroom strategies to support the student.  These efforts may include modifying the curriculum, teaching strategies, the environment or materials. The use of consultative or support services are also appropriate strategies. The make up of this team is at the discretion of the district. A variety of strategies are tried for a designated period of time. These attempts and results are then documented and made part of the student's file. If the student continues to fail to make progress with instructional supports and strategies in place, he/she may be referred for a special education evaluation. The instructional support/early intervening process does not limit the right of the parent to refer the student for an evaluation at any time.


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