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Should Students with Disabilities Participate in MTSS?

August 12th, 2021

I’m often asked whether students with disabilities can participate in tiered supports called an MTSS. The answer is yes. Students with disabilities are able to and should participate in tiered supports, just like any other student. Tiered supports are designed for all students. This is an important distinction, because that’s different than the system we have for students who have disabilities.

If a student has a disability, and an Individualized Education Program (IEP), then that IEP will provide certain services. However, it is not necessarily providing all of a student’s instructional needs.

If a student has needs in an area not covered by an IEP that student absolutely should participate within the tiered supports and engage in things like progress monitoring to see if the intervention is achieving its goal.

In some cases, schools might use that progress monitoring data as part of decision making in determining if a student has something called a specific learning disability (SLD). In other cases, they may not.

Regardless, students with disabilities can and should participate in tiered supports, because they are as much our students as any other. We need to provide them with a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.




Illuminate Education equips educators to take a data-driven approach to serving the whole child. Our solution combines comprehensive assessment, MTSS management and collaboration, and real-time dashboard tools, and puts them in the hands of educators. As a result, educators can monitor learning and growth, identify academic and social-emotional behavioral needs, and align targeted supports in order to accelerate learning for each student. 

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