It has come to be my belief that IEPs are used far too infrequently. We have limited ourselves by only applying IEP’s to children. There are so many other places in life where they might be appropriate. I would like to suggest that some schools might benefit from having an IEP that sets in place goals that assist them in helping special needs children. I’m not suggesting that all schools need such a document, solely the ones who present some significant disorder or impairment that inhibits their ability to correctly and adequately teach the special education children that are a part of their community.
While the more angry and embittered in advocacy circles might argue that such schools could be qualified under the emotional disturbance category; I believe the correct qualifying condition would be to place such schools under the visually impaired category. The federal definition of “Visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.” 34 CFR 300.7 (c)(13). If a student is found to have an impairment, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team must also determine whether the student has a need for special education.
It is fairly clear that while many schools have a vision that includes proper educational services for special education, other schools seem to have a disability that prevents them from seeing that these children, given proper support, can receive an excellent education and go on to lead productive lives. Given this, as a society, we need to address these issues by providing these vision impaired schools a proper IEP.
Following are some suggestions for goals. The list is not inclusive, and I encourage readers to suggest additional goals. Since an IEP is a living document, as such proper goals are determined; we can revisit our IEP and add them.
Long Term Goal for Articulation/Intelligibility: Given a structured or unstructured educational setting, School will increase meaningful communication interactions by articulating a clear vision of inclusion for special education student within its educational setting to 100 % over 4 consecutive trials as measured by parent/advocate observation, other informal assessments and data collection.
Short term: School will use appropriate phrasing (pitch, volume, rate, stress) during IEP inclusion meetings or conversation in all trials.
Long Term Goal for Fluency Awareness/Self-monitoring: Given a structured or unstructured classroom setting, School will increase awareness of own speech production by describing characteristics of fluent and dysfluent speech by school personnel with 100% accuracy over 175 consecutive trials.
Short term objectives/benchmarks: Evaluate speech of self and others as it regards the rights of special education students.
Long Term Mathematics Goal: School will develop number sense sufficient to understand that funding special education is not encroachment,; it is dispensing dollars to help student have access to the curriculum that is offered.
Short Term Goal: As observed by parent/advocate, School will provide sufficient resources to fund an educational program meeting the needs of special education children.
SOCIAL SKILLS/PRAGMATICS GOALS
Long Term Goal for Social Skills: School will demonstrate appropriate use of conversational manners.
Short term objectives / benchmarks:
1. School will demonstrate understanding and use of appropriate tone of voice and volume with 90% accuracy given situational cues.
2. School will formulate single or multiple sentences on a given special education topic with appropriate and clear meaning and increasing accuracy.
ORGANIZATION SKILL GOALS
Long Term Goal for Organization: School: School will demonstrate ability to complete work by delivering the items agreed to in IEP’s.
Short Term Goal: Through observation by parent/advocate, all areas of IEP’s will be fully delivered without exception.
Long Term Technology Goals: School will proactively ensure that all special education students have access to the technology necessary to benefit from their educational experience.
Short Term Goal: As observed by parent/advocate, School will provide modern technology and software that is designed to meet student instructional needs in 100% of cases.
Long Term Goals for Transition: School will transition from an adversarial role in dealing with parents to one in which parents are equal partners at the table with a wide range of experience in helping their children.
Short Term Goals/Benchmarks: School will receive training to better understand the role parents within the IEP process. As measured by parents/advocates, School will demonstrate increased cooperation in IEP meetings during 5 out of 5 meetings.
Once again, I encourage readers to suggest their own goals. I hope to garner enough to create a second blog posting with the entries.
Gregory Branch, Esq. runs a solo practitioner educational law firm in Orange County, California. He is a former teacher, assistant principal, and principal of elementary, middle, and high schools. His law firm’s website is www.ocspecialedattorney.com and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, he and his wife, a school counselor/LMFT/LPCC, work to end school bullying through their organization Bully Proofed. www.bullyproofed.org Finally, his educational law and bullying blog can be found at www.ocspecialedattorney.com/blog.