Intensive Intervention: Helping Students with Learning and Behavioral Challenges

Too many students, especially those with disabilities, lack basic reading and math skills or have serious disciplinary problems in school. Many of them leave school without graduating and are either unemployed or work in low paying jobs as young adults.

In a special issue of Teaching Exceptional Children, edited by AIR's Maurice McInerney, experts from the National Center on Intensive Intervention offer educators practical suggestions to help meet the needs of students who have seemingly intractable learning and behavioral challenges. The issue features the ongoing work of the National Center on Intensive Intervention to operationalize a process to address the national need for intensive intervention. Each article provides details about academic and behavioral applications of data-based individualization.

The strong national evidence of poor learning and achievement among students with disabilities—despite ongoing state and local efforts for school reform—offers a compelling rationale for addressing the needs of students who do not adequately respond to core and supplemental interventions within a multi-tiered framework. The authors of this special issue collectively offer practical suggestions for teachers, interventionists, and other local educators interested in implementing intensive intervention, with the long-term goal of improving outcomes for this most at-risk population of students.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the TEC Special Issue on Data-Based Individualization
Louis Danielson and Celia Rosenquist

What Is Intensive Instruction and Why Is It Important?
Douglas Fuchs, Lynn S. Fuchs, and Sharon Vaughn

Data-Based Individualization in Reading: Intensifying Interventions for Students With Significant Reading Disabilities
Christopher J. Lemons, Devin M. Kearns, and Kimberly A. Davidson

Using Data-Based Individualization to Intensify Mathematics Intervention for Students With Disabilities
Sarah R. Powell and Pamela M. Stecker

Intensive Behavior Intervention: What Is It, What Is Its Evidence Base, and Why Do We Need to Implement Now?
Joseph H. Wehby and Lee Kern

Using Data to Intensify Behavioral Interventions for Individual Students
Lee Kern and Joseph H. Wehby

Building and Sustaining Complex Systems: Addressing Common Challenges to Implementing Intensive Intervention
Maurice McInerney, Rebecca O. Zumeta, Allison G. Gandhi, and Russell Gersten

To learn more about intensive intervention and data-based individualization visit the Center’s website at