IEP Goals for Children with Autism

February 15, 2018 9:53 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Individualized Education Plans, also known as IEPs, can be confusing and overwhelming. As a parent, you may feel as though you do not have much say in the goals that are chosen for your child’s IEP.

In this post, you will learn what a well-constructed IEP goal should look like and how to advocate for your child by improving incomplete goals.

Here are some quick and easy tips to improving your child’s IEP goals.

Goals should be measurable and objective. Let’s look at the following examples.

  • Example of an incomplete goal: “Trey will like interacting with his peers.” This goal is too subjective and not measurable. The feeling of “like” cannot be measured. If you attend an IEP meeting with a goal like this, ask probing questions about how interacting with his peers will be measured. Ask the IEP team how the teacher or therapist will measure the goal and how often it will be measured. Once you identify how the goal is being observed and measured, ask that the goal be modified to reflect the objective and measurable goal.
  • Example of an improved goal: “By the end of the first semester, Trey will approach and play with his peers on 3 out of 5 attempts daily.”

Goals should be specific instead of general. Let’s look at the following examples.

  • Example of an incomplete goal: “Trey will improve in writing.” This goal is far too general. What exactly will improve in writing? Is it Trey’s handwriting, his written responses, or his journal writing? If you are in an IEP meeting and presented with a goal that is written like this, ask open-ended questions to identify what they are trying to target. Once you identify the specific behavior being targeted, ask that the goal be modified to reflect the specific goal.
  • Example of an improved goal: “By the end of the academic year, when given a prompt Trey will write a 2-paragraph response within 15 minutes.”

Goals should be realistic. Let’s look at the following examples.

  • Example of an incorrect goal: (At the beginning of the school year, Trey can read 3 words). “By the end of the first semester, Trey will read 500 first grade level words.” Given Trey’s current level, this seems like an unrealistic goal for such a short period of time. While it is great for the IEP team to have high hopes and expectations for the child, it is important that the goals remain within reach. If you are in an IEP meeting and presented with a goal that is written like this, ask questions about what a realistic rate of mastery would be. Work with the other members of the IEP team to create a more attainable, realistic goal.
  • Example of an improved goal: “By the end of the first semester, Trey will read 50 first grade level words.”

Goals should be time-specific. Let’s look at the following examples.

  • Example of an incomplete goal: “Given fifth grade reading material, Trey will read a passage of text aloud at 90 words per minute with 95% accuracy.” This goal does not state when this goal should be met. Should Trey meet this goal during the first semester, half-way through the year, or at the end of the academic year? If you are in an IEP meeting and presented with a goal that is written like this, ask questions about when your child should meet the goal by. Ask for the time-frame to be added to the goal.
  • Example of an improved goal: “Given fifth grade reading material, Trey will read a passage of text aloud at 90 words per minute with 95% accuracy by the end of the academic year.”

If you need any support with the IEP process, BCOTB can help! Contact us at 813-814-2000.

For more help on preparing for IEP meetings, see our previous blog post here:

For more information on Individualized Education Plans, see the resources below.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/
https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/iep-guide

References
Wright, P. & Wright, P. (2006). From emotions to advocacy. Hartfield, VA: Harbor House Law Press, Inc.

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