Consultation In Schools Discussion 2

Table of Contents

Consultation In Schools
Consultation In Schools
  1. In Chapter 7 there are several reasons for poor school achievement. Please discuss two of these reasons and how to address these reasons using consultative and collaborative means. Be sure to cite two outside professional resources to support your ideas.
  2. Chapter 9 discusses consultation at a system-level. There may be a time during your career you will need to assist with this. Please pick one system-level change from the chapter and discuss how you would be a part of the organization and implementation of this change.

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Thomas J. Kampwirth Kristin M. Powers

Collaborative Consultation in the Schools

Effective Practices for Students with Learning and Behavior Problems

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Collaborative Consultation in the Schools

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Collaborative Consultation in the Schools

Effective Practices for Students with Learning and Behavior Problems

F i f t h E d i t i o n

Thomas J. Kampwirth Professor Emeritus, California State University, Long Beach

Kristin M. Powers California State University, Long Beach

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Consultation In Schools

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Consultation In Schools

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Kampwirth, Thomas J. Collaborative consultation in the schools : effective practices for students with learning and behavior problems /

Thomas J. Kampwirth, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Long Beach, Kristin M. Powers, California State University, Long Beach.—Fifth edition.

pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-13-382713-2 (alk. paper) — ISBN 0-13-382713-5 (alk. paper) 1. Educational counseling—United States. 2. Group work in education—United States. 3. Learning disabled

children—Services for—United States. 4. Problem children—Services for—United States. 5. School management and organization—United States. I. Powers, Kristin M. II. Title.

LB1027.5.K285 2016 371.4’220973—dc23


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

I dedicate this text to my wife Frieda; our children, Kathy, Tom, and Ed; and our grandchildren, Alyssa, Shane, Conor, Elise, and Addie Lu,

and our great grandson, Asher.


I dedicate this text to my husband, Mark, and our children Jordan, Cassidy, and Felix.


ABouT ThE AuThorS

Thomas J. Kampwirth is Professor Emeritus in the Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling Department at California State University, Long Beach. He taught in the areas of special education and school psychology from 1971 through 2004 and was coordinator of the school psychology program for 25 years. From 1980 through 2009 he was a consulting school psychologist for the special education programs operated by the Orange County Department of Education. Dr. Kampwirth served as a special education teacher and school psychologist in numerous districts in Illinois, Arizona, and California. His research interests include aptitude– treatment interactions and consultation processes. He received his doctorate in school psychol- ogy from the University of Illinois in 1968. In 2003, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of School Psychologists.

Kristin M. Powers is Professor of School Psychology and Director of the Community Clinic for Counseling and Educational Services at California State University, Long Beach. Her research on transition planning, instructional consultation, and disproportional representation in special e ducation has been published in state and national journals. She is Co-Project Director of two Office of Special Education Program (OSEP) grants focused on advanced training in instruc- tional consultation and multi-tiered systems of support. She is a founding board member of the Consortium to Promote School Psychology in Vietnam (CASP-V). She worked as a school p sychologist and administrative assistant for the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD). She received her doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota school psychology program in 1998.

Consultation In Schools



Collaborative Consultation in the Schools: Effective Practices for Students with Learning and Behavior Problems was written with two different audiences in mind: university students and practitioners in the schools. University students are likely to be doing advanced work in special education, school psychology, school counseling, or educational administration. Practitioners in schools are currently employed in these professions and are being asked increasingly to help oth- ers, usually teachers or parents, solve learning and behavior problems. In this book, we present the consultation process as a collaborative, problem-solving endeavor designed to assist consult- ees in their work with students who have, or are at risk for, behavioral or learning problems. A key focus is on consultants bridging the gap between research and practice in schools. Whether it is designing an intensive academic intervention, assisting a teacher in improving his classroom management, or developing a transition plan for a student with a low incidence disability, the consultant should strive to initiate evidence-based practices whenever possible. A second key theme to this consultation text is providing interventions that are proportional to the students’ needs. Through data-based system change, schools are redistributing their resources along multi- tiered systems of support (MTSSs), so those in greatest need receive the most intensive help. MTSS (which includes response to intervention [RtI] and schoolwide positive behavior support [SWPBS]) requires collaborative consultation to be successful.

Consultation as a service delivery system in the public schools has increased in popularity since the late 1990s. Prior to 1990, most special and general educators were still expected to deal on their own with whatever problems they experienced in their teaching or management of chil- dren; indeed, those who sought help may have been regarded as unable to deal with the job of teaching and subtly, or overtly, rejected by their peers or supervisors. To a lesser extent, this iso- lationism continues today in our schools and can be a formidable barrier for school consultants. Good interpersonal, problem-solving, and communication skills; the building of trust; and a change in the school culture to be more collaborative can reduce these barriers, as we discuss at length in this text. The goal of collaborative consultation is synergism, wherein the dyad or team produce better results than if each person works in isolation. Adhering to the problem-solving process, including data-based goal setting and evaluation, is critical to achieving synergism.

Since the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1977, teacher assistance teams, student study teams, transition planning teams, and individualized education programming teams and a host of other formal and semiformal team arrangements have been developed to meet the needs of students who require some degree of assistance to be successful in school. Indeed, it would be surprising to find a school today that did not depend on its student study team to dis- cuss and develop interventions for students at risk of school failure. These team interactions also meet the needs of parents in their efforts to understand and support their children.

Beyond what takes place in team meetings is a real need for everyday assistance for both special education teachers, who are providing direct teaching services to students with disabili- ties, and general educators, who are charged with teaching students with disabilities in addition to a large cadre of other vulnerable and marginalized students. This text is primarily devoted to helping those who assist special and general educators and support services personnel to deal with the everyday, ongoing challenges presented by underperforming students. Most school per- sonnel are involved in problem-solving student problems case by case, whether formally or informally. Some believe that greater efficiencies and a larger impact can be made by changing how the school operates. MTSSs can happen in a school only when school personnel have learned the value of collaborative problem solving as opposed to isolated work. In an MTSS school, school personnel have a shared sense of responsibility to the students and frequently examine data and discuss how to improve student outcomes. Job descriptions and expectations have changed accordingly. Special education teachers are increasingly leaving their resource room and special day classes to consult with general education teachers. School psychologists are embracing more intervention-based assessments and are taking increased responsibility for assisting in the development and evaluation of appropriate interventions. School counselors are more likely to see if they can be of assistance with some referrals through consultation with teachers and parents in conjunction with individual or group counseling efforts. Mentor teachers,


viii Preface

vice principals, and others are also seeing their roles expand to include consultation, particularly when engaged in school reform. We hope that the combination of scientifically based practices, practical advice, and case studies presented in this text will assist the reader in providing effec- tive consultation to colleagues and families.

New to this editioN

The fifth edition has been updated significantly. It includes a new chapter (Chapter 8) on transi- tion planning for students with disabilities preparing for adulthood (this chapter is co-authored by Edwin Achola). The main thrust of this revision has been to update the evidence-based prac- tices based on current research and to add video clips to the text and activities to provide addi- tional details and dimensions to the concepts. We also replaced the term response to intervention (RtI) with the more encompassing term multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) in order to emphasize the parallels between RtI and school-wide positive behaviour support (SWPBS). The fifth edition also provides more information on serving students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including a detailed case-study in Chapter 10. Finally, we provide more coverage on how technology can be used in consultation and professional development.

Some additional updates include the following:

• A description and possible implications of the Common Core State Standards for consult- ants (Chapters 1 and 7)

• More information on working with paraprofessionals (Chapter 2) • A list of do’s and don’ts in using electronic communications in consultation (Chapter 4) • Tips for providing legal testimony (Chapter 5) • Information and activities on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and

the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA; Chapter 5) • Changes included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental

Disorders (Chapter 6) • The theory and research on microaggressions experienced by cultural and language minor-

ities (Chapter 4) • An expanded treatment fidelity section has been included, along with a treatment fidelity

assessment observation form (Chapter 3) • An effective instruction observation/feedback form for school-based consultants (Chapter 7)

We think one of the most valuable additions to the text has been the insertion of video clips. Short, 2- to 3-minute video clips introduce the reader to important concepts. Longer clips are contained in the activities. Course instructors or staff members involved in professional devel- opment can show these clips and engage in highly nuanced, relevant discussions. Thus, the fifth edition of Collaborative Consultation in the Schools is an interactive text that prepares students for the demands of school-based consultation like no other text before. In addition, we examined the Educational Testing Services (ETS) study companions for (a) School Psychology, (b) Professional School Counselor, (c) Special Education: Core Knowledge, (d) Special Education: Core Knowledge Mild to Moderate Applications, and (e) Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision to confirm that the content of this text, including its activities, will support students in acquiring knowledge of many of the topics covered by these exams.

22 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

To view a video of this type of negative and positive reinforcement, also known as coer- cive pain control (Rhode & Jensen, 2010) see watch?v=OxdtMVww2q0. Because student’s noncompliance or work avoidance is negatively reinforced when teachers remove their demands, Rhode and Jensen (2010) recommend that teachers use precision commands in which compliance is immediately reinforced, and the stu- dent receives a punishment after failing to comply with a request that has been repeated once. Punishment is the delivery of some aversive stimulus or removal of a desired stimulus in order to decrease a behavior (Alberto & Troutman, 2013). While punishment can be effective, it should never be humiliating or painful. Reinforcing positive and competing behaviors (i.e., work completion or compliance) is often both more productive and humane than punishing undesired behaviors.

In some cases, an action designed to be reinforcing, like delivering verbal praise, could be felt as a punishment (the student does not want any attention called to her). This case raises the question, “How does one know whether an adult or peer response to a targeted behavior is reinforcing or punishing?” The answer lies only in a careful study of the data. Is the targeted behavior decreasing as a function of the consequences it elicits? If so, then these consequences are probably best interpreted as aversive or punishing. Are behaviors increasing as a result of the responses that follow these behaviors? If so, then the consequences are probably positively reinforcing the behavior.

Activity 2.3

Watch the tutorial on how to conduct an antecedent, behavior, and consequence (ABC) analysis at watch?v=GxcIM8klHuY and complete the

ABC analysis found on the video clip for the target behavior: yelling in the classroom.

Activity 2.4

A teacher tells you that she is concerned about a student who is anxious. What else do you, as a behaviorally oriented consultant, want to know about the child? What are the behaviors

of anxiety? Which can be treated, the anxiety or the behaviors? How might a traditional behaviorist differ from a cognitively oriented behaviorist in his approach to this problem?

BAsic Beliefs undeRlying A BehAvioRAl APPRoAch to consultAtion The behavioral tradition focuses on behaviors that are either observable to the teacher or parent or reportable by the student; it contrasts with the medical-model approach, which focuses on pathology or sickness within the child. Hypothetical constructs and pseudo-explanatory con- cepts and labels, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, or others listed in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), are not regarded as constructive except for purposes of communication among professional staff members and parents. The behaviorist does not say that a student is out of her seat and running around the room because she has ADHD. Rather, the behaviorist is inclined to say that the student engages in an excessive amount of out-of-seat behavior (operationally defined and usually determined in relation to a norm for a given class- room or other setting) and will help to develop an intervention to change the behavior by changing either the antecedent (adjust difficulty of seatwork, move desk to quiet corner, etc.) and/or consequence events (provide short breaks contingent on work completion, implement a self-monitoring program with a highly desired reward for improved on-task behavior, etc.). To learn if the intervention has been successful, a behaviorist charts the occurrence and dura- tion of out-of-seat behavior or some other targeted behavior. The behaviorist’s goal is to reduce the frequency of symptoms because, as the behaviorist believes, the symptom is the disease (Ullmann & Krasner, 1965).

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We would like to acknowledge Edwin Achola’s contributions to Chapter 8. As a co-author of this chapter, his insights and expertise on transition planning are essential to the final product. We would also like to thank the following reviewers of the fifth edition: John D. Hall, Arkansas State University, Cindy Topdemir, University of South Florida, Elena Zaretsky, University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Brief Contents

Chapter 1 Overview of School-Based Consultation 1

Chapter 2 Consultation Models and Professional Practices 19

Chapter 3 Problem-Solving Consultation in a Multi-Tiered System of Support 50

Chapter 4 Communication and Interpersonal Skills 83

Chapter 5 Legal and Ethical Issues in School Consultation 124

Chapter 6 Consulting About Students with Social, Emotional, and/or Behavioral Problems 137

Chapter 7 Consulting About Students with Academic Skill Problems 173

Chapter 8 Transition Planning 198

Chapter 9 Systems-Level Consultation: The Organization as the Target of Change 214

Chapter 10 Case Studies in Collaborative Consultation 236

Index 251


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chapter 1 overview of school-BAsed coNsultAtioN 1 Learning Outcomes 1

Consultation and Collaboration: Definitions, Distinctions, and Characteristics 1

Collaborative Consultation as an Indirect Service 2

Defining Characteristics and Expectations of Collaborative Consultation 5

The Triadic Nature of Consultation 7

The Role of Process and Content Expertise in Consultation 7

Consultation at Different Levels of Problem Severity 8

Recent Changes in Education Affecting School Consultation 9

Common Core Standards 9

No Child Left Behind 10

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 10

Response to Intervention/Multi-Tiered System of Services 13

The Present Status of Collaborative Consultation in Schools 14

Research on the Effectiveness of School Consultation 15 Summary    16    •    References    17

chapter 2 coNsultAtioN models ANd ProfessioNAl PrActices 19 Learning Outcomes 19

A Rationale for a Model 19

Two Theoretical Traditions 20

Behavioral Paradigm 20

Mental Health Paradigm 25

Functional Consultation Models 29

Conjoint Behavioral Consultation 29

Instructional Consultation 30

Ecobehavioral Consultation 31

Consultee-Centered Consultation 31

Consultation Configurations and Settings 32

Beginning Teacher Support Consultation 32

Professional Learning Communities 33

Collaborating with Paraprofessionals 34

Coteaching for Inclusion 34

Individualized Education Program Team 35

Student Study Teams 37

Roles, Skills, and Activities of School-Based Consultants 44 Summary    47    •    References    47

chapter 3 ProBlem-solviNg coNsultAtioN iN A multi-tiered system of suPPort 50 Learning Outcomes 50


Steps to Follow in the Consultation Process 51

Establish Rapport 52

Problem Identification 52

Problem Analysis 54

Intervention Development and Implementation 56

Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Interventions and Recycle If Necessary 58

Multi-Tiered System of Support 58

Tier 1: Universal Prevention 59

Tier 2: Targeted Intervention 61

Tier 3: Intensive Interventions 68

Assessment 69

Planning or Modifying Interventions 72

Treatment Integrity 74

Treatment Acceptability 75

Performance Feedback 75

Assessing Treatment Integrity 77 Summary    79    •    References    80

chapter 4 commuNicAtioN ANd iNterPersoNAl skills 83 Learning Outcomes 83

Communication Skills 84

Attending 84

Active (Reflective) Listening 84

Reframing 85

Empathy 86

Keeping a Goal Orientation 86

Asking Questions 88

Potential Difficulties in Communication 90

Evaluating Your Communication Skills 91

Communication Technologies 92

Interpersonal Skills 93

Forging Positive Relationships 94

Conveying Competence and Confidence 94

Projecting the Idea That the Situation Is Going to Improve 95

Following through with Enthusiasm 95

Developing and Maintaining Trust 96

Treating Consultees as Adults 96

Power in the Consultative Relationship 96

Referent Power 97

Expert Power 97

Informational Power 98

The Dominance Debate 99

Resistance 100

Types of Resistance 101

Causes of Resistance 102

Overcoming Resistance 107

xii Contents

Gaining and Delivering Information 111

The Interview 111

Taking Notes and Keeping Track 113

Delivering Feedback 113

Consulting with Parents and Families 114

Resistance by Parent-Consultees 117

Consultation in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Settings 117 Summary    121    •    References    121

Chapter 5 LegaL and ethiCaL issues in sChooL ConsuLtation 124 Learning Outcomes 124

The Purpose, Sources, and Importance of Ethical Practice 124

Principles of Ethical Behavior 125

Principle 1: Competence 125

Principle 2: Protecting the Welfare of Clients 125

Principle 3: Maintaining Confidentiality 126

Principle 4: Social and Moral Responsibility 127

Principle 5: Integrity in Professional Relationships 127

Codes of Ethics and Standards for Professional Practice 127

Legal Issues 128

Providing Legal Testimony 129

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 129

A Problem-Solving Model for Dealing with Legal and Ethical Issues 130

An Example 130

Areas of Potential Ethical Conflict 133

Ethical Competencies, Confrontations, and Advocacy 134 Summary    135    •    Four Scenarios for Additional Practice in Ethical  Problem Solving    135    •    References    136

Chapter 6 ConsuLting about students with soCiaL, emotionaL, and/or behavioraL ProbLems 137 Learning Outcomes 137

Introduction to Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Problems 137

Behavior Problems: Reasons and Suggested Interventions 139

Family and Community 139

Classroom and Schools 141

Within-Child Reasons for Behavior Problems 143

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 145

Autism Spectrum Disorder 146

Emotional Disturbance 148

Traumatic Brain Injury 149

Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity 149

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 149

IDEA versus the DSM-V 150

IDEA Mandates on Assessment, Intervention, and Discipline of Students with Behavior Problems 151

Contents xiii

Functional Behavioral Assessment and Analysis of Behavior 151

Functional Behavioral Assessment 151

Review of Records 153

Interviews 153

Rating Scales 157

Classroom Observations 158

Applied Behavior Analysis 159

Intervention Evaluation 161

Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support 162

Universal Behavioral Interventions 162

Targeted Behavioral Interventions 165

Intensive Behavior Interventions 168 Summary    169    •    References    169

Chapter 7 Consulting about students with aCademiC skill Problems 173 Learning Outcomes 173

Introduction 173

Universal Effective Instruction (Tier 1) 175

Qualities of Effective Instruction 175

Effective Instruction for English Language Learners 177

Effective Instruction for Culturally Diverse and Low Income Students 179

High-Poverty, High-Performing Schools and RtI/MTSS 180

High Expectations and Differentiated Instruction 180

Interventions to Improve Study Skills and Learning Strategies 181

Improving Motivation 182

Targeted Interventions for Academic Problems (Tier 2) 185

Intensive Interventions for Academic Problems (Tier 3) 187

Interventions for Intellectual Disabilities and Language Delays 187

Supporting Students with Health and Sensory Impairments 188

Interventions for Students with ADHD 189

Supporting Students with Mental Health and Behavioral Disturbances 190

Identification and Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities 191

Data-Based Special Education Eligibility Assessment 192 Summary    195    •    References    195

Chapter 8 transition Planning 198 Learning Outcomes 198

Postsecondary Outcomes for Students with Disabilities 198

Legal Mandates 200

Transition Planning with Students and Families 202

Maximizing the Participation of Students and Families 202

The Transition Planning Process 204

Appropriate Transition Assessments 204

xiv Contents

Development of Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance 205

Measurable Postsecondary and Annual Goals 205

Transition Services 206

Transition Outcomes 207

Collaborative Consultation with Stakeholders 208

Consultation with School Personnel 208

Consultation with Community Members 208

Collaborative Consultation Transition Planning in Action 209 Summary    211    •    References    211

chapter 9 systems-level coNsultAtioN: the orgANizAtioN As the tArget of chANge 214 Learning Outcomes 214

Why Systems-Level Consultation? 215

Macrosystemic Influences on School Innovation 215

Common Core State Standards 216

Statewide Technical Assistance 217

High-Poverty, High-Performing Schools 218

Value-Added Models of Evaluating Teacher Performance 220

Microsystemic Influences on School Innovation 221

School Characteristics 221

Leadership Characteristics 223

Who Initiates Systems Change, and Where Does It Come From? 224

Implementation Teams 224

Professional Development 225

Professional Development and Technology 226

Coaching and Mentoring 226

Data-Team Discussions 228

Professional Development to Promote and Sustain an MTSS 228

System-Change Phases: The MTSS Example 229

Determining a Need and Creating Readiness 229

Determining a Long-Term Vision and Desired Alternative Practices 230

Installation and Initial Implementation 232

Institutionalization 233

Ongoing Evolution 233 Summary    234    •    References    234

chapter 10 cAse studies iN collABorAtive coNsultAtioN 236 Learning Outcomes 236

Introduction to the Cases 236

Case One: Academic Difficulties for Maria 237 Case Two: System Change and Inclusion of Student (Don) with Autism Spectrum Disorder 242

References    249

Index 251

Contents xv

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Overview of School-Based Consultation

Chapter 1

You are the newly appointed resource specialist (or school psychologist or counselor) at Whittier School, a K–6 school in the Bellflower school district. Your job includes being a consultant to teachers, parents, and others about student learning and behavior/adjustment problems. Ms. Jones, an experienced third-grade teacher, stops you in the hallway one day in early October and says, “You’ve got to do something about Johnny B. He really needs a lot of help.” How would you proceed?

Ms. Nguyen, principal of Martin Luther King Jr. High School, wants you to explain your role as a consultant to the teachers. Consider what you may include in a 5-minute presentation at the next teacher staff meeting regarding the purpose of school-based consultation.

Learning Outcomes

1.1 Define the terms consultation and collaboration.

1.2 Summarize multiple characteristics of collaborative consultation.

1.3 Recognize the unique individual roles and interactions that the consultant, consultee, and student contribute to the collaborative consultation paradigm, as well as the fluidity of the consultant/ consultee roles in schools.

1.4 Explain the need for process expertise and content expertise in the role of an effective consultant.

1.5 Distinguish among primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of intervention.

1.6 Summarize the major historical trends in education as they pertain to school-based consultation.

1.7 Describe some of the major research issues related to consultation practices.

How you proceed is a function of many variables, such as your personal philosophy of pro- fessional practice; the expectations of your supervisors and coworkers; and factors such as caseload, established precedents, your reinforcement history, and your training. We believe that a consultation-based service delivery model is, for most referrals and most constituents (that is, teachers, parents, and other consultees), an appropriate and useful approach when used with other service requirements of your position as a special education teacher, school psychologist, or school counselor.

Consultation and Collaboration: definitions, distinCtions, and CharaCteristiCs

Researchers in the field of consultation have worked to refine the definitions of collaborative consultation from the perspectives of the public schools. The definition that best reflects the focus of this text is the following: Collaborative consultation is a process in which a trained, school-based consultant, working in an egalitarian, nonhierarchical relationship with a con- sultee or as a member of a team, assists that person or team in her or their efforts to make decisions and carry out plans that will be in the best educational interests of her or their stu- dents. All the concepts in this definition are found among the definitions listed in Figure 1.1.

2 Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation

Collaborative Consultation as an indireCt serviCe

The initial purpose of the school-based consultation is to provide improved service to a third party, the student. Through the consultation process, however, the consultee’s competence should be enhanced. Thus, consultation is a form of capacity building (Ysseldyke et al., 2012). In schools, the consultee (typically a teacher) usually does most of the in-classroom or

The terms egalitarian and nonhierarchical are important to this definition because consultees, who are usually teachers or parents, are much more likely to engage in the consultation process when they believe they have at least as much input into the planning process as the consultant (Kelleher, Riley-Tillman, & Power, 2008). This is in contrast to an expert stance, in which the consultant develops an intervention plan based on a referral and the consultee is primarily, if not solely, responsible for carrying out the recommended interventions. We do not mean to suggest that consultants and consultees engaged in collaborative consultation lack expertise. Often the consultant is well versed in consultation strategies and is knowledgeable about assessments and interventions; the consultee is often well-informed about the needs and strengths of the student in question. Through collaboration, a better intervention is developed, implemented, and maintained than if either worked in isolation (i.e., collaboration produces synergism). In schools, the roles of the consultant and consultee are not static. A special education teacher or school psychologists could find him- or herself to be a consultant in one conversation and a consultee in the next. In some cases, such as when graduate students are training to become skilled consultants, the consultant may have little knowledge about academic and behavioral assessments and interventions, but by focusing the discussion on finding solutions and documenting outcomes, the consultee arrives at a better place from which to help his or her student.

Activity 1.1

Speak to several people outside your field of  professional interest and ask them what  images or expectations come to mind when they hear the word consultant. What percentage of people use the word expert?

How often do they mention the concept of  collaboration? Also, ask people in pub- lic  schools to define consultation. What is their image of what a consultant does, or should do?

Definitions/descriptions of consultation:

Consultation is a process that “involves professionals collaborating to use information to plan academic or behavioral treatments” (Ysseldyke, Lekwa, Klingbeil, & Cormier, 2012).

Consultation “provides a means for teachers to learn strategies to deal with presenting problems” (Coffee & Kratochwill, 2013, p. 2).

Consultation is a problem-solving process that can be initiated and terminated by either the consultant or consultee . . . for the purpose of assisting consultees to develop attitudes and skills that will enable them to  function more effectively with a client, which can be an individual, group, or organization (Brown, Pryzwansky, & Schulte, 2011, p. 1).

Consultation is “procedurally operationalized through a series of well-defined stages (including problem identification, problem analysis, plan development, plan evaluation), wherein consultees develop and implement coherent, coordinated intervention plans across home and school settings” (Sheridan, Swanger-Gagné, Welch, Kwon, & Garbacz, 2009, p. 477).

Definitions/descriptions of collaboration:

“Interpersonal collaboration is a style for direct interaction between at least two coequal parties voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work toward a common goal” (Friend & Cook, 2009).

Collaboration is “a reciprocal relationship and training based on using equally the group leaders’ and the teachers’ knowledge, strengths, and perspectives” (Webster-Stratton, Reinke, Herman, & Newcomer, 2011, p. 509).

fiGure 1.1 Definitions and descriptions of the terms consultation and collaboration

Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation 3

Activity 1.2

Watch this video and discuss signs that synergism is occurring for Kevin.

on-the-playground implementation, and the parent, as consultee, does most of the at-home implementation. The consultant may be involved in teaching the consultee skills so he or she is able to implement the intervention, or the consultant may collect data on how well the interventions are working or data on whether the interventions were implemented, but ulti- mately the consultee is the primary interventionist. In other words, the consultant provides indirect support to students by enhancing the capacity of the consultee, who provides the direct support. Thus, consultation is generally considered an indirect service. Collaborative teaming, such as general education and special education teachers coteaching a class or a leadership team planning the implementation of schoolwide positive behavior support (SWPBS), will involve both direct and indirect services. Yet the same core characteristics of consultation—egalitarian, data-driven, problem-solving, capacity enhancing, and evidence- based—apply to effective teams.

Collaboration refers to a very specific kind of consultation, one characterized by a recipro- cal relationship that is nonhierarchical. Defined in this way, collaboration may seem very differ- ent from forms of consultation practiced in the business, medical, or military arenas; it is not necessary in collaborative consultation that any one person is the expert. This is true because collaborative consultation takes place between or among two or more people, with the role of expert shifting periodically among the participants. For example, a student study team (SST) meeting might involve the regular education teacher as an expert in curriculum and teaching method; the counselor as an expert in explaining how a student’s approach to tasks stems from family and cultural dynamics; the psychologist or special education teacher as an expert in sug- gesting a contingency reinforcement plan, a memory-enhancing system, or a teaching approach that the teacher might use to increase content retention; the student’s mother as an expert in reviewing how she assists and encourages the student with his academic work; and the student as an expert in his interests, learning strategies, and reinforcers. As these participants collaborate with one another in understanding a problem and designing a program, they are sharing their expertise, with each party contributing a varying amount depending on the nature of the referral. A main goal of collaboration is to establish synergism in which working as a group leads to better student outcomes than if each collaborator worked in isolation.

The philosophy of seeking synergism also extends to plan implementation. Although the primary person carrying out the plan is usually either the general or special education classroom teacher, the other team members contribute their expertise in ways appropriate to their training and experience. In the SST case just described, plan implementation might involve the counse- lor working with the parents on ways to improve homework completion, the psychologist assist- ing the teacher in implementing a token economy to improve classwide compliance, the special education teacher providing a targeted reading intervention, and the student self-monitoring and helping the consultee fine-tune the classroom reinforcement system. This example demon- strates how expertise and mutual assistance are the two major components of a collaborative consultation model.

A third major component of collaborative consultation is problem solving. Consultants are employed for the express purpose of solving the learning and behavior problems exhibited by schoolchildren. Generically, problem solving refers to a structured set of steps or procedures intended to assist the consultee in addressing a student academic or behavioral problem. The problem-solving steps may also be applied to identifying and implementing school improve- ment (see Chapter 8). The problem-solving process may take many forms or styles, depending on the nature of the problem, the philosophical beliefs of both consultant and consultee, the constraints or limitations of the setting, the availability of specific kinds of help, and so on. The steps in problem solving are discussed in detail in Chapter 3.

Figure 1.2 showcases the personal view of the first author (Kampwirth) regarding the collaborative consultation method.

4 Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation

fiGure 1.2 Collaborative consultation: Rationale, limitations, and suggestions from the first author

In my way of conducting collaborative consultation, I give a lot of emphasis to the possibility that con- sultees can, and should, be strongly encouraged to think through their own ideas about how to solve the referral problems. This may not seem feasible. After all, if the consultee knew a solution to his referral question, why wouldn’t he just implement it and save time and energy? Also, if the consultee’s referral has been sent to you for your assistance, doesn’t he have a right to expect that you will have, and impart to him, expert knowledge?

My experience has taught me that consultees, both teachers and parents, when faced with relatively difficult problems in learning and/or behavior, sometimes get confused, or stuck, in their thinking. They probably have tried some solutions, and when these haven’t worked, they’ve experienced some level of doubt regarding their usually dependable problem-solving strategies, and they feel as though they don’t know what to do next. Or they have an idea but they just aren’t sure about it, and they would like to discuss their idea with someone else. This someone else becomes their consultant. It is hoped that this person acknowledges the consultee’s experience and expertise by doing at least these two things:

1. Ask the consultee to review what she has done to improve the situation so far, and how these efforts have worked.

2. Encourage the consultee to tell the consultant what she (the consultee) wants to do next. Use questions such as “Given what you’ve told me, and in light of your understanding of the problem at this time, what would you like to try next?” “You’ve tried a number of things so far. What are you thinking of doing tomorrow?” “So far you’ve felt like what you’ve tried just hasn’t been the best solution. What’s next? What do you want to try now?”

I refer to this effort at intervention development by consultees as the ACCEPT method, ACCEPT being an acro- nym that acknowledges the consultant’s philosophy about the consultee’s contributions and that stands for the following behaviors, which, to me, are at the heart of collaborative consultation:

A Acknowledging the consultee’s predominant role in carrying out the planned interventions, usually in his classroom (or home), in the context of that setting, and in his style.

C Commenting positively on the efforts the consultee has made to date in trying to solve the problem, and the effort he is expending now on behalf of the student.

C Convincing the consultee that he has good ideas to offer, and that you, the consultant, would like to hear them.

E Expecting that the consultee will take the lead in the development of ideas if encouraged to do so, and expecting that the consultee will give equal weight to the consultant’s ideas.

P Pointing out possibilities for effective interventions based on the consultee’s ideas. This involves taking his ideas and helping him think through their pros and cons and the details of implementation. In this way, you provide your content expertise in the context of his ideas. When collaborative consultation is working well, the consultant’s role is that of facilitator of the consultee’s ideas.

T Treating the consultee as an equal. One of the hallmarks of a collaborative model is that it brings adults together in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Both are equally expert, both need help from the other, and both give ideas and contribute to the final solutions.


This model does not always work as planned. Some consultees seem bereft of ideas, or they appear to be too irritated by the problem to be able to think clearly. Some get in a punishment mode, particularly in regard to serious behavior problems, and they are not able to think positively. Some think only of ways of reacting to a referred student rather than more systemically. Some always prefer to think that someone else (e.g.,  special education, or a more restrictive setting) should take over the student and solve his problem that way. Others are simply deferential to the consultant; they cannot get over the consultant-as-expert idea. They assume it’s easier to get you to solve the problem, to determine the interventions and their implementa- tion. That way, if it doesn’t work, guess who’s to blame? Last, some are too inexperienced, or at least act that way, and they simply need more direct help.


Collaborative consultation sometimes seems to break down because the ideas from the consultee are inappro- priate in some way. Some teachers and parents have only a limited number of ideas for intervention. When you sense that this is true, the collaboratively oriented consultant most certainly can suggest interventions. My opinion is that it is best to come up with two or three viable interventions, based on best practice, and to ask the consultee

Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation 5

defininG CharaCteristiCs and expeCtations of Collaborative Consultation

The following are expectations about the nature and characteristics of collaborative consultation:

1. The consultant is a trained professional. Consultants can be working in various profes- sions and can include special education teachers, general education teachers, mentor teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, administrators, and nonschool personnel. In addition to their own area of expertise, a consultant is able to engage in a problem-solving process.

2. Establishing a relationship based on mutual respect and trust is essential for successful consultation.

3. The nature of the referral problem directs the problem-solving processes. Chapter 2 lists consultants’ roles and activities; it is common for practitioners to shift among them.

4. The consultant and the consultee both must make a valid effort to engage in the problem-solving process if consultation is to occur. The ultimate power in the consultation process rests with the consultee because she or he is primarily responsible for carrying out the jointly agreed-on interventions. The consultant’s contribution is to provide an objective analy- sis of the referral problem and information useful in intervention design, monitoring, and evaluation. The consultant may use interpersonal strategies to improve the likelihood that the consultee will implement agreed-on interventions.

5. The purpose and the process of consultation interact and must be considered simultane- ously. This is especially true in a collaborative consultation approach in which nonhierarchical, egalitarian positions are occupied by both the consultee and the consultant, who are both involved in idea generation within a problem-solving context.

what she or he thinks of each intervention. Which of the ideas is the consultee attracted to? Which does the consultee seem able and willing to do? The interventions you suggest should meet at least the following criteria:

1. Treatment acceptability: If the consultee doesn’t accept an intervention as something she is willing to do, you either have to be a good salesperson and convince her of its merits through the use of social influence (Erchul & Martens, 2002), or try to modify it. The teacher may agree to try the intervention (possibly under duress), give it a half-hearted try, claim it didn’t work (it probably didn’t), and require you to think of another idea. You never know what interventions meet the criteria of treatment acceptability until you suggest them. What you do know is that, if the intervention is not acceptable to the person who is to implement it, it is not likely that it will ever be implemented as intended.

2. Treatment validity: Is there research support for the idea? Best practices are those that have at least some degree of support, either from the literature or from your own experience or knowledge base.

3. Treatment ethics: The concern here is about the appropriateness of an intervention from the standpoint of the students’ best interests; their dignity as people; probable benefits versus risks; and an orientation toward replacement of, rather than suppression of, challenging behaviors.

4. Treatment integrity (fidelity): Was the treatment implemented correctly? This, of course, won’t be known until the treatment is tried.

5. Treatment effectiveness: Is the treatment working? By what standards? Does it need to be changed? Again, these answers aren’t known until the treatment has been tried for a sufficient amount of time to determine its effectiveness.

It is also important to stick to the referral and not to wander off in other directions. It may be tempting to think that a given consultee needs help in many areas of which he may not be aware. Except in serious cases (abusive behavior toward students; chaotic, dangerous classroom management practices; personal problems that are affecting the classroom), it is best to establish well-defined goals relative to the referral problem, work toward solving them, and let other issues emerge as the consultee feels the necessity of dealing with them. Remember that change is difficult; overwhelming a consultee with your ideas about how to make the classroom or home perfect may be regarded as intrusive and perhaps overwhelming. No one wants assistance from an intrusive person who wants to tell other people what to do. Do a good job helping the consultee with his current concerns and he will get back to you later about other issues, or you can bring them up later.

Last, but nonetheless important, consider the role of family and culture. Interventions that are selected need to be sensitive to the student’s cultural and family background.

fiGure 1.2 (Continued)

6 Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation

6. Systemic variables impinge on the consultant, consultee, and student and must be con- sidered as integral parts of the process. School consultants and consultees always operate within a larger set of conditions, including not only legal and ethical mandates but also societal expecta- tions, cultural norms, district and school-level guidelines, and family concerns. The interventions discussed, particularly at group meetings (such as SST, etc.), need to gain at least tacit approval from all constituents.

7. Consultation is governed by certain ethical guidelines that influence consultant roles as well as the process of consultation. Chapter 5 discusses ethical and advocacy issues in consulta- tion. Practical examples demonstrating the influence of these factors appear in the case studies in Chapter 9.

8. There is an emphasis on record review, observation, and interview as assessment meth- ods (rather than published norm-referenced tests of cognition, processing, and achievement).

9. Collaborative consultation seeks solutions, not labels. The goal is to identify the level of support a student needs within the least restrictive environment. While some students may need special education and related services in specialized settings to be successful, most students who manifest learning and/or behavior problems can be successful in general education with targeted interventions and ongoing consultation support. Whenever possible, it is best to solve problems in the context in which they occur.

10. School consultants must be experts in process (the “how” of consultation; see Chapter 3) but not necessarily in all possible content. For example, a newly minted school counselor with little classroom experience may still be able to assist an experienced teacher with a concern about a student. The school counselor can share her classroom observations, point out patterns in the student’s record, and engage the teacher in the problem-solving steps (described in Chapter 3); the end result should be better than if the teacher had tried to address the problem on his own. The consultant’s job is to facilitate the thinking of these primary-care providers (i.e., parents and teachers serving as consultees) so these individuals can feel empowered to carry out their ideas about how to best assist the student under the guidance and encouragement of the consultant.

11. Occasionally consultees may bring information into the discussion that is more closely related to their personal lives and problems than to the learning or behavior problems of the referred student. The consultant has to be careful not to confuse the consultative relationship by taking on the role of a counselor to the consultee. Decisions about the relevance of any particular piece of information are not always easy to make, but it is usually best to steer the conversation gently back to the appropriate work-related problem. Of course, if the consultant perceives that the consultee does have a personal problem that should be dealt with, whether it is affecting the referral problem or not, she may refer the consultee to a resource where he can get whatever help is needed. Because it is possible for a consultee to have personal issues that interfere with his ability to view the referral problem objectively, the consultant may need to mention any concerns she has to the consultee in a helpful and positive way (Caplan & Caplan, 1993).

12. The goal of collaborative consultation is to improve the functioning of the student while enhancing the capacity of the consultee. In fact, building capacity so that other children may benefit from better teaching, classroom management, and/or parenting is what makes consulta- tion efficient as well as effective.

Activity 1.3

In small groups, discuss the expectations about the nature and characteristics of collab- orative consultation presented above. Are

these essential characteristics and goals? What others might be added?

Formal consultation, in which a clearly defined consultee approaches an identified consult- ant for assistance in a specified space over a specified amount of time, is the exception rather than the rule. Consultations on the fly or via e-mail may be more common. Jacob, Decker, and Hartshorne, (2011, p. 191) wrote, “the role definition, the process of goal setting during consul- tation, the responsibilities of the consultant and consultee, and the parameters of confidentiality” should be discussed prior to offering consultation services. In our experience, however, school- based consultation is generally more informal, although it is a good idea to review the above

Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation 7

Required Interaction

Possibly N o Interaction


Consultee Student

C ol

la bo

ra tiv

e In

te ra

ct io


fiGure 1.3 The triadic nature of consultation

expectations with school staff members on an annual basis. The more serious the referral con- cern, the more formal the consultation may become. Student study team (SST), individualized education program (IEP), or transition planning or implementation team meetings are examples of where more formal consultations are likely to occur. It is important for these teams to take time periodically to examine the extent to which they are adhering to the above expectations and problem-solving processes. Busy school personnel are keen to work on and, ideally, solve stu- dent challenges, yet the importance of examining how well the consultation processes is working to determine if it could be more effective cannot be underestimated.

the triadiC nature of Consultation

The most common form of consultation in schools consists of interactions among a consultant, the consultee(s), and a student. As Figure 1.3 shows, the consultant and the consultee interact freely in a nonhierarchical, reciprocal relationship. Because the consultant may or may not have any direct interaction with the student, consultation is usually considered an indirect service. However, school-based consultants typically, at a minimum, observe the student in the classroom or other setting (playground, lunchroom, etc.). Often the consultant offers some type or degree of direct service to the student, such as modeling an instructional technique or collecting interven- tion fidelity and/or effectiveness data.

the role of proCess and Content expertise in Consultation

People generally relate the concept or practice of consultation to activities carried out by skilled businesspeople, engineers, and medical professionals, and the public tends to think of consultation in terms of expertness. In the business world, a consultant may be hired to solve a particularly tricky problem in production, merchandising, or taxation. The hiring firm expects that the consultant will have expertise in the area and will propose a solution that has a good chance of working well. For this level of expert consultation, business executives expect to pay well.

One might expect that successful consultants working in the schools with teachers and parents should also adopt a stance of expertise. We take the position that expertness should be expected in the area of process and that it is highly desirable but not sufficient in the area of content. By process, we mean the interactions that occur between the consultant and the consult- ees through which a behavior or a learning problem is approached and solved; it is concerned with how one acts as a consultant. Content refers to the actual ideas that the consultees will implement, such as a behavioral contract, cooperative learning, phonemic awareness instruction, or a token economy; it represents what people will do as a result of consultation. Collaborative

8 Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation

consultation requires expertise in process; without such expertise, the process disintegrates, resistance increases, and consultees become dissatisfied with the consultative approach for deal- ing with their needs and the needs of their students. Consultants’ ability to engage consultees in a productive process may be determined by their interpersonal skills as well as their knowledge of consultation processes. The content consultants are expected to provide includes knowledge of empirically supported intervention. However, the consultee determines what is practical to apply given the context of the referral (Kelleher et al., 2008). As indicated by the definitions, the collaborative approach depends on a degree of mutual expertise in problem solving, resulting in content decisions that are jointly generated and approved by both the consultant and the consultee(s) within a nonhierarchical, reciprocal relationship (Friend & Cook, 2009).

Activity 1.4

Discuss the role of process versus content. Do you think a school consultant needs to have a set of interventions for every problem or issue

a teacher or parent can describe? How might you deal with a consultee who insists on your having answers for every problem?

Consultation at different levels of problem severity

Caplan (1964) described three levels of intervention: primary, secondary, and tertiary. These three levels are also referred to as universal, selective, and indicated (Frank & Kratochwill, 2009); as core, targeted, and intensive (National Association of State Directors of Special Education, 2005); and as Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 (Sugai & Horner, 2009). A multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) typically incorporates the three levels of interventions, including explicit data-based decision rules for when students need to progress from one level of support to another (Sugai & Horner, 2009). Common MTSSs include response to intervention (RtI) for addressing academic skill deficits and schoolwide positive behavior support (SWPBS) or posi- tive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) for addressing behavioral concerns. RtI and SWPBS/PBIS are complementary systems that are implemented, ideally, in concert with each other because behavioral problems often affect achievement, and achievement problems lead to behavioral problems for many students. MTSS is described at length in Chapter 3; however, a quick review of the types of consultation and interventions that may occur at each of the three levels is provided here.

Tier 1, or universal prevention, involves taking action to ensure that students are unlikely to develop learning or behavioral difficulties. Sufficiently sequenced curriculum, effective teaching methods, and explicit classroom rules are all part of universal prevention. Examples of interventions at this level include Success for All (Slavin, Madden, Dolan, & Wasik, 1996), Peer-Assisted Learning (U.S. Department of Education, 2013), and Safe and Civil Schools (Sprick, 2009). Professional learning communities (PLCs) are popular for consulting with teachers on improving their classroom management or teaching methods, grade-level teaming is common for improving universal services at a grade level, and implementation teams are helpful for improving schoolwide functioning. These different types of teams are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 8. Individual consultants may also attempt to improve the general education instruction through coaching or problem-solving consultation. It is not uncommon for a consult- ant who is following up on a student referral to discover that the problem lies not with an indi- vidual student but with the teacher’s poor teaching (i.e., a problem with Tier 1).

Tier 2 or targeted interventions involves actions taken when a student appears to be having difficulties adapting to behavioral or academic expectations. Small homogeneous groupings, parent conferences, in-class modifications, social skills training, and other mild forms of inter- vention are common during this stage. Targeted interventions should involve some type of sup- plemental instruction to teach directly and provide additional practice on the skills the student failed to develop in the primary/universal stage (Gersten et al., 2008). Often the consultation at Tier 2 takes place at a formal SST meeting.

The referral problems are more serious at the Tier 3 or intensive level; major steps need to be taken (e.g., one-on-one or very small group, targeted instruction; reading recovery; special education services; alternative education). Those concerned with the student’s welfare need to

Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation 9

consult with each other and develop plans collaboratively that are in the best educational interest of the student. Typically this collaboration occurs with a schoolwide team, such as the section 504 team or an IEP team, which develops individualized, daily, and closely monitored interven- tions. Wraparound services (Eber, Nelson, & Miles, 1997) that involve out-of-school agencies such as community mental health, respite services, and social services are also examples of col- laborative efforts at the tertiary level.

In a school setting, most referrals for consultant assistance are for either Tier 2 or Tier 3 interventions, which is unfortunate. More emphasis on preventive programs, especially for stu- dents who are at risk, has been recommended for decades (Meyers & Nastasi, 1999). However, pressures to deal with current severe problems, combined with inadequate staffing ratios, have slowed the impetus to a prevention-oriented service delivery approach. Bergan (1995) observed that this may be true partly because no specific funding exists for universal prevention services, while funds do exist for placing and supporting students in special education services. Although the 2004 reauthorization of special education law now allows a portion of federal funds for spe- cial education to be used for universal prevention purposes, there is no mandate to do so.

Once plans for any of the three levels have been developed and are being implemented, the role of the collaborative consultant becomes largely one of monitor and evaluator. The teacher or parent consultee will need some assistance in implementing the intervention with integrity and collecting progress monitoring data. Ongoing evaluations of the fidelity and effectiveness of the interventions are necessary to ensure that the desired outcomes are attained.

Activity 1.5

Reflect on your experiences in schools. How were interventions for students with disabili- ties and for other at-risk students developed? Did the level of support seem to meet the level of need? Are the administrative and

support staff members proactive, or is it a  wait-to-see-who-fails model? Who moni- tored and evaluated these interventions? Did these processes seem well-structured or rather casual?

reCent ChanGes in eduCation affeCtinG sChool Consultation

Common Core standards

During the 1990s and into the 21st century, an educational movement focused on improving student outcomes through establishing rigorous standards and measuring students’ progress toward the standards became the dominant reform initiative. Known widely as standards-based reform, this movement culminated in the development of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This set of English language arts and mathematics standards represents learning goals for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level. The goal is to have similar standards across the nation that emphasize rigorous content and critical thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and problem solving. At the time of this writing, 43 states have adopted the CCS and joined one of two different consortiums formed to develop large-scale tests of these standards. States, districts, and publishers are currently scrambling to develop curricu- lum to teach the CCS. Implementation of the CCS has also encouraged teachers to participate in professional development to learn instructional strategies to promote student attainment of the CCS. Thus, many educators are feeling the pressures to change their teaching practices along with learning new curriculum, which presents a unique opportunity for school-based consultants to improve Tier 1/core instruction.

Activity 1.6

Watch the video clip at https://www. youtube. com/watch?v=5s0rRk9sER0 on Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Discuss what you have

heard about the CCSS in schools and in other settings. Are people expressing excitement, trepi- dation, or a little of both?


10 Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation

no Child left behind

In 2002, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, a far-reaching piece of federal legislation, was passed by Congress. It is essentially a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Its requirements include annual testing in reading and math of all students in grades 3 through 8, as well as the provision of additional funds to support schools that are consistently underachieving. It has particular relevance for students with disabilities because it requires that these students participate in the high-stakes testing that is required by this act and that school and district administrators be just as responsible for the performance of students with disabilities as they are for students without disabilities. NCLB is an attempt to close the gap between the actual and expected level of student performance, particularly among the lowest achieving students (Bolt & Roach, 2009), such as students with disabilities, English language learners, and students from economically impoverished families. Educators know that lofty goals from the federal level do not necessarily lead to meaningful change at the local school level. It is still up to the local level to provide the planning and programs that meet the federal mandates. Many educators have expressed concern that the focus on students’ test scores has deleterious effects, such as narrow- ing the curriculum through the exclusion of subjects that are not included in the testing program, like art, music, and community service (Bolt & Roach, 2009) and a reduction in the educator’s autonomy in deciding what and how to teach (Meyers, Roach, & Meyers, 2009). Thus, NCLB is an influential and somewhat controversial piece of education legislation.

individuals with disabilities education act

In 2004, the U.S. Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) to replace previous laws governing the provision of special education services. Laws governing special education services and funding have existed since the passage of P.L. 94-142 in 1975. These laws guarantee the rights of students with disabilities to receive a free and appro- priate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) and the rights of their parents to due process if they believe their child’s access to FAPE is limited by school personnel. The various iterations of IDEA also describe the eligibility criteria for determining whether spe- cial education services are needed and provide safeguards to ensure a student’s misconduct does not result in disciplinary actions that impinge upon his or her FAPE. The 2004 IDEA differed from previous reauthorizations in its alignment to NCLB. For example, like NCLB, IDEA 2004 emphasizes student outcomes, including performance on large-scale assessments as well as bet- ter assessment of students’ present level of performance. Both NCLB and IDEA also require teachers to be “highly qualified” and emphasize “scientific, research-based interventions,” other- wise termed evidence-based interventions (EBIs). Some IDEA requirements that are of specific interest to school consultants include the following:

• Early Intervention. IDEA 2004 promotes providing services to students at risk for aca- demic or behavioral disabilities before they are identified as disabled. Specifically, schools can apply a portion of their federal special education funding to provide EBIs to students who need extra academic and behavioral supports to succeed in the general education envi- ronment (Sec. 613(f)). This funding can be used to provide professional development, direct services, and assessment. IDEA 2004 clarifies that teachers and specialists may screen students to determine whether an intervention is needed and which intervention will be most effective without parental consent (Sec. 614(a)(1)(B)). Thus, there is support for school psychologists, special education teachers, and other specialists to (1) establish school-wide screenings (also known as universal assessment) that identify which students need supplemental instruction, (2) consult with teachers on developing evidence-based interventions, and (3) provide professional development to the teaching staff on EBIs. These activities require consulting with teachers on assessment data and generating inter- vention ideas prior to the student being referred for special education services. This type of consultation is considered primary prevention.

• Specific Learning Disabilities Eligibility. IDEA 2004 redefined evaluation for a spe- cific learning disability (SLD) to be based on the outcome of evidence-based interven- tions rather than a discrepancy between a child’s intelligence and achievement. In fact, state departments of educations can no longer require school systems to find a severe

Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation 11

discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in order to qualify a student for special education due to a learning disability. The law and regulations also encourage “a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based interven- tions” (Sec. 614(b)). A child who has had a lack of appropriate instruction, including scientifically supported methods for teaching reading, cannot be identified as a child with a disability. This represents a major shift in how the largest group of students with disabilities could potentially be evaluated. However, local education areas could decide to keep the cognitive-achievement discrepancy if not outlawed by the state. Further, many interpreted changes in the law as promoting a processing strength and weakness (PSW) model toward determining SLD eligibility (Learning Disabilities Association of America, 2010). Thus, depending on the state or district, three different eligibility crite- ria may be applied: (a) cognitive-achievement discrepancy, (b) the PSW model, and (c) intervention-based assessments or response-to-intervention (Hagans & Powers, 2013); in the case of California, all three are sanctioned. In fact, Zirkel and Thomas (2010) found the vast majority of state laws permit the LEA to choose between the cognitive- achievement discrepancy or the PSW model and intervention-based assessments ( formerly termed RtI), with 14 requiring some intervention component. From a consul- tation perspective, there should be greater demand for collaborative consultation around designing, implementing, and monitoring interventions and less emphasis on engaging in traditional testing, which typically requires little collaboration.

Activity 1.7

Search online for the 2010 White Paper by the Learning Disabilities Association of America on evaluation, identification, and eligibility criteria for SLD. Download and read both this paper and

the 2010 response offered by the Consortium for Evidence-Based Early Intervention Practices. Discuss the major points of contention.

• Inclusion and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Almost since its inception, special education law has promoted educating students with disabilities with their typically devel- oping peers to the maximum extent possible. Special education services can be provided in a continuum of settings, ranging from general education (least restrictive) to pull-out resource support, to most of the day or the full day in a special education classroom, to a special education school with a student population comprising exclusively students with disabilities (most restrictive). In Daniel R. R. v. State Board of Education (1989), the court indicated a two-part test for determining compliance with the requirement for placement in a least restrictive environment (LRE):

First, we ask whether education in the regular classroom, with the use of sup- plementary aids and services, can be achieved satisfactorily for a given child. If it cannot and the school intends to provide special education or to remove the child from regular education, we ask, second, whether the school has main- streamed the child to the maximum extent appropriate. (p. 1048)

Today, the term mainstream has been replaced by inclusion, reflecting an increased emphasis on providing accommodations and modifications in the general education pro- gram so that an even wider range of students with disabilities may experience success (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2000; Serge, 2009). Some general educators are concerned that they are overburdened with too many issues and demands and cannot keep up with the pressures they already have. They believe that inclusion is a difficult proposition if suffi- cient time and resources are not provided; however, some see added benefits, such as being prompted to attempt new instructional methodologies (Ryan, 2009) or teaming with a spe- cial education colleague. The courts have not tended to agree with arguments that inclusion is overly burdensome to general education teachers, citing the law as having precedence over the objections of some general educators, so the inclusion movement has progressed, prompting general educators to seek ways to make it work. In-service training, workshops on curriculum modification, teaching methods, coteaching or team teaching, peer tutoring, group work, and other modifications are now common in schools that have embraced the

12 Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation

inclusion philosophy, which necessitates individual or systemwide collaboration practices. Collaborative consultation is key to inclusion of students with disabilities in general educa- tion settings. Some benefits of full inclusion include providing positive behavior and aca- demic models to students with disabilities, increasing access to general education curriculum by teachers certified to teach that particular subject, increasing personal con- tact of typically developing students with students with disabilities, and avoiding the dis- ruptions of pull-out programs or behavioral grouping/academic tracking associated with full-day special education programs.

• Due Process. Special education students are guaranteed procedural safeguards. For exam- ple, major changes to a student’s educational services or placement cannot be made with- out parental input, and all students have a right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Sometimes parents and school personnel disagree on the best course of action for a student with special needs. Under IDEA, parents have the right to an impartial due pro- cess hearing to determine whether their child is receiving FAPE and whether compensa- tory education is warranted if FAPE or the responsibility to consult with parents about their child’s educational program has been compromised (Sec. 615(f)). District personnel can invite parents to engage in mediation prior to a due process hearing in an attempt to prevent a potentially expensive and acrimonious disagreement. Collaborative consultation with parents when disagreements emerge, rather than after a complaint has been filed, may be an even more effective method than mediation for avoiding due process hearings. Roter et al. (1977, as cited in Jacob, Decker, & Hartshorne, 2011) found that medical doctors who were better at listening to their patients, laughed and told jokes more, and spent more time educating their patients were the subject of fewer malpractice suits than those who did not engage in these behaviors. This may be the case for school personnel as well; in other words, time and effort spent getting to know parents, listening to their concerns, and providing good information proactively saves district resources that would otherwise be diverted to settle a grievance. Settling a legal case can be costly and stressful; however, school personnel should not adopt an “avoid legal conflict at all cost” policy by capitulat- ing to unreasonable requests. Zirkel’s (2013) research found that districts prevail in 85% of due process hearings, particularly those involving eligibility and services for specific learning disabilities.

• Positive Behavioral Support, Functional Behavioral Assessment, and Manifestation Determination. To promote FAPE, special education law requires school personnel to con- duct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a positive behavioral support plan (i.e., a Tier 3 intervention) if a student’s behavioral disability is interfering with her ability to access curriculum and instruction. Chapter 6 provides a detailed description of this pro- cess, but needless to say, this assessment and intervention process requires considerable collaboration among many stakeholders. One of the safeguards afforded to special educa- tion students is they cannot be subjected to the same disciplinary actions applied to non- special-education students if the infraction was a manifestation of their disability. Thus, when a special education student violates a school rule, his IEP team must determine whether the violation was a result of his disability and whether appropriate behavioral sup- ports were in place prior to the infraction. If it is determined that the infraction was a manifestation of the student’s disability or a response to insufficient behavioral supports, he cannot be removed from his current educational setting through expulsion or prolonged suspension (with the exception of some very serious infractions such as possessing a weapon). Typically, a school psychologist or some other behavioral specialist conducts the manifestation determination. Due to the high stakes of the outcomes and the need to nego- tiate competing demands, such as protecting the student’s FAPE while maintaining a safe and orderly school climate, the school psychologist will need to apply the highest level of collaborative consultation competency to conducting the manifestation determination.

• Transition Planning. Special education students often require more assistance than typi- cally developing students in transitioning from preschool to elementary school, elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to adulthood. Because students with disabilities have not had the success that students without disabilities enjoy in adulthood (National Organization on Disability, 2004), IDEA requires school personnel to collaborate with students, their parents, and adult services agencies to produce a plan

Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation 13

and provide services to improve students’ postsecondary outcomes. Collaborating with students and parents can be difficult if the parents and students disagree on what outcomes to target and how best to achieve them (Powers, Geenen, & Powers, 2009). Collaboration across agencies, such as vocational rehabilitation services, adult medical services, and institutions of higher education, remains a challenge (Johnson, Stodden, Emanuel, Luecking, & Mack, 2002). Therefore, collaborative consultation skills are essential to ful- filling the transition-planning mandate. Transition planning is typically coordinated by a special education teacher who is the student’s case carrier or transition specialist.

Activity 1.8

Observe this video of an IEP team meeting. What was the purpose of the meeting? Some common topics in an IEP meeting include tran- sition planning, reviewing annual goals, devel- oping a behavior plan, FAPE, and LRE. How

collaborative was the group? How much emphasis was placed on the student’s out- comes compared to the special education pro- cesses (e.g., completing all the forms and informing parents about their rights)?

response to intervention/multi-tiered system of services

Both IDEA and NCLB emphasize accountability, evidence-based practices, and integration and consistency between general and special education (Ysseldyke, Burns, & Rosenfield, 2009). A prime example of changes in practice that resulted from this merger is response to interven- tion (RtI). The term responsiveness to intervention was first proposed by Frank Gresham (2001), who suggested providing increasingly more intense interventions and monitoring for students who remained below grade-level expectations despite receiving scientifically based interven- tions. For a short period, around 2000, the term resistance to intervention was popular because it emphasized that secondary/selective/Tier 2 or tertiary/indicated/Tier 3 interventions should be applied only after primary/universal/Tier 1 prevention had been attempted and failed. For example, a student should not be considered for special education eligibility if she has not received adequate general and supplemental education instruction. The term resistance became response in order to acknowledge that many students have a positive response to intervention and thereby do not show “resistance,” but the essential premise remains. Specifically, an RtI service delivery model establishes assessment and intervention tiers that provide students with learning and behavioral difficulties services and monitoring proportional to their needs. Determining which student receives which level of service should be a widely collaborative process, particularly if all the potential resources of a school (including general and special education) are to be considered.

RtI is both an instructional model that can help to prevent reading and other learning prob- lems and a special education eligibility model (Torgeson, 2007). For reasons discussed in Chapter 3, the term RtI to describe tiers of services to address academic needs systematically has been replaced with the term multi-tiered system of services (MTSS), which is a more com- prehensive term. MTSS will be used primarily in this text to describe this type of system deliv- ery. The term intervention-based assessments will be used in this text in lieu of the term RtI for special education eligibility decision making.

Consensus on how many service tiers to offer or what exactly occurs at each tier has not been reached (Kame’enui, 2007). It is common, however, to conceptualize a three-tier model (see Gersten et al., 2008), as we describe here. Tier 1 (core) constitutes good general education instruc- tion, including high levels of academic engagement, positive classroom management, and differen- tiated instruction. Assessment at Tier 1 should involve universal screening of all students three or more times a year. Students who fail to attain grade-level benchmarks on the screening receive a predetermined intervention, such as small-group instruction on letter sounds, based on their perfor- mance on the screening. This is known as a standard protocol to assessment and intervention (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006), and it is designed to capture students who are falling behind early before deficits become entrenched and difficult to remediate. Several good screening assessments are available, such as the Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy (Good & Kaminski, 1996) and the math, spelling, and reading assessments found online at AIMSweb. Developing the intervention

14 Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation

protocol, which is delivered largely in general education, requires a collaborative effort among school staff members. Similarly, collaborative consultation is required to determine criteria for suc- cess or failure at each level. Specifically, how long should an intervention be implemented before it is deemed unsuccessful? What is the criterion for success or failure? If the intervention is deemed a failure, do you adjust the intervention or progress to the next tier?

A student who progresses to Tier 2 (targeted intervention) should receive a different, more intense intervention compared to Tier 1, not just more of the same. Fuchs and Fuchs (2006) described increasing the intensity of an intervention as involving one or more of the following: (a) more teacher-centered, explicit, and systematic instruction (b) for longer durations, (c) more frequently, (d) in smaller or more homogeneous groups, and (e) provided by personnel with more training or expertise. Along with a more intense intervention, assessment becomes more frequent and targeted at Tier 2. Students’ progress toward intervention goals should be monitored on a weekly basis, or once a month at a minimum, in order to make midcourse corrections to interven- tions that are not producing the desired results. An assessment technique known as brief experi- mental analysis (BEA) can be applied to determine which of myriad sound interventions best suits an individual student’s needs. BEA is an assessment practice that provides a series of short interventions to determine which intervention produces the most promising effects. Thus, BEA can assist consultants in suggesting interventions to consultees (Noell, Freeland, Witt, & Gansle, 2001). Tier 3 (intensive intervention) can involve increased individual or small-group instructional time; extended-day school; summer school; or special, alternative, or non-public- education services. In the case of special education, data gathered from the other tiers on rate of progress and intervention responsiveness can be used to guide development of the individualized education program. In fact, proponents of RtI highlight the utility of the intervention-based assessment data for designing IEPs compared to the lack of treatment utility associated with traditional cognitive/achievement discrepancy assessment methods (Reschly, 2008; Tilly, 2008). As we discuss in Chapter 8, a shift to an RtI/MTSS service delivery model will require targeted and sustained system-level consultation.

the present status of Collaborative Consultation in sChools

Whatever the specific area of concern (curriculum, behavior problems, cultural diversity, physi- cal plant use, expertise sharing, decision-making systems, materials sharing, and so on), all can be discussed in an atmosphere that encourages shared problem solving. The older top-down, hierarchical, authoritarian administrative models are mostly passé. The challenge now is for educators, including teachers, support staff members, and administrators, to realize that models of shared-governance, site-based, community-organized, and collaborative schools are not easy to develop or implement; it takes a new degree of commitment and cooperation to make these models work.

One of the reasons consultation is emerging slowly is the usual reason for the slowness of change in schools and other large-scale bureaucratic organizations: habit strength. In regard to an approach to responding to the needs of students referred for learning and/or behavior problems, many continue to prefer, or at least persist in, the long-established model of refer-test-place, which has dominated the special education–general education partnership for many years (Ysseldyke, 1986). In the refer-test-place model, a student is referred, and some degree of effort is made to resolve the problem through suggestions generated by the SST. A period of time goes by,

Activity 1.9

RtI/MTSS is a relatively new model, and imple- mentation varies widely among states, districts, and schools. Identify the major components of  MTSS, and discuss whether they are truly unique practices or simply “old wine in a new bottle.” To help identify the major compo- nents of RtI/MTSS watch one or both of the following videos: v=nkK1bT8ls0M v=IjyzTNfwdCU

What components of RtI/MTSS were highlighted in each clip? What descriptors or processes are you familiar with, and which ones do you not yet understand?

Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation 15

during which the problem doesn’t resolve easily, and the team decides to generate an assessment plan to determine if the student is eligible for services as a student with a disability. The most likely category the student will be eligible for is learning disabilities simply because it covers approxi- mately 40% of those eligible for special education services (U.S. Department of Education, 2009); the odds are about three out of four that, if an assessment plan is generated and the assessment takes place, the student will be found eligible for such services (Ysseldyke, 1986; Ysseldyke, Vanderwood, & Shriner, 1997). The student will most likely be given services in a special education resource services program (RSP) for one or two periods a day with unpredictable results. Students with behavioral difficulties often experience punishments like office disciplinary referrals (ODRs), suspension, and expulsion meted out in response to each infraction. The behaviors are likely to worsen over time, and males and African Americans are more likely to receive harsher punish- ments, which is further indication of the ineffectiveness and inequality of this common practice.

One of the goals of collaborative consultation is to change this picture dramatically. MTSS constitutes a very different approach, one where the process of collaborative consultation assumes a much stronger role, with the goals being to forestall placements outside the general education program as often as possible and to provide positive, proactive behavioral supports. MTSS essen- tially promotes such collaborative consultation practices by focusing on students’ outcomes rather than deficits. However, simply providing a description of MTSS practices is not likely to result in change. Real change requires fostering or capitalizing on educators’ desire to change, restructur- ing the role of some school personnel, expanding the knowledge and skills of all educators through targeted professional development, and changing the way the system supports some professional practices (e.g., collaborative consultation) while discouraging others (e.g., searching for pathol- ogy within the child). A survey of urban school psychologists found participants rated consulta- tion as the most valuable practice among all of their activities; however, they engaged more frequently and felt more competent in traditional assessment activities (Stoiber & Vanderwood, 2008). The authors concluded that a “practice gap” exists between what school psy- chologists value and what they do and do well. One reason for the practice gap may be a lack of knowledge. For example, a survey of 249 California school psychologists found that many did not know how to graph progress-monitoring data or how to apply decision rules to determine if a child was responding to an intervention (Powers, Hagans, & Busse, 2008). And 1 in 10 reported that they knew very little about academic interventions, yet all of the respondents indicated they were very knowledgeable about cognitive assessments. Another example of the research-to- practice gap was found by Walsh, Glaser, and Wilcox (2006), who reviewed a random sample of 72 teacher preparation programs and concluded most teacher preparation programs are not teaching the sci- ence of reading. Specifically, they found only 11 of the 72 taught future teachers to target the five core reading skills identified by the National Reading Panel, while many emphasized exposure to literature and making lessons fun (rather than research based) as the best way to teach students to read. This finding has significant implications for the quality of Tier 1/core instruction. Thus, change may need to include modifying how training programs prepare teachers, special educators, school psychologists, counselors, administrators, and other support staff members.

There is no one way to practice consultation, so it is not clear what a person means by consultation until she describes it in some detail or you see her doing it. Current practice varies across a wide range of philosophies, roles, activities, and contexts. The different models dis- cussed in Chapter 2 indicate some of the variations currently practiced in the schools.

researCh on the effeCtiveness of sChool Consultation

There has been a plethora of research on consultation; unfortunately, much of it has relied on demonstrating effectiveness based on the consultee’s satisfaction with the process. As VanDerHeyden and Witt (2008) stated, “Like much education research, consultation research languished in the world of self-report” (p. 117). However, the legislative mandate within NCLB and IDEA 2004 to consider scientifically based interventions has sparked a number of task forces to define criteria for determining whether an approach or intervention is sufficiently sup- ported by scientific research. Division 16 of the American Psychological Association, the Research Task Force of the Council on Exceptional Children, and the Task Force on Evidence- Based Interventions in School Psychology (EBI Task Force) have all created guidelines for determining the quality and quantity of research needed to deem a particular educational strategy

16 Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation

“evidence-based” (Gresham & Vanderwood, 2008). These specific criteria raise the issue of what consultation is (i.e., is it a skill, an intervention, or something else?) and how we measure its effectiveness. Conclusions about the effectiveness of consultation will most likely be made about the impact of specific strategies on a particular skill, setting, and population rather than a judg- ment about consultation effectiveness as a whole (VanDerHeyden & Witt, 2008).

An emerging issue within consultation research is fidelity. Researchers are interested in identifying the conditions that lead to high fidelity in both consultation processes and interven- tion plan implementation. To study the impact of consultation, one must first be able to verify through direct assessment that the consultation and the intervention occurred as planned (i.e., fidelity); second, one must be able to measure the impact of the consultation on the con- sultee’s behaviors and ultimately the student’s (client’s) outcomes. Currently, there is a dearth of research on assessing fidelity, and this lack is due to many issues, including the following: (a) some consultation behaviors may work better in some situations than others, (b) fidelity may be a function of the match between the intervention plan and the referral concern, (c) intervention fidelity instruments that are sensitive to change and demonstrate adequate reliability and validity are rare, and (d) it is not feasible to monitor the fidelity of some types of interventions (Sheridan, Swanger-Gagné, Welch, Kwon, & Garbacz, 2009). A more detailed discussion on implications of assessing and supporting treatment fidelity is provided in Chapter 3. To organize some of the many variables at work in the consultation process, Frank and Kratochwill (2009) proposed a taxonomy for consultation research based on four broad types of research (efficacy, transporta- bility, dissemination, and/or systems evaluation) with level of intervention (core, targeted, and intensive) and setting (dyad, team, or system) nested within each of the four broad categories. Within this taxonomy there are as many as 36 categories of research that could be investigated for any given consultation strategy; most of the task forces mentioned above recommend that multiple studies be conducted to verify the effectiveness of an educational practice. The edited volume Handbook of Research in School Consultation (Erchul & Sheridan, 2009) contains a thorough analysis of the gaps in the current research base as well as promising methodologies for addressing these limitations. While much work remains to be completed to advance our under- standing of the effectiveness of school consultation, the research to date is promising. Seventeen major reviews and meta-analyses have been published on the outcomes of school consultation, and the results consistently suggest improved outcomes for clients and consultees as a result of school consultation (Erchul & Sheridan, 2009).

At the systems level, there is evidence that districts that have adopted a consultation-based approach to dealing with referrals, rather than a refer-test-place model, place fewer students in separate special education classroom programs (Villa, Thousand, Nevin, & Malgeri, 1996) and reduce the overrepresentation of African Americans (Marston, Muyskens, Lau, & Canter, 2003). In one of the few long-term studies of the effects of consultation as an intermediate step in the referral process, Gutkin, Henning-Stout, and Piersel (1988) found that referred children who were not evaluated for special education rose from 21% to 61% during the four years of their study. Torgesen (2007) examined data from 318 Reading First schools in Florida that had imple- mented an RtI (i.e., MTSS service delivery model) focused on providing high-quality instruc- tion, collecting data to identify students in need of intervention, using data to adjust the intervention when indicated, and providing increasingly powerful tiers of service based on student need. He found special education identification rates and the proportion of students who had significant reading difficulties (defined as performing below the 20th percentile on reading tests) to decline dramatically over the first three years of the program.


The concept of collaborative consultation, problem solving, and MTSS were introduced. Educational policies such as IDEA, NCLB and Common Core were described as some examples of the macro-system influences that have made school-based consultation more valued than in the past. While the empirical support for specific consultation practices is building, and fidelity of consultation and intervention practices

appears to be an important linchpin, systemwide consultation- based service delivery models, such as MTSS, are associated with positive results. The next chapters will explore different contexts and roles in consultation, ethical considerations, inter- personal skills in consultation necessary to the consultation process, and academic and behavioral assessment and inter- vention ideas that comprises the content of consultations.

Chapter 1 • Overview of School-Based Consultation 17

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Consultation Models and Professional Practices

José is a junior in a comprehensive high school. He has been referred to the counselor numer- ous times over the past two years because of low achievement, poor academic productivity, and general disinterest in school. Yet José shows considerable promise when engaged in mathemat- ics, a subject he enjoys. You (the school counselor) would like to collaborate with José’s parents and teacher to develop a plan to increase José’s academic engagement. How might you begin? What is a reasonable goal to strive for with José?

Elise, a ninth-grade student with learning disabilities in reading and writing, is in danger of failing her general education classes in English and social studies. Elise has a difficult time reading the texts for these courses. You are the special education teacher consultant in this school. What are some ways of assisting Elise and her general education teachers with this situation?

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Describe the questions a consultant faces in settling on a conceptual model.

2.2 Distinguish between two theoretical traditions of consultation: behavioral and mental health.

2.3 Give examples of a number of functional consultation models.

2.4 Compare and contrast various consultation configurations (i.e., individual, conjoint, team-based, and systemswide consultation).

2.5 Describe various contexts in which school-based consultation may take place, with particular focus on the student study team (SST).

A RAtionAle foR A Model

A model is a way of conceptualizing or approaching a problem. A consultant is always, if only unwittingly, following a model. Consider the following questions as possible indicators of the type of model that may best encapsulate your approach to consultation:

1. Where is the origin of an academic or behavioral problem likely to reside, within the stu- dent, her family, teacher, peers, classroom, school, or some combination?

2. Is the goal of consultation to solve the student’s problem or increase the capacity of the consultee, or both?

3. Do you want to diagnosis and prescribe an intervention or are you interested in trying dif- ferent interventions until you find one that works?

4. Are parents important partners in addressing students’ needs, or is it better for them to stand aside while the professionals get to work?

5. Is the consultant the expert, like the wise man on the mountain who provides a definitive answer to a problem when approached by the consultee, or is the consultant part of a team in motion adjusting strategies as interventions are attempted, or somewhere in between?

Chapter 2

20 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

6. Is it better to solve one student’s problem at a time or is it better to look for ways to improve the system?

7. Can students change? Can teachers and support staff members change? Can systems change?

This chapter reviews two theoretical traditions: behavioral and mental health. They are regarded as theoretical because they derive from well-established theories of human behavior. Also reviewed are some consultation models that can be applied easily in school settings.

two theoReticAl tRAditions

Behavioral Paradigm

The behavioral model is built on the theories of learning that have been adapted by behav- iorists such as Skinner, Bandura, and Meichenbaum (Conoley & Conoley, 1992) and made specific in the area of consultation by Bergan (1977) and Kratochwill and Bergan (1990). Essentially, a behaviorist believes that behaviors are a function of the contingencies that control them (i.e., their antecedents and consequences), and the functional relationships between behaviors and their environmental and cognitive (i.e., self-talk) contexts. Thus, a consultant trying to understand why a student is exhibiting a problem behavior in the class- room would search for potential triggers or reinforcing events in the classroom. A basic tenet of behaviorsim is that all behavior is meaningful because it serves some function. The function of a behavior may not be apparent initially, but it exists.

Behaviorism has progressed in many ways over the 70 years of its existence. During the 1980s and 1990s, for example, there was an increasing interest in what is known as cognitive behavior therapy, which differs from more traditional behaviorism in its empha- sis on internal, cognitive events. Traditional behaviorism was not concerned with internal events primarily because they could not be observed and counted. Now, however, it is widely recognized that ignoring internal mediating events leaves a gap in behaviorists’ ability to understand the source of human behavior (Alberto & Troutman, 2013; Schloss & Smith, 1998). Another major influence on current applications of behaviorism is the work of Bandura (1977), who hypothesized that social learning, or learning by observing models, is a major force in one’s learning history. Using role models and rehearsing specific behav- iors under conditions of positive reinforcement are two of the behavior change techniques suggested by Bandura’s work.

BAsic concePts in BehAvioRAl consultAtion Behavioral consultation involves providing indirect services in which the consultant collabo- rates with a consultee in order to improve the behavior of a client by following a four-stage interview (Hagermoser, Sanetti, & Kratochwill, 2008). The emphasis is on identifying and analyzing the client’s problems in order to design and evaluation interventions. Following the behavioral tradition, the student’s problem is defined in operational terms (i.e., very specific, overt, and measurable behaviors). Conditions that instigate or sustain the behaviors are identi- fied, and an intervention plan that includes some type of modification to the contingencies that support the behavior is developed. The target behavior is measured repeatedly over time to determine if the behavior improves compared to preintervention (baseline) performance. Because of the emphasis on analyzing a behavior and the context in which it occurs, the term applied behavior analysis has replaced the former term behavior modification (Alberto & Troutman, 2013).

The basic paradigm for analyzing behaviors is to consider the antecedents, behaviors, and consequences. Antecedents are events that precede and are believed to be functionally connected to the target behavior. Antecedents can be either external or internal. Examples of external antecedents are a teacher’s direction to a student to do something, the behavior of the child sitting next to a target student, the difficulty of an assignment, and a fire-drill alarm. Internal antecedents may include hunger, one’s emotional state, and self-talk. Antecedents can be both proximal (occurring close in time to the actual behavior) or distal

Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices 21

(occurring much sooner, possibly even in a different setting, than the target behavior). As with most variables that exist on a continuum, it is not always easy or practical to make the distinction between identifying any given antecedent as distal or proximal. In spite of this, the distinction is valuable because it reminds observers that any behavior may be a function of antecedents that occurred days earlier rather than simply those events that are currently happening. Distal antecedents include child-rearing practices, loss of a parent, events seen on television, habit strength, memories of a situation similar to a current situation, and so on. In fact, what often appears to be the immediate cause (proximal antecedent) of a child’s misbehavior may not be the main reason for the observed behavior. By knowing a child’s history and, when possible, something of the child’s inner life through counseling or reflec- tive listening techniques, one may come to understand the distal antecedents of that child’s behavior. Gutkin (2012) has emphasized this point, suggesting that behavioral consultation needs to attend more seriously to distal antecedents by becoming “ecobehavioral,” by looking at the larger picture of a student’s life and history rather than just at immediate prompting events.

Activity 2.1

List, either by yourself or in a class group, all the antecedent reasons you can think of for classroom misbehavior (however defined).

In other words, what prompts misbehavior in school? Determine which antecedents are distal and which are proximal.

Activity 2.2

Repeat Activity 2.1, this time focusing on academic learning problems. What are some reasons for poor academic performance?

Which seem to be within the child and which are environmental?

Consequences (defined here as the effects of a behavior on the student) are ordinarily regarded as the events that follow a behavior. These events can be reinforcing, neutral, or aver- sive. It is the effect on a student that determines whether a consequence is reinforcing, neutral, or aversive, not the intention of the person who delivers the consequence. The student determines the effect, which might be the opposite of the effect that the person delivering the consequence intended. For example, teachers (and parents) often warn children not to tip their chairs back because they might fall. If they do fall, the effect may be reinforcing from the point of view of the adult because it validates the adult’s ability to predict events. Or it may be aversive if the child is hurt and the adult feels regret for not doing more to stop the child from falling. From a child’s point of view, the effect may be punishing if he gets hurt, or it may be reinforcing if he obtains some sort of pleasure from disrupting the classroom or obtaining approval from his peers, even if he does get hurt.

Alberto and Troutman (2013) describe consequences that increase the likelihood of a behavior occurring as positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is receiving a desired object, activity, or communication contingent on performing the desired behavior. For example, a teacher may award a token or verbal praise to a student for completing his seatwork assignment. If the student desired the token or praise, and if everything remains the same, he will be more likely next time to complete his work. Negative reinforcement is removal of an aversive stimulus contingent on a behavior. The classic example is the harried mother in the grocery store who initially refuses to buy her child a treat but relents after the child has a temper tantrum. By relenting, the mother actually reinforces the tantrum behavior (making it more likely to hap- pen next time), and her own acquiescing was negatively reinforced by the removal or cessation of the tantrum.

22 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

To view a video of this type of negative and positive reinforcement, also known as coer- cive pain control (Rhode & Jenson, 2010) see watch?v=OxdtMVww2q0. Because student’s noncompliance or work avoidance is negatively reinforced when teachers remove their demands, Rhode and Jenson, (2010) recommend that teachers use precision commands in which compliance is immediately reinforced, and the stu- dent receives a punishment after failing to comply with a request that has been repeated once. Punishment is the delivery of some aversive stimulus or removal of a desired stimulus in order to decrease a behavior (Alberto & Troutman, 2013). While punishment can be effective, it should never be humiliating or painful. Reinforcing positive and competing behaviors (i.e., work completion or compliance) is often both more productive and humane than punishing undesired behaviors.

In some cases, an action designed to be reinforcing, like delivering verbal praise, could be felt as a punishment (the student does not want any attention called to her). This case raises the question, “How does one know whether an adult or peer response to a targeted behavior is reinforcing or punishing?” The answer lies only in a careful study of the data. Is the targeted behavior decreasing as a function of the consequences it elicits? If so, then these consequences are probably best interpreted as aversive or punishing. Are behaviors increasing as a result of the responses that follow these behaviors? If so, then the consequences are probably positively reinforcing the behavior.

Activity 2.3

Watch the tutorial on how to conduct an antecedent, behavior, and consequence (ABC) analysis at watch?v=GxcIM8klHuY and complete the

ABC analysis found on the video clip for the target behavior: yelling in the classroom.

Activity 2.4

A teacher tells you that she is concerned about a student who is anxious. What else do you, as a behaviorally oriented consultant, want to know about the child? What are the behaviors

of anxiety? Which can be treated, the anxiety or the behaviors? How might a traditional behaviorist differ from a cognitively oriented behaviorist in his approach to this problem?

BAsic Beliefs undeRlying A BehAvioRAl APPRoAch to consultAtion The behavioral tradition focuses on behaviors that are either observable to the teacher or parent or reportable by the student; it contrasts with the medical-model approach, which focuses on pathology or sickness within the child. Hypothetical constructs and pseudo-explanatory con- cepts and labels, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, or others listed in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), are not regarded as constructive except for purposes of communication among professional staff members and parents. The behaviorist does not say that a student is out of her seat and running around the room because she has ADHD. Rather, the behaviorist is inclined to say that the student engages in an excessive amount of out-of-seat behavior (operationally defined and usually determined in relation to a norm for a given class- room or other setting) and will help to develop an intervention to change the behavior by changing either the antecedent (adjust difficulty of seatwork, move desk to quiet corner, etc.) and/or consequence events (provide short breaks contingent on work completion, implement a self-monitoring program with a highly desired reward for improved on-task behavior, etc.). To learn if the intervention has been successful, a behaviorist charts the occurrence and dura- tion of out-of-seat behavior or some other targeted behavior. The behaviorist’s goal is to reduce the frequency of symptoms because, as the behaviorist believes, the symptom is the disease (Ullmann & Krasner, 1965).

Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices 23

stAges in the BehAvioRAl consultAtion Model Bergan (1977) and Bergan and Kratochwill (1990) have delineated four stages that form the structure of the behavioral consultation model: problem identification, problem analysis, plan implementation, and plan evaluation. Ideally, these stages occur over the course of three separate interviews, each on one of the following: problem identification, problem analysis and plan development, and problem evaluation (Martens & DiGennaro, 2009). In our experi- ence, however, problem identification and problem analysis often occur together in schools in order to expedite the process. The trade-off of moving more quickly to plan development and implementation is associated with an increased risk of selecting the wrong behavior to target or incorrectly interpreting the function of the behavior. The following is a description of the activities carried on during these stages and an indication of some of the objectives that under- lie each stage.

In problem identification, the consultant receives and discusses a referral with the con- sultee and attempts to clarify its nature. Is it primarily a behavior problem or a learning problem? How might the behavior be described operationally? The objectives of this stage are to assess the nature of the consultee’s concerns; prioritize problems; select target behavior(s); make an initial estimate of the problem’s seriousness; decide on tentative goals; discuss possible antecedents, sequences, and consequences (i.e., how the behavior unfolds in time); discuss possible data- collection ideas; and set a date for the next meeting. A consultee’s description of a problem may often seem overwhelming and confusing initially, particularly if the consultee’s descriptions are clouded by anger, frustration, or the intermixing of facts and opinions. Many students do not have just one problem and the temptation to try anything and everything at once in order to get immediate relief must be resisted for a more measured and precise problem analysis.

Activity 2.5

Watch the video clip at https://www. and discuss how the consultant helps the consultee operationalize and prioritize the behavioral

concerns. What further data are needed to define the behavior in observable and measur- able terms?

Activity 2.6

Watch the video of a portion of a behavioral consultation interview at https://www. . Discuss whether the function of the target behavior (i.e., disruptive and poor task comple- tion) is avoiding a task avoidance, attention

seeking, or both. What might you look for in a classroom observation to confirm the function served by the behavior? How would the inter- ventions differ depending on the results of the behavioral analysis?

In problem analysis, the consultant delves further into the nature of the problem, usually by observing it directly, conducting a functional assessment if appropriate (see Chapter 6) to determine the function that the behavior serves, clarifying issues with the consultee, and brainstorming possible interventions. Other activities at this stage are to examine the data for patterns; solidify goals; verify antecedents, behavioral sequences, and consequences; determine the strengths and assets of the student; research school resources that can be incorporated into the planning; and design and get agreement about the intervention plan. If the behavioral consultation is being conducted in the collabora- tive mode, the consultee makes the final determination about what to implement and how to do it, with the guidance and facilitation of the consultant. Both parties discuss ongoing data-collection methods and treatment integrity checks, and schedule the next interview and/or observation.


24 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

Activity 2.7

Form teams of two (dyads). One person thinks of a social relationship problem she has experienced. The other person acts as a consultant and tries to get functional informa- tion about the problem from the consultee.

The consultant asks for a behavioral definition of the social relationship problem and gets information about the antecedents and conse- quences, frequency of occurrence, durations, intensities, and so on. Then reverse roles.

In plan implementation, the consultee proceeds with the appropriate interventions. The consultant’s main objectives at this stage are to monitor what the consultee is doing (to ensure treatment integrity), suggest modifications as appropriate, and reinforce the consultee for her efforts. The consultant may also collect progress-monitoring data on the student to verify that the interventions are working.

For plan evaluation, Bergan (1977) suggests three steps: evaluating goal attainment, evaluating plan effectiveness, and planning postimplementation. The goals should have been established during the problem identification stage and should have flowed naturally from the nature of the problem. The primary objective of this stage is to determine how well the goals have been met. Continuation, modification, or termination of the plan is determined at this stage. A plan may look elegant and may have worked elsewhere, but the consultant and the consultee have to determine how well it has worked in the present case, which is always different in important, if subtle, ways from all other instances of similar problems.

Postimplementation planning refers to a discussion of how to proceed after the cur- rent consultative relationship is terminated. What steps should be taken to ensure that the problem won’t recur? Should data continue to be kept? In school consultation, consultants should learn to expect recurrence of problems from certain students and from certain teach- ers. Some cases resurface continually due to students’ home conditions, serious learning disabilities, or other biophysical or classroom ecological influences. Sometimes postim- plementation simply means putting a partially successful case on the back burner while attending to more pressing cases, with the plan to return to the partially successful case at a later time.

cuRRent thinking ABout the BehAvioRAl Model Bergan (1995) has updated the behavioral model of consultation since its inception in 1977. He points to a widening literature base that supports this highly structured approach and indicates how it has assisted consultants and consultees in defining problems that can be operationalized and solved. He specifically indicates a problem-centered approach, which is not always evident in approaches taken by consultants who follow other theoretical or functional models. This approach avoids the focus on a referred student’s negative behavior and instead asks questions that focus on a program of possible skill development. For example, instead of asking, “What’s wrong with Johnny?” the consultant asks, “What skills does Johnny need to develop to be more successful?” While it is likely that referral ques- tions may contain some explication of what a student is doing wrong (such as variations on “He won’t behave or do his work”), this is not necessarily the problem the consultant works on. Rather, it is more appropriate to stress the teaching goal for the student (such as “What social or academic skills does the student need to work on, and how can we arrange the environment, broadly defined, to see that this happens?”). Thus, “problems” are reframed in terms of a goal for improved performance and a series of steps or interventions to achieve the goal. This is the underlying assumption to problem-solving consultation, which is described in detail in Chapter 3.

The behavioral approach has considerable surface appeal in addition to a solid track record of empirical validation. Nevertheless, many teachers do not use behavioral approaches. Indeed, some teachers and administrators want nothing to do with them. Axelrod, Moyer, and Berry (1990) point to a number of reasons for this avoidance. Some teachers balk at this approach because data have to be kept, a teacher may have to change her own behavior, and

Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices 25

programs need to be individualized. Also, reinforcement is often misinterpreted as bribery. Some teachers believe in the Protestant ethic, by which they mean that students should do work because they are told to; thus, “bribing” them is unnecessary, even immoral. Such teach- ers believe that this behavioral approach may be all right for rats and pigeons, but not for people. Alberto and Troutman (2013) identified the main challenges to behaviorism in schools: (1) It requires a lot more effort on the part of the teacher than more indirect or avoidant meth- ods and (2) educators’ philosophical beliefs often include the idea that learning should be child-directed and intrinsically motivating.

Most teachers have not been trained in behavioral techniques, and a behaviorist enthusiast may turn them off by conveying a superior attitude. Given the rich database that supports the behavioral approach, it is not surprising that those who have studied and applied it successfully might be evangelistic in their efforts to get others to use behavioristic methods. Astute behavio- rally oriented school consultants need to guard against this attitude or impression. They need to remember that teachers usually don’t read the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis; may not be at all impressed with studies done under controlled conditions (which classrooms are not); and are primarily concerned with the students in their classrooms, not with others who seem to live in laboratories somewhere else.

suMMARy of the BehAvioRAl Model This brief overview of the behavioral model presents a foundation for understanding and appreciating the contributions of this model to the consultation process. There is considerable overlap between what has been presented here as the behavioral model and what is presented later in Chapter 3 as a problem-solving model of consultation because behavioral consultation serves as a foundation for problem-solving consultation in the schools.

Mental health Paradigm

The mental health tradition is based on psychodynamic theories of human interaction (Conoley & Conoley, 1992; Erchul, 1993). It was developed primarily Gerald Caplan. His seminal text, The  Theory and Practice of Mental Health Consultation (Caplan, 1970), reviews the many intricacies of this complex model. In 1993 and again in 1999, Gerald Caplan and Ruth Caplan authored an updated text on the mental health model, which added the word collaboration to the title: Mental Health Consultation and Collaboration (Caplan & Caplan, 1993).

In strong contrast to the behavioral model, which emphasizes contingencies of reinforce- ment, modeling, and self-reinforcement, the mental health model stresses intrapsychic feel- ings and their effects on interpersonal relationships. Although the primary distinguishing factor in mental health consultation is its emphasis on intra- and interpersonal variables, it does not ignore environmental influences. Caplan makes many references to the importance of the ecological context in which behavior unfolds, such as communication patterns between the client and the consultee, and organizational and community influences on the behavior of both clients and caregiver-consultees. Mental health consultation also differs from behavioral con- sultation in its focus on the consultee rather than the client. The main goal of mental health consultation is to increase the capacity of the consultees. As such, researchers of mental health models of consultation often collect data on changes in the attitude or behavior of the consultee rather than the outcome of the client (Knotek, Kaniuka, & Ellingsen, 2009). For example, a research review by Brennan, Bradley, Allen, and Perry (2008) found sizable support for the effectiveness of mental health consultation on improving early childhood providers’ sensitiv- ity, self-efficacy, confidence, job satisfaction, and observed and self-reported competency. Note, however, that the effect of mental health consultation on the young students’ outcomes was not a factor in the study.

Every school-based consultant needs to be sensitive to one of Caplan’s discoveries: When outsiders (consultants) enter the world of insiders (consultees), they need to understand that they are entering a world different from their own, one that has its own norms, beliefs, habits, and ways of doing things. No matter how expert a consultant may be, the consultee is largely respon- sible for the way in which an intervention is finally put into effect. Therefore, Caplan and Caplan (1993) stress the need for a collaborative approach to consultation. They discuss the

26 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

problems that arise when the consultant attempts to take over a case and assume the expert role. This stance may reduce the consultee’s involvement in the case and his subsequent willingness to generate or follow through on solutions to the referral problems.

key concePts of the MentAl heAlth Model Caplan and Caplan (1993, pp. 21–23) list 14 basic characteristics of their mental health model. The following list adapts five of these characteristics as they apply to school consultation:

1. The relationship between the consultant and the consultee is coordinate and nonhierarchical. Throughout this text, we emphasize this basic tenet of the collaborative model. Even though the consultee has referred the problem to the consultant and might therefore be thought of as the dependent person in the dyad, the working relationship established in the collaborative model soon clarifies an equal-partners dyad.

2. Consultation is usually conducted as a short series of interviews. In public schools, there is not a lot of time for lengthy sessions between a consultant and a consultee. While it may be true in extreme cases that weekly meetings occur for some months, the usual case involves between two and five meetings, some of which may be brief phone or e-mail conversations.

3. The consultant does not get involved in the personal problems of the consultee. If it is clear that the consultee is undergoing some sort of emotional conflict that impedes her ability to carry out a consultation plan, the consultant should make an appropriate referral to another source for counseling.

4. A long-term goal of all consultation is to improve the on-the-job functioning of the consultee. Toward that goal, the consultant attempts to give the consultee skills, knowledge, confidence, and a sense of objectivity that the consultee may be lacking. These points will be useful in the consultee’s future cases.

5. The Caplans intend their model to be used primarily for mental health problems. However, the ideas discussed in their work can apply to any behavior or learning problem that a student is experiencing.

tyPes of MentAl heAlth consultAtion Caplan and Caplan (1993) discuss four types of consultation: client-centered case, consultee- centered case, program-centered administrative, and consultee-centered administrative. The first two types concern individual client (or small-group) issues, and the latter two are system- oriented. Another way to divide the four types is in terms of focus: on the consultee or on the client (or the program in the case of the program-centered administrative type).

• In client-centered case consultation, the consultant deals directly with a client (student) in order to provide some service (such as assessment or treatment) or to develop ideas that a consultee can use when working with the client. The consultant has little direct interaction with the consultee.

School-based example: A teacher refers a student to the reading specialist because of the student’s significant reading delay. This specialist takes the student from the general education classroom, does some assessment work, and writes a report for the teacher telling him what he should do to help the student.

• In consultee-centered case consultation, the consultant deals directly with the consultee in order to assist the consultee in formulating a plan for dealing with the client. The consult- ant has little or no direct interaction with the client.

School-based example: The reading specialist meets with the general education teacher, assists her in making a plan for helping the student, and monitors the plan as it unfolds. In this situation, the consultant may never meet directly with the student.

Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices 27

• In program-centered administrative consultation, the consultant evaluates a policy or pro- gram and develops a plan for improving it.

School-based example: A reading expert, possibly from outside the district, is brought in to evaluate a school’s reading pro- gram and to develop a set of guidelines for improving it.

• In consultee-centered administrative consultation, the consultant works with a group of consultees to help them develop better ways of managing their program.

School-based example: The consultant meets with members of the school’s leadership team to review their universal and targeted reading programs and results. The consultant then helps them improve the programs in order to have fewer students below reading benchmarks than they do currently.

Each of these four types is commonly used in the schools. Most of this text is devoted to individual or small-group consultation work; Chapter 9 focuses on the last two (administrative) types of consultation.

the fouR “lAcks” of consultees Caplan and Caplan (1993) point out four “lacks” that may explain why a consultee has diffi- culty dealing with a client: knowledge, skill, confidence, and objectivity. In a situation in which knowledge is lacking, the consultee needs to know more about a targeted student or about techniques that can be used to assist the student. In school-based consultation, this lack occurs frequently. Some teachers do not know much about a student’s background or about cultural factors that may be influential. The consultee may be knowledgeable about one approach to teaching reading (whole language) but may lack knowledge of alternative approaches to try when her approach fails for some students. In this approach, the school consultant’s goal is to impart information to the consultee in order to help her deal more effec- tively with the student, hoping that these facts or insights will be used with other students as appropriate. Many topics designed to increase the knowledge base of consultees can be delivered in staff development in-services, which are discussed in Chapter 10. However, as discussed in Chapter 3, the likelihood of the consultee implementing the suggestions is very low unless coaching, performance feedback, and even test-driving intervention options accom- pany the imparted knowledge.

A lack of skill is diagnosed when the consultee has the requisite knowledge but doesn’t seem to know how to apply it successfully. The best way to diagnose this condition is to watch the consultee apply his knowledge to solve a particular problem. The consultant may observe that the consultee knows what to do but not how to do it. An example might be the use of contingency contracts. The consultee has written a good contract but does not enforce it consistently or tries to demand more than the contract calls for before delivering the speci- fied reinforcer.

The third lack is confidence. Some teachers and parents simply lack confidence to try things they know how to do or could easily learn. They may have tried specific tactics in the past and believed they were not successful, or they may be currently dealing with what appears to be a more difficult or threatening situation and are fearful of trying something and possibly failing. Consider a successful teacher who takes on a new challenge of teaching a class for emotionally disturbed students. The behaviors of these students frighten the teacher. During the first few weeks, the teacher seems reluctant to implement the behavior management techniques that have always worked in the past and were part of the reason he was nominated for this position. He would benefit from having someone observe the interac- tions in the class and assist him in gaining more confidence in his ability to redirect these students. Gutkin (2012) wrote that a major problem with the medical model is its potential to “disempower the most important and accessible caregivers in the lives of children and

28 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

adolescents, namely, parents and teachers” (p. 5). If the consultant is the expert in the psy- chosocial causes of a student’s failure, then the consultees may feel they lack the efficacy to assist their child or student, and low self-efficacy leads to ineffective and less persistent problem-solving.

According to Caplan and Caplan (1993), the fourth lack, objectivity, is the most common “in a well-organized institution or agency” (p. 107). If consultees have the knowledge, skill, and confidence it takes to deal with their work-related problems but are still having difficulty, they may be letting subjective perceptions and judgments impair their ability to deal with issues involving students who present with difficult problems. Specifically, a consultant may be unable to perceive the student’s difficulties objectively due to (a) direct personal involvement, (b) simple identification, (c) transference, (d) character distortion, and/or (e) theme interference (Erchul & Martens, 2010).

A theme interference occurs when a previously unresolved problem affects the consultee’s expectations for solving the current problem. In general, these psychodynamic concepts explain a consultee’s ineffectiveness with his student in terms of some conscious or unconscious misrepresentation of the student. The consultant’s role in these situations is to help the teacher (or parent or administrator) to see the case in more objective terms, to reassess the behaviors of concern, and to point out that the student does not represent some class of people or perhaps some type of disability that shares common potential difficulties for the consultee.

Activity 2.9

Select one of the Caplans’ four lacks. Discuss the way in which that lack may manifests itself among a group of teacher consultees.

Do the lacks interact, or are they independent of each other?

Activity 2.10

List some common themes among school- based consultants that may interfere with their

abilities to deal objectively and compassion- ately with students or consultees.

It is interesting to note that the Caplans refer to objectivity as a possible lack on the part of consultees. Although the Caplans don’t discuss the lack of objectivity within the consultant in depth, it certainly may be a lack on the part of a school consultant in objectivity or any of the other three lacks. All consultants need to look continually at their own behavior and question themselves about the possibility that the plans they suggest might be the result of their own lack of objectivity in understanding either the consultee, the student, or both. There is no doubt that each of us has personal biases, beliefs that may not be appropriate, specific ideas that we like even though they may not be the most appropriate for any given situation, and so on. Sometimes we learn about this from our consultees, who question our ideas based on the objec- tive facts. Self-reflection can guard against this possibility, as can reviewing your work with other competent practitioners in the schools.

Activity 2.8

A teacher consultee tells you that he expects the student to be loud and sarcastic because he has seen many children from similar home backgrounds “and they all act like that.” How would you, as a consultant, help this consultee

understand that this line of reasoning may lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy? How might you help the consultee to be more objective in deal- ing with the student?

Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices 29

cuRRent APPRoAches to the MentAl heAlth Model Caplan, Caplan, and Erchul (1995) presented their views on the importance of the shift to a col- laborative model for school consultants who want to use a mental health approach. The Caplans wrote that the term consultant should refer to an outside expert who has psychological distance from the consultee and the situation. However, schools have embraced the idea that internal staff (counselors, special education teachers, school psychologists, curriculum specialists, mentor teachers, etc.) should engage in consultation. Mental health consultation has thus evolved to be more collaborative and less psychodynamically oriented than originally conceptualized by the Caplans (Knotek et al., 2009).

suMMARy of the MentAl heAlth tRAdition The mental health model espoused by the Caplans, along with its consultee-centered consulta- tion (CCC) offshoot, is less commonly used in the schools than the behavioral model. The men- tal health model is important because it emphasizes aspects of interpersonal and intrapersonal relationship factors that are not regarded as important in the behavioral model.

functionAl consultAtion Models

The process of consultation in the schools is continually evolving. However, most models applied in school settings have a strong base in the behavioral consultation tradition. Problem solving is present in most models of school consultation. The mental health emphasis on increasing the capacity of the consultee is also present in most contemporary models. All the models recognize the importance of collaboration, interpersonal skills, and knowledge of assessment and interventions. Thus, many of the models have a lot in common and can be distinguished by the particular component of consultation partnership or process that is emphasized.

conjoint Behavioral consultation

Recognition of the central role of family-centered contingencies in the lives of children has prompted behaviorists, such as Kramer (1990) and Sheridan and Kratochwill (1992), to expand their ideas about behavioral applications to working with families. Referred to as conjoint behav- ioral consultation (CBC), it is defined as “an indirect service-delivery model that builds on positive parent-teacher relationships, integrates structured data-based problem solving and col- laboration, and implements evidence-based interventions across home and school settings” (Sheridan et al., 2012, p. 24). In this system, both parents and teachers serve as consultees to prioritize simultaneously and jointly the need, identify resources in the child’s environment, develop and implement the most acceptable interventions, and determine the success of the inter- vention (Ysseldyke, Lekwa, Klingbeil, & Cormier, 2012). Ideally the increased complexity of the consultant’s data-gathering and communication efforts across two contexts is offset by syner- gism that emerges from parents and teachers working together to solve problems. Sheridan, Clarke, and Burt (2009) described CBC as progressing through three phases: (a) needs identifi- cation/needs analysis (building on strengths), (b) plan development and implementation, and (c) plan evaluation (checking and reconnecting). These phases closely parallel the four stages of problem-solving/behavioral consultation.

In a study of 52 students with disabilities, Sheridan, Clarke, and Burt (2009) found CBC to lead to sizable changes in behavior, based on repeated direct observations, with an average effect size of 1.08 for home-based interventions and 1.11 for school-based interventions. According to Cohen (1988), effect sizes over .80 are consider large. In addition, indirect measures of CBC effectiveness found parents and teachers to rate the consultation as highly acceptable, and 100% of the parents and 94% of the teachers indicated that the student had met or partially met his or her intervention goal. In another study, Garbacz and colleagues (2008) found a partnership-centered approach to CBC to be associated with teachers’ acceptability and satisfaction with the process. Their definition of a partnership orientation included a focus on strengths; on promoting skill development and teaming; on effective communication; and on presenting as an encouraging, sensitive, and responsive partner. While the extent to which different consultants employed partnership-promoting strategies was not found to be associated

30 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

with parents’ acceptability and satisfaction with the CBC, the authors conclude that CBC as a whole is an effective process for engaging families.

More recent research found that the quality of the family–school partnership mediates the effectiveness of CBC. In the only large-scale, randomized trial of the efficacy of CBC published to date (Sheridan et al., 2012), teachers in the CBC group reported significantly more positive rela- tionships with parents compared to teachers in the control group (i.e., business as usual; Sheridan et al., 2012). Students in the CBC group demonstrated greater improvements in social skills, as reported by both parents and teachers, and more improved adaptive skills, as rated by their teachers, compared to students in the control group. Students in both groups were selected to participate in the study based on teacher referral for disruptive classroom behaviors. Over the course of an 8-week intervention, the teacher, the consultant, and the parents of two to three students met for four or five CBC sessions. Across the 113 students in the CBC group, the consultants made an average of one home visit to help the parents integrate the intervention into their daily routines. Clearly, this study illustrates that CBC is not simply inviting parents to a meeting. Rather, CBC involves multiple meetings with an emphasis on relationship building and supporting not only teachers in their class- rooms but parents in their homes as well. The authors conclude that “CBC proactively structures continuity through the establishment of relationships and partnerships between home and school, exemplified through practices promoting shared ownership, mutual goals setting, joint planning and cooperative plan implementation” (Sheridan et al., 2012, p. 40).

Instructional Consultation

Rosenfield, Silva, and Gravois (2009) describe instructional consultation (IC) as having a dual focus: on both content and process. The content imparted includes assessment meth- ods that can guide instruction, evidence-based academic and behavioral interventions, fidelity assessments, and decision-making rules. The important processes include the problem- solving steps, developing a consultee-centered working relationship, and an emphasis on collaboration. Like the other models, the intent of IC is to improve students’ performance by improving the capacity of their teachers. The distinguishing feature of IC is a focus on improving student outcomes in order to reduce inappropriate referrals or eli- gibility for special education (Rosenfield et al., 2009). The heavy emphasis on effective instruction assumes that many students, particularly those who are designated as learning disabled, are actually curricular or instructional casualties rather than disabled. IC consult- ants are trained to identify and support a variety of instructional interventions that seek to improve the match between the developing capabilities of the student and curricular demands in order to improve student academic engaged time, a major contributor to academic success. IC manuals such as the Instructional Consultation Teams Training Manual (Gravois, Rosenfield, & Vail, 2002, as cited in Rosenfield et al., 2009) promote the portability of  this set of practices. The Level of Implementation Scale–Revised (LOI-R) can be used to assess how well school personnel implement IC, including the collaborative consultation process and the tiered service delivery system, in order to direct further professional development (Rosenfield et al., 2009).

IC is often described as being delivered by a schoolwide team (see the description of stu- dent support teams later in this chapter), but it also involves consultation within a dyadic relationship because a case manager is assigned to consult with the consultee prior to and after the IC team meeting (McKenna, Rosenfield, & Gravois, 2009). The IC stages, as described by Rosenfield, Silva, and Gravois (2009), are:

• Contracting—discussion of the collaborative consultation relationship, problem-solving process, and teacher’s expectations in order to ensure that the teacher is committed to this type of problem solving.

• Problem identification and analysis—prioritize a target behavior; develop an operational definition of the behavioral concern; collect baseline data on the behavior; and set short- term, interim, and long-term performance goals.

• Intervention design—a detailed, evidence-based intervention plan is developed, including who will conduct which parts of the plan and how and when the effectiveness of the inter- vention will be monitored.

Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices 31

• Intervention implantation and evaluation—ongoing progress-monitoring data are col- lected and graphed, and changes to the intervention are made if a lack of growth over baseline is apparent.

• Closure—plans for maintaining the student’s improved progress are discussed, and the case is summarized in writing and formally concluded.

Program evaluation studies indicate that IC is effective in reducing inappropriate referrals to special education, including curbing the disproportional placement of culturally and linguistically diverse students into special education, and results in a large proportion of students meeting their intervention goals (Rosenfield et al., 2009). Rosenfield and col- leagues also report that teachers are overwhelmingly satisfied with the process, which is a very positive outcome given that many students who were referred to the IC team did not end up in special education (which is often the teacher’s desired result behind the initial referral).

ecobehavioral consultation

As the name implies, this consultation model combines ecological systems theory with behaviorism. Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979) proposed understanding development, including ways to influence a developing child, by examining her changing environment. In this model, development is viewed as a series of mutual accommodations or transactions between the child and her environment, including settings that are far removed from the actual child, such as federal legislation on special education services or a district-level policy on retention standards. A  student’s difficulty is conceptualized in terms of a mis- match between the developing capabilities of the child and the demands of the system in which the problem occurs (e.g., Spanish class; Ysseldyke et al., 2012). Sources of support for addressing the problem may be found in other contexts in which the child is engaged (e.g., algebra class, home, church, soccer team). Ecological systems theory also stresses focusing on conditions that can be modified (number of books in the home, number of min- utes spent reading with parents) rather than a child’s social address (nationality, ethnicity, class, neighborhood), which is generally immutable (Bronfenbrenner, 1989). Ecobehavioral consultants often attempt to intervene in multiple contexts, including the internal function- ing of the child (Bonner, 2005). Unlike behaviorism’s narrow focus on observable behav- iors, ecobehaviorism does consider the child’s cognition, motivation, prior learning, and attributions in identifying ways to help (Bonner, 2005). Ecological models of consultation are also more focused on systemwide prevention efforts compared to strictly behavioral or mental health traditions. Waiting to intervene once a problem has become serious or entrenched is ineffective and inefficient, as evident by the large number of students with mental health and educational problems and the relatively low success rate of special education, counseling, and psychotherapy (Gutkin, 2012).

consultee-centered consultation

Consultee-centered consultation (CCC), a current mental health model, is more similar to the behavioral tradition because it embraces a problem-solving process and addresses a wider range of problems beyond mental illness (i.e., academic concerns, behavioral excesses, profes- sional development; Knotek et al., 2009) and uses more behavioral techniques (modeling, coaching, and performance feedback in addition to psychodynamic techniques; Erchul & Martens, 2010). The key components of the CCC model are shared decision making and an emphasis on mutuality in all stages of the process. CCC emphasizes the consultant–consultee relationship as the primary vehicle by which problem solving occurs. Problem solving in CCC is less prescriptive than in behavioral models because the consultant and consultee together modify the conceptualization of the problem throughout the process (Newman, Ingraham, & Shriberg, 2014). The goal is to reconceptualize the problem (referral) in a new way so the con- sultee’s skills are expanded and the professional relationship between the consultee and the client is improved (Newman et al., 2014). Some ways to reconceptualize a problem are (a) brainstorm other possible explanations for the behavior; (b) refocus on what the client can do rather than the child’s deficits; (c) selectively, skillfully, and gently challenging a consultee

32 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

when needed; and (d) acknowledge the consultee’s strengths and knowledge through onedown- manship (Newman et al., 2014). A consultant employs onedownmanship by appearing less knowledgeable or experienced than he actually is, that is, by asking a naïve question that is easy for the consultee to answer or making a comment to the effect that what the consultee can do is amazing.

Activity 2.11

Some people can understand models better if  they are pictured rather than defined with  words only. Select two or more of the  models or traditions described in this chapter and draw a Venn diagram in which

assumptions, activities, or emphases that are shared between or among the models are listed in the overlap between the circles, and those that differ are listed in the nonoverlap- ping parts of the circles.

consultAtion configuRAtions And settings

School consultants work with individual consultees (in a formal meeting or quick conversation in the hallway or lunchroom) and with teams of other consultants and consultees, including con- joint consultation with parents and teachers, student study teams, individualized education pro- gram teams, and transition teams. Many chapters in this book present information about individual consultee work, in which the consultant accepts a referral from the consultee, meets individually with him, and together they work out a plan for understanding and dealing with the referral. Although there are variations in this scenario (such as two consultants or consultees, more than one client, and teaming), generally this one-on-one model remains the most common form of school consultation. It is popular and practical mainly because it involves the least number of individuals. Excessive reliance on team-based meetings is often regarded as impracti- cal and/or frustrating in schools because of the conflicting demands and time limits on team members. In addition, large teams (exceeding six or more individuals) may be associated with diminishing returns. It is widely recognized, however, that individual consultation by itself has serious limitations. The IC model combines individual and team consultation by having the IC team dispatch an IC team member to consult with the referring teacher (McKenna, Rosenfield, & Gravois, 2009).

Under a tiered service delivery model, such as multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), consultation may progress from the one-on-one microlevel to a team approach in order to bring more resources to designing a targeted or intensive intervention. Some potential bene- fits of the team approach include a wider diversity of ideas about how to solve the problem (Cramer, 1998; DeBoer, 1995), more possibilities for change within a context of ownership and empowerment (Basham, Appleton, & Dykeman, 2000; Maeroff, 1993; Sarason, 1990), and ideas generated in a team spread throughout the team and often beyond in a ripple effect that has a potential impact on the larger environment of the school or district (Thomas, Correa, & Morsink, 1995). Whether consulting occurs in a dyad or team, school personnel meet routinely to discuss and problem-solve on behalf of students. Some of the most common consultation configurations are described next. Chapter 10 is devoted to issues of system- level improvement through consultation with teams of constituents at the local school or district level.

Beginning teacher support consultation

Almost a quarter of public school teachers leave their schools within the first five years of teach- ing, and among high-poverty, low-performing schools, up to one-third to one-half of teachers leave within their first five years (Shernoff, Mariñez-Lora, Frazier, Jakobsons, Atkins, & Bonner, 2011). The high turnover makes schoolwide improvement difficult. To improve new teachers’ effectiveness and curb high rates of attrition among novice teachers, some states and districts have implemented support programs. For example, the state of California has funded the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program since 1992. The three major

Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices 33

components of this program are collegial reflection with a veteran teacher, professional devel- opment in the form of in-services offered by the district, and formative assessment of the new teacher’s teaching practices (Lovo, Cavazos, & Simmons, 2006).

Formal programs to induct new teachers into the teaching profession are believed to offer many benefits, including retention of new and veteran teachers, improved teaching effective- ness among beginning teachers, and improved job satisfaction and leadership skills among veteran teachers (Joftus & Maddox-Dolan, 2002). Whether as part of a formal induction pro- gram or an informal mentoring relationship, experienced teachers or related support staff members can assist new teachers by modeling effective teaching practices, observing and pro- viding feedback on the new teacher’s practices, sharing or jointly developing lesson plans, collecting and discussing student data, and generally boosting the new teacher’s confidence. In this type of collaboration, the “client” is the class or classes taught by the new teacher. As the consultant in this situation, you might ask the beginning teacher to identify three students— one performing above average, one performing at an average level, and one performing below average—to discuss each time you meet. This will give you an opportunity to talk about ways to differentiate instruction.

Shernoff and colleagues (2011) combined peer-nominated mentors, coaches, and pro- fessional learning communities (PLCs) to support beginning urban teachers. The coach and mentor intentionally targeted the three strongest predictors of teacher attrition: (1) poor classroom management skills, (2) failure to engage students, and (3) feelings of isolation. The coaches were selected based on their teaching experience. The mentors were selected by their peers because they were seen as influential and socially connected. The mentor was vital to helping the beginning teacher establish social relationships that are the founda- tion of teacher retention. The coaches, mentors, and PLCs helped the beginning teachers realize that there are multiple pathways to teaching effectiveness. Any beginning teacher support program should be adapted to the individual teacher’s context and not be overly burdensome. For example, the beginning teachers in Shernoff’s program found it difficult to complete fidelity checklists after each weekly coaching contact. However, they were able to complete fidelity checks once a month.

Professional learning communities

Professional learning communities (PLCs) are groups of educators who meet routinely to iden- tify and scale up instructional practices that are deemed effective based on student data, observa- tion, and reflection. PLCs may employ a variety of structures and processes. For example, a PLC may be formed based on sharing the same grade-level or content area. PLCs may be developed to support beginning teachers or teachers whose students perform below expectations on the state test or universal screeners. A PLC could be a group of like-minded educators who want to improve their teaching. PLC participants can include general and special education teachers as well as support staff and administrators. A defining feature of a PLC is engagement in a continu- ous improvement cycle. Thus, participants examine student data to identify groups of students or specific learning outcomes to target for improvement.

Kevin Feldman (2013) wrote that “to significantly improve teacher instruction, the PLC process must move beyond simply talking about various forms of student data, brainstorming possible teaching strategies and the like to concretely demonstrating/observing/modeling the actual teaching that is producing the data being discussed.” Accordingly, PLCs may use video- recorded or live observations of its members engaged in teaching. Feldman (2011) describes the Learning Walk, in which the PLC team uses a structured observation form to note effective teacher practices and strategies in need of improvement, debriefs immediately after the obser- vation with the teacher, and then engages in a longer reflection at the end of the day. The Learning Walk discussions begin with affirmations and validations of the teacher’s practices followed by nonjudgmental questions (e.g., I wonder what would have happen if . . . ?) and concludes with a few goals for the teacher to work toward. A facilitator can maintain a clear focus on students’ observable responses to instruction while (ideally) conveying sensitivity and trustworthiness. Understandably, a teacher may be reluctant to put himself before the scrutiny of his peers. However, building a culture of trust and continuous improvement, in which all staff members engage in shared inquiry and problem solving for the benefit of the students,

34 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

facilitates implementation of Learning Walks. One way to foster teachers’ willingness to par- ticipate in Learning Walks may be to begin with modeling lessons or discussing students’ work in the PLC. By delivering, not just describing, a lesson to her peers, a teacher may find the feedback helpful and nonthreatening (Feldman, 2013).

collaborating with Paraprofessionals

The No Child Left Behind Act defines a paraprofessional as a school setting employee “under the supervision of a certified or licensed teacher” in a variety of learning environments. This vague designation encompasses well over 1 million individuals who take on a variety of classroom responsibilities, including instructional support, clerical assistance, student super- vision, tutoring, managing classroom materials, and providing accommodations to students with disabilities in general education classrooms (Ashbaker & Morgan, 2013). Names for these professionals can vary from place to place, such as teacher aide, instructional assistant, or teaching assistant, but the responsibilities are analogous. Ashbaker and Morgan note that, while teachers and paraprofessionals collaborate in the education of students, teachers have more training and responsibilities, including the responsibility to supervise the paraprofes- sional. In some instances, role confusion occurs and the paraprofessional undertakes the teacher’s responsibilities to communicate with parents and plan instruction. This is most likely to occur when paraprofessionals are assigned to assist one student (i.e., one-on-one; Giangreco, Suter, & Doyle, 2010). Clear communication between teachers and their assigned paraprofes- sional enhances the efficiency of their collaborations, as well as their satisfaction with the working arrangement. The job duties for paraprofessionals vary; thus, it is important for the teacher to set the tone for the working relationship by clearly communicating expectations, and the paraprofessional should seek out mentoring and training opportunities in the absence of clear supervision.

Paraprofessionals, like all other staff members at a school, are a valuable resource. They can be an integral part of an MTSS by assisting with universal screening, circulating praise or tokens to students who are on-task during whole-group and independent seatwork, and pro- viding targeted instruction in small group. Paraprofessionals are often underutilized or used inappropriately due to lack of training, high turnover, educators who undervalue their potential contributions, and educators who do not know how to supervise paraprofessionals effectively (Giangreco et al., 2010). For example, a paraprofessional might be relegated to exclusively mak- ing copies and posting artwork on the bulletin board. Some of the following strategies can be used to support paraprofessionals and reduce turnover:

1. Acknowledge their contributions. 2. Ask them about their ideas for improving the classroom or a student’s performance, and

really listen to them. 3. Provide written plans for their daily or weekly activities. 4. Set aside some uninterrupted time to consult about the plans and how things are going. 5. Provide ongoing professional training. 6. Entrust them with important activities (small-group or one-on-one instruction) once suffi-

cient training has been provided. 7. Discuss their career goals with them; many paraprofessionals have the potential to become

wonderful teachers, school psychologists, or counselors if the career path could be made more tangible.

8. Advocate for them to get livable wages and benefits.

coteaching for inclusion

For many years, the special education resource specialist in the public schools was expected to set up a classroom designed to provide special education services on a pull-out basis. Students would leave their general education classrooms for part of their school day to be given special assistance in these resource rooms. Over the past 20 years or so, this model has changed from an emphasis on pull-out to one that emphasizes inclusion and push-in, in which the resource specialist teacher provides specialized assistance to students and consults with general educa- tion teachers about modifications and accommodations for students with disabilities, as well as

Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices 35

others, and even coteaches the class. Similarly, special education students, who would tradi- tionally be educated in a self-contained classroom of all special education students, are being included more and more often in general education, often with the support of their special education teacher. Coteaching, which occurs most frequently between special and general edu- cators, is an excellent opportunity to provide teachers with a colleague with whom to reflect and problem-solve.

Coteaching can take many different forms. The most common is called the one teach, one assist model in which the general education teacher provides whole-group instruction while the special education teacher circulates through the room redirecting students’ atten- tion and offering assistance (Solis, Vaughn, Swanson, & McCulley, 2012). A limitation of this model is that the special education teacher is relegated to the position of an aide, which doesn’t take full advantage of his skills and expertise. Other, more equitable models include forming two homogeneous or heterogeneous groups to be taught by each teacher, setting up centers, and coteaching a whole class. Researchers have consistently found students with and without disabilities to benefit socially from inclusion supported by coteaching (Scruggs, Mastropieri, & McDuffie, 2007; Solis et al., 2012). However, the impact on student achieve- ment is less certain. Coteaching models that emphasize explicit instruction, formative assessment, and individualized instruction on basic skills appear to produce the best results (Solis et al., 2012).

Effective and accepted coteaching requires considerable collaboration. Prior to engag- ing in coteaching, the teachers should discuss their expectations, roles, goals, and demands of the setting (Solis et al., 2012). As illustrated in the video at watch?v=_pnxst7dkLk, the relationship between the two teachers is paramount to the suc- cess of the coteaching experience. As the teachers in the video suggest, coteaching requires ongoing negotiating and planning. One of the most common complaints about coteaching is not having enough time to plan (Solis et al., 2012). School consultants can help coteachers find the time to plan by taking over their class for an hour a week. School consultants can facilitate the planning and negotiating by offering structure to the discussion (i.e., problem- solving process), emphasizing interpersonal skills that promote coteaching (e.g., active lis- tening, acceptance, assertiveness, willingness to take feedback), and helping to gather needed resources.

Meyers, Gelzheiser, and Yelich (1991) compared the quality and quantity of consultation between resource specialists and general education teachers in pull-out and inclusion programs. They found consultation in the inclusion program to occur more frequently and to be more focused on instructional issues such as lesson planning, and they found the pull-out consultation to focus more on individual student progress and need. The general education teachers in the inclusion program learned more instructional strategies from the consultation than those in the traditional pull-out program.

individualized education Program team

A student’s special and general education teachers are required to meet with the student’s parents and related support staff members at least once per year to discuss the student’s progress and set goals for the upcoming year. Individualized education program (IEP) teams must determine the level of support the student will require to meet these goals, including specific instructional, cur- ricular, and/or testing accommodations (Bolt & Roach, 2009). For a good overview of IEPs, see the short video at LZyx7QcNivdXGlUaAdCeWRrv.

Typically the case manager for the student, often a special education teacher, acts as the consultant by arranging and facilitating the IEP meeting. The overall goal of the IEP team is to ensure that the student with a disability is provided a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restricted environment (LRE). Clearly, these are rather broad terms, and team members may not always agree that the IEP meets these federal mandates. Contention can arise about whether a student qualifies for special education, whether a student is receiving suf- ficient services and supports, and the extent to which the student participates in general educa- tion programs. To qualify, a student must (a) meet one of 13 disability categories and (b) need special education services to access general education curriculum and instruction, and (c) the

36 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

identified disability cannot be due cultural or language differences, poor instruction, or exces- sive absences (i.e., these are exclusionary categories). The emphasis on need is due to a common misunderstanding that if a child meets the definition of a disability, such as demonstrating a cognitive/achievement discrepancy or having a medical diagnosis of ADHD, the child auto- matically qualifies for special education. If there is evidence that a student is relatively success- ful in the general education curriculum, such as average or above average grades, state test scores, and so on, the school does not need to assess for special education. The consultant should be sure to examine multiple indicators of the student’s functioning, including interview- ing the person who made the referral to special education, before determining whether testing is necessary. Parents and teachers may make inappropriate referrals for special education services because they are unaware of other sources of support or they have an exaggerated view of the student’s problems. The consultant should always respond to a referral from a collaborative problem-solving approach.

IEP teams also require considerable consultation skills because many different peo- ple from different disciplines may be involved. Depending on the student’s needs, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, administra- tors, vocational rehabilitation workers, counselors, school psychologists, assistive technol- ogy experts, and/or transition specialists, in addition to the student, his family, and his teachers, can be involved. Scheduling is one of the challenges to collaborating with so many different specialists to provide the best program. The case manager should balance the needs for these services with the disruption they may have on the student’s schedule. The case manager should also consider if the skills and knowledge of some of the special- ists are being underutilized. The IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University has prepared some online modules on working with nurses, assistive technology specialists, and counselors to provide quality programming to students with disabilities. Consultants should stay focused on developing an IEP that enhances the educational outcomes of the student and meets all legal due process mandates.

At least once every three years, the students’ special education program must be reex- amined to determine whether the program is working and to plan for the future. Whether the student continues to qualify for special education is a focus of the triennial only in the event that members of the team suspect that the student either no longer needs the services or additional services are required to sustain progress (National Association of School Psychologists, 2004). However, it is common, though unnecessary, to administer a battery of tests to reestablish the existence of a disability for special education qualification. Data from multiple sources, gathered through a variety of methods, should be considered in these triennial evaluations.

tRAnsition PlAnning teAMs Since 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has required IEP teams to engage in transition planning for students with disabilities over the age of 15 to prepare them for adulthood. Thus, the IEP team not only discusses what programs, services, and accommodations a student needs for the next year, they also discuss how these services should be implemented in order to meet the students’ future goals. Transition planning should occur in the following areas, if needed: postsecondary education, vocational train- ing, integrated employment, housing, community participation, and recreation/leisure. Transition planning is complex, not just because of the multitude of contexts and develop- mental changes to be consider but because of the variety of professionals involved. Transition planning requires sharing information, joint planning within and across agencies, and respecting each person’s roles (Michaels & Lopez, 2005). Collaborative consultation skills, such as active listening, outcomes-oriented discussions, valuing other’s perspec- tives, effective communication, and follow-through, are essential to effective transition planning. Michaels and Ferrera (2005) suggest employing person-centered planning (PCP), which promotes student and family involvement and self-determination, to have more collaboration in transition planning. PCPs and family-centered planning are described in more detail in Chapter 10.

Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices 37

student study teams

The student study team (SST) is essentially a general education (Tier 2) procedure to assist stu- dents in solving academic and behavior problems that arise even with good instruction and class- room management (Burns, Wiley, & Viglietta, 2008; Safran & Safran, 1996). Within an MTSS, an SST would be held after universal interventions have been attempted and failed.

Activity 2.12

Consultation can be very formal (e.g., IEP that involves legal counsel) or informal (e.g., a quick hallway discussion with a colleague

between passing periods). Discuss some of the pros and cons to both formal and informal consultation.

sst MeMBeRs The members of an SST are usually consists the referring teacher; general and special education teachers; administrators; support service providers (school counselor, school psychologists, nurse, etc.); the parents; and, in some cases, the student. Because of a long-standing tendency to view the SST meeting as a procedural necessity to qualify a student for special education ser- vices, it may be wise to limit special education staff involvement until the purpose of the team is clearly established as being to develop interventions, not to begin the special education eligibility process (Powers, 2001). Given the large caseloads of many support service providers, it is sug- gested that specialists attend only when the referral relates to their particular area of expertise. Thus, the nurse would attend SSTs only when there is a health concern, and the speech patholo- gist would assist when a language or articulation problem appears evident. Of course, any of the support service providers should attend and perhaps even facilitate the SST if they have expertise in problem-solving consultation. For secondary students with multiple teachers, it is not always necessary to have all six or eight teachers attend. Rather, it might be more efficient to gather information from all the teachers in the form of a progress report and then invite the teachers who have the most and least success with the student to the meeting. This way, the teachers who have experienced some success can share strategies with the teacher(s) who is(are) struggling to meet the student’s needs. Parental participation in the SST is essential. Parents can provide informa- tion that no one else can provide about the student. They can also be part of the interventions. To increase parental participation, the school consultant can contact the parents by phone or e-mail to prepare them for the meeting by explaining the purpose of the meeting and what it will look like. One school prepared a video and posted it on video for parents to watch (see https:// We found that having the teacher, rather than the consultant, make the initial contact by inviting the parents to the SST was associated with improved parental attendance at the SST (Powers, 2001).

The makeup of an SST varies considerably across districts, as do the power relationships of members. Designated school consultants need to study the dynamics of these teams (as well as IEP teams) to be as effective as possible. The SST member roles include a facilitator or leader (who may or may not be a school administrator), a recorder (someone assigned to keep notes on the procedures), the referring teacher(s), and a timekeeper. A survey of SST members across Ohio found that school psychologists (24%) led the team most often, followed by the principal (18%) and a rotating chair (14%; McNamara, Rashee, & Delamatre, 2008).

PuRPose of the student study teAM SSTs are defined differently throughout the country. There is no one format or approach that defines the activities of these teams. Indeed, they can have different approaches and styles in different schools within a district. What they do share is a common philosophy and common purposes: to work together to solve learning and behavior/adjustment problems of students, and to try to solve these problems within the context of general education. SSTs have general educa- tion functions and are intended primarily to be sources of assistance for general education teach- ers. The SSTs should have at least the following goals:

38 Chapter 2 • Consultation Models and Professional Practices

1. Help students at risk for school failure and their teachers by providing alternatives in terms of teaching and behavior management strategies.

2. Curb learning and behavioral problems and unnecessary placement in special education. 3. Operationalize and prioritize the target behavior, including measuring baseline (preinter-

vention levels), and set a goal for short-term (6 to 8 weeks) improvement. 4. Redirect resources through teamwork and brainstorming to apply evidence-based interven-

tions and to monitor progress toward the goal. 5. From an administrative standpoint, provide a method for tracking cases, coordinating

services, collecting treatment fidelity, and meeting again to determine the outcome.

To meet these goals, the SST usually meets on a weekly basis for about 25 minutes (longer if translation to a second language is needed). Students referred to SST, either prior to or following referral to a school-based consultant, are considered to have achievement or social-personal-behavioral issues that are serious enough to prompt the teacher to seek assistance from others. The purpose of the SST is to review the teacher’s or parent’s con- cerns about a student, to study the classroom or wider school issues associated with the student’s difficulties, and to recommend specific interventions designed to ameliorate the difficulties. Ideally, the SST will follow the problem-solving consultation steps detailed in Chapter 3. Only after a serious effort is made to deal with the problems at the general edu- cation classroom level, including robust, targeted, and monitored interventions, should the SST consider a referral for assessment for possible special education consideration. Within an MTSS service delivery model, students are referred to the SST only after universal interventions, including high-quality and differentiated instruction, have failed to produce the desired results.

School consultants need to be aware of the dynamics of multidisciplinary teams in the schools. Most teams take their job seriously and try to develop interventions that are appropri- ate for the general education setting. Sometimes team members have agendas that, for various reasons, may not be in the best interest of the referred student. Part of the consultant’s job is to keep the meeting focused on the relevant facts and the available data by following the problem- solving consultation process. Kovaleski, Gickling, Morrow, and Swank (1999) found SSTs that failed to implement the problem-solving practices fully were no more successful at increasing students’ academic learning time than schools that had no such team in place; conversely, teams that fully engaged in the instructional-consultation-team model produced significantly greater effects in terms of student academic learning time. In some schools, there may be a feeling that if the teacher has referred a student, that is reason enough to go immediately to the assessment for special education phase. If this happens, the case takes on a whole new perspec- tive: Does the student have a disability that meets federal and state criteria? Unfortunately, this new emphasis may detract from the efforts of educators to continue to assist the student in general education. Because students who are assessed for special education and related services are usually found to be eligible for such services (Ysseldyke, Vanderwood, & Shriner, 1997), some teachers may assume that a student will soon be receiving special education services once a referral for assessment is made and may discontinue general education interventions for that student.

Despite the best intentions, a plan developed by the SST will fail on occasion. The SST needs to determine whether to revise and retry an intervention package or to refer the student for a special education assessment. The SST will need to consider whether the interventions were sufficiently robust and intense to suggest general education alone cannot meet the student’s needs. In the case of academic deficits, these modifications should include providing supplemental instruction that is more targeted (focused on a narrow set of specific skills) and explicit (teacher- centered), and in a smaller grouping (to allow for higher response rate and corrective feedback), than is common instructional or classroom management practices. Documentation should include the frequency and duration of this supplemental instruction as well as how well it adhered to a plan based on the student’s individualized needs and evidence-based practices (i.e., intervention integrity). The student’s response in terms of progress-monitoring data should be analyzed. These and other concepts are discussed in detail in Chapter 3. When a teacher or par- ent makes a referral to the SST, what he or she typically really wants is assistance so that he or she can keep the student in the general education program. In fact, a survey of 123 educators

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