The Importance of IEP Goals for Students with Special Needs
An IEP, or individualized education program, is a written plan describing a child’s current performance and unique instructional needs to help them achieve academic success. This individualized program consists of annual goals that help ensure the child’s needs are met and that any challenges they face are appropriately addressed. But what exactly should these goals include to help them be successful?
Developing Effective IEP Goals
IEP goals are based on a student’s current knowledge and level of academic performance to establish a baseline. The purpose of these goals is to address a child’s individual challenges and help them develop the necessary skills to succeed academically and socially.
Both educators and parents will review the IEP goals annually to ensure progress is being made. Rather than placing emphasis on learning the standard academic curriculum, IEP goals should highlight the skills the student needs to develop to perform well in an educational environment.
The skills required for a child to be successful in the classroom may include non-academic aspects, such as social, communication, behavioral, and organizational skills. Setting specific, measurable goals is critical to tracking the student’s progress and making proper adjustments.
Preparing For an IEP Meeting - A Parent’s Perspective
Before the IEP meeting, parents must prepare to help develop an effective plan to help their child succeed. Here are some helpful tips and considerations to ensure you get the most out of your child’s IEP meeting:
- Request a copy of your child’s school evaluations and proposed goals, objectives, and placement recommendations before the meeting. This extra insight into your child’s current academic performance will help you be better informed and able to participate.
- Write down a list of questions or specific topics you would like to address at the IEP meeting, including any academic or behavioral concerns you may have. It is essential to incorporate both the educator’s and parent’s perspectives when developing your child’s IEP goals.
- Upon receiving written notice of the meeting, you should review the list of participants to confirm all necessary school personnel and representatives will be there. You may also notify the school if you intend to bring someone to the meeting with you, such as an advocate, relative, or friend.
- Obtain copies of any early intervention evaluations, behavioral or medical records, or other relevant documentation to bring to the meeting. Creating a parent vision statement can also help school personnel and educators understand and address your child’s individual needs.
Final note to parents
Preparing before every IEP meeting will help you to develop actionable IEP goals as your child advances in their education. As a parent, you are your child’s best advocate. Do not hesitate to discuss any questions or concerns you may have before the meeting or any time an issue arises. Reaching out to other special needs parents can also help to give you extra insight into the IEP process and provide moral support.
Alpha School an private special education school in New Jersey
Our Mission at The Alpha School is to help all of our special needs students with the learning, social, language, and behavioral support they deserve. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student to becoming the best they can while providing a safe and nurturing educational environment.
We would be more than happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.370.1150, or request a tour of Alpha School of Jackson, NJ located just minutes off of Route 9 and Route 195 in Ocean County.
— John Gonzalez, Principal-Alpha School, Jackson, NJ