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What Does an Intervention Specialist Do?

Many people think an intervention specialist is someone who helps people with addictions seek treatment. While that is one kind of intervention specialist, there is another who works with struggling learners in special education.

Types of Intervention Specialists in Special Education

Intervention specialists can be found in schools, healthcare organizations, and local and state government agencies. Their roles can be similar to those in social work, as they manage multiple cases, partner with agencies, advocate for individual children, and attend relevant meetings regarding those children’s services and progress.

They may travel to meet with the child at home or school, and they may work in an office or healthcare setting.

Responsibilities of an intervention specialist can include the following:

  • Evaluating children.
  • Creating individual development plans.
  • Teaching parents how to work with the child.
  • Working with children one on one.

The special education intervention specialist monitors progress using quantitative and qualitative metrics, provides specialized instruction, and participates in meetings regarding the student’s plan and progress as part of the intervention process. The specialist in the Effective Practices section of Missouri’s Office of Special Education coordinates with state and local agencies as well as school districts to set up special education services to the student between the ages of three and 21.

Another type of intervention specialist focuses on early childhood intervention (ECI), which targets children from birth to three years old. These children tend to have severe cognitive, behavioral, communication, or physical delays or disabilities. Or they may be at a high risk for child abuse or neglect. The ECI works with these at-risk children and their families to provide them with the support and resources they need to give the child the best chance in life.

The Missouri First Steps Program offers the services, resources and support families need to raise a healthy, happy and successful child. This program is intended for children from birth to age three.

What Does It Take to Become a Special Education Intervention Specialist?

The job requirements differ by role and organization. This job requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Some require certification and completion of a teacher preparation program. It depends on the state where you work.

An intervention specialist may have a sub-specialty, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), speech-language or physical therapy. In some states, elementary school teachers may be able to move into intervention specialist roles by taking courses specializing in intervention.

You may find job descriptions indicating a master’s degree with a special education focus is preferred. It is possible to take a course on intervention as part of the online graduate degree program. For example, Northwest Missouri State University offers Theories and Techniques of Behavior Analysis and Intervention in its online Master of Science in Education in Special Education program.

The course covers the technical and functional understanding of applied behavior analysis. Students will also learn evidence-based behavior intervention practices.

Check with your state’s education department website to find out the requirements to become an intervention specialist. Another option is to search related jobs in the area where you wish to work and review the requirements.

Learn more about Northwest Missouri State University’s online Master of Science in Education in Special Education program.


Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education: First Steps

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education: Special Education

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