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3 Tips to Better Individualized Education Programs

Attorneys at Law Timlin & Rye Dec. 11, 2014

Your child’s Individualized Education Program’s (IEP) purpose is to provide educational services to put your child in a similar educational position as his/her peers without an IEP. A key component in this process is formulating the IEP goal or goals.

The law says that your child is entitled to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Your child has an identified disability, and so the school/school district must provide an IEP in order to ensure your child is receiving a FAPE. Poorly written IEP goals will not benefit your child. So it’s imperative this element is handled properly to help your child with their education.

So what do well-written IEP goals need to look like to benefit your child?

First, the Goals Need to Be Specific.

Remember that your child had a battery of assessments to determine their disability. Those assessments identified specific areas where your child is struggling educationally because of the disability.

IEP goals must be specific to the area of need. It is not enough to say, “Suzie will improve in reading.” Where does Suzie struggle in reading? Is it comprehension, word ordering, word association? Use your child’s assessments to specifically design IEP goals around area of need.

Having goals that say something like, “Suzie will write a sentence with the correct word order on four out of every five attempts,” is specific and gives details needed to learn.

Second, IEP Goals Need to Be Measurable.

How are you going to know that Suzie is improving, that Suzie is benefitting from her education? If you have nothing to measure, you will not know whether the services provided in her IEP are working. “Suzie will improve her reading comprehension,” is not enough. There is nothing to measure.

Something like, “Suzie will read and comprehend one full paragraph 80% of the time,” is something that can be documented to show whether Suzie is improving in reading comprehension. If the goals are measurable, and Suzie does not meet the goal, you will know that changes need to be in the services and accommodations.

Third, IEP Goals Need to Contain a Specific Time Period.

IEP goals are required to be reviewed at least annually, which means that your child generally has one school year to attain those goals. If the goals do not contain a specific time period, they can simply be rolled over into the school year after school year with no changes. If the goals remain the same, your child is not likely getting closer to the educational position of kids without an IEP. The time frames in goals can either be by grade level or calendar time.

For example, “Suzie will read and comprehend the plot, as measured by accurate verbal discussion, of fourth-grade level books at least 85% of the time.” Putting the time period in the goal lets you know if the services provid are adequate to allow your child to improve and receive a FAPE.

Use these three tips to write better IEP goals for your child.  Remember that school districts are not inclined to want to provide more services.  If you have specific, measurable, and set time period goals, you can provide the district with data on whether the services are benefitting your childed.  If not, you will qualify for more services.

If you are struggling with your child’s IEP or the services the district wants to provide, please contact our office for a free consultation.  We can help . Call us to set an appointment or email us 

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