The Benefits of the Whole-Child Approach
The Whole-Child Approach is an overarching philosophy and cross-disciplinary framework. It is based on the belief that integrating all related services into a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Model is the best way to support students.
Designed for continuous improvement, the goal of this approach is to create academic equity. The framework process includes defining the problem, analyzing what’s happening, implementing a response, and evaluating whether it’s working for each student and classroom.
How the Whole-Child Approach Works With the MTSS Model
The MTSS Model is a data-driven approach to school-based interventions by supporting students through three unique tiers. In the general education setting, school administrators typically use the MTSS Model to give students struggling in subjects like reading and math extra support.
However, PTS applies it to school-based therapy and related services, like occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), speech language pathology (SLP), and more. Doing this enables more targeted student evaluations, builds capacity instead of dependency, and offers many benefits, such as:
- Reduced referrals
- Contained caseloads
- Contained program costs
- Reduced overidentification of students
- Increased efficiency of therapeutic services
In addition to reducing unnecessary special education referrals, the Whole-Child Approach and MTSS Model improve the overall quality of treatment because fewer students end up on therapy caseloads.
This frees therapists and other service providers up, so they can spend more time leading interventions and training teachers to address common issues at the classroom level. Likewise, it enables them to give the students on their caseload their full attention and the highest quality of services.
Multiple Tiers Connect Students With the Right Level of Support & Put Their Needs First
By first addressing common issues at the classroom level and triaging students who need more support, the MTSS Model acts as a functional safety net. The three academic, behavioral, and social-emotional support tiers include:
- Tier 1—Interventions provided at the general education level that supports all students.
- Tier 2—More targeted supports offered on a short-term basis in small groups using a variety of classroom-based strategies.
- Tier 3—The most intensive, individualized support and interventions available for students who are on therapy caseloads.
Creating multiple tiers gives students who are not on caseload and need a boost the support they need while keeping them in the general education environment.