An individual educational plan or IEP is a document for students of all ages who can’t follow the pre-set curriculum. Its purpose is to prepare students for classes, help them acquire the necessary skills, and get them ready for an independent life.
A team of educators and parents can rely on instructions from an IEP goal bank, where measurable goals are stated. I’ll explain how these banks can help educators, some examples of IEPs, and more in this post!
How an IEP Goal Bank Can Help Educators
Well-developed IEPs maximize students’ chances to achieve schooling goals and help educators stay on track with the plan. It’s always best to create an individual plan for every student, as each of them has different needs, interests, and abilities. And taking a peek at the IEP goal bank can be a good starting point.
Generate Ideas for IEP Goals
Structuring IEP goals for individual students can be tricky. Considering that parents and educators participate in this, coordinating their opinions to work in the best interest of the child/teen is a big challenge.
IEP goal banks offer a large number of already structured goals according to the SMART method. These goals are divided into categories, and each goal can be additionally adapted to students’ needs.
What Is the SMART Method?
The structure of goals in IEP will depend on the student for whom it’s intended. Still, there’s a general set of rules that educators should adhere to when setting these goals, known by the acronym SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant (or realistic), and time-constrained.
Specific: IEP goals should be detailed enough to relate to a specific student and include a specific set of actions. That leaves no room for speculation and different interpretations of IEP.
Measurable: Goals should have criteria based on which the student’s progress will be measured during IEP implementation. These criteria should be expressed in percentage or as ‘in X out of Y’ and put in a specific setting where they can be measured at any moment.
Achievable: Achievable goals consider the student’s abilities, needs, and limitations, and they’re adapted to the perceived state, leaving room for tolerable errors.
Relevant: Goals should be set by priorities, including all parties that participate in IEP implementation.
Time-Constrained: Realistic goals should be set in a realistic period. Each goal comes with a time frame during which it should be achieved or, at least, some progress made.
Find Commonalities for Easier Transition
IEP goal banks can be of great help to educators, especially when they get a new student or come to a new work environment that uses a slightly different framework.
In the example of a new student, IEP goal banks provided by parents and previous educators can help new educators get into the meat of the matter. By checking out the bank, they can figure out the previous working method and adapt their approach to it, keeping the student’s best interest in mind.
Improve Working Method
In addition to giving inspiration for goal designing, IEP goal banks can provide educators with ideas on how to improve their work. By accessing a large number of pre-set goals, they can see some procedures, techniques, and measuring methods they can implement into their work.
Examples of IEP Goal Bank for Particular Areas
I’ll explain the use of the IEP goal bank in an example for Dominick, a second-grade student. These are goals that educators can use while working on the student’s writing expression, behavior, and social skills an average second-grader should have.
IEP Goal Bank for Writing
By May 1st, Dominick will make necessary capitalization corrections in sentences where incorrectly capitalized names of people and geographic features are given, with an accuracy of 75% in eight out of ten consecutive trials.
By May 10th, Dominick will make up to four sentences using subjects and predicates with proper syntax and combine them into meaningful content, in 75% of cases, as measured by observation.
By the end of the second semester, when given a writing assignment, Dominick will write two paragraphs with complete sentences using appropriate vocabulary, capitalization, and punctuation marks, with no more than five errors, in four out of five cases, as measured by observation.
IEP Goal Bank for Focus on Tasks
By May 1st, when given a task, Dominick will start working on it within two minutes with no more than 2 verbal prompts in 8 out of 10 cases, as measured by observation.
By May 15th, when given a task, Dominick will start working on it within one minute with no more than one verbal prompt in 8 out of 10 cases, as measured by observation.
Dominick will ask and take a break when he needs it, using appropriate language and gestures, and get back to the task independently after the break, in 8 out of 10 cases over four consecutive weeks, as measured by observation.
IEP Goal Bank for Social Skills
In the classroom setting, Dominick will greet peers and initiate a conversation with them in 6 out of 8 consecutive cases for three consecutive weeks.
During conflict situations with peers, Dominick will apply problem-solving methods without aggression and insulting words, without the teacher’s help in 75% of cases, over three consecutive weeks.
When given a group assignment, Dominick will be assertive and offer help to peers after sensing the need while taking care of his interest in 4 out of 5 consecutive cases during two weeks.
Goals in IEP goal banks follow current practices and standards and are always up-to-date, so educators implement the best methods into their work.
It’ll be easier for teachers to follow multiple students with similar IEP goals and even create groups where these students will work together toward their IEP goals.
With everything in one place, educators can stay organized and on top of their IEPs for every student. This will also ease communication between all parties involved.
No excessive paperwork.
The IEP goal bank is of great help for educators to work in the student’s best interest. It helps them stay organized and up-to-date with the newest methods used in IEPs so that students can get the most benefits from these programs.
In this post you will learn about executive functioning IEP goals and strategies to help achieve those goals.
An IEP is more than just a written legal document (or “plan”). It’s a map that lays out the program of special education instruction, supports, and services kids need to make progress and thrive in school.
IEPs are covered by special education law, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). They’re created for eligible kids who attend public school, which includes charter schools.
IEP, or Individualized Education Program, is a U.S. plan created with consideration for students with executive functioning disabilities to ensure that they receive adequate education that accommodates any challenges they face in their daily life or studies. Goals, called executive functioning goals, are created to address these difficulties.
Understanding what executive functioning disabilities are, how they impact daily life, and the efforts made toward minimizing the said impacts is the best way to help. Read on to learn more!
What is Executive Functioning?
Look at executive functioning as the brain’s CEO that manages and directs all our daily mental processes. Put simply, they’re a set of mental processes that help us plan, organize, and remember information to navigate our lives effectively and achieve our goals. You can read more about it here.
The Importance of Executive Functioning
The mental processes labeled “executive functioning” play a critical role in helping us adjust our behaviors to navigate complex tasks and social situations. They allow us to succeed in school through planning, focusing, and studying. They also help us manage our finances and maintain healthy relationships.
While some individuals may have normal or excellent executive functioning skills, people with disabilities may struggle with functional skills, such as planning and organizing, and experience difficulties in academic and social situations. To overcome these challenges, they need special education catered to their needs, which brings us to IEPs.
What Are IEPs?
IEPs outline the specific needs of an individual struggling with executive functioning processes and the accommodations and services they need to achieve their educational goals. They’re created in collaboration with parents and field professionals after evaluating the individual’s performances to develop goals and objectives that meet their unique needs.
Understanding Executive Functioning IEP Goals
Executive functioning IEP goals are objectives designed to enhance an individual’s executive functioning skills, which can be broad or limited. For example, an individual may only need help with their planning or time management skills, while another may struggle with several executive functions.
Executive functioning skills can be grouped into different categories to help IEP goal creators target precise areas an individual is lacking. These categories include, but aren’t limited to:
Let’s give you some IEP goal examples for some of these categories.
To organize their belongings and meet assignment deadlines’ better, the student will learn how to efficiently use a combination of organizational systems, including folders and planners, by the end of the term.
To enhance their ability to prioritize and plan tasks to meet deadlines, the student will learn how to break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable assignments and prioritize them based on importance by the end of the term.
To complete tasks on time, the student will learn how to properly estimate the time needed to accomplish a task and create and follow an appropriate schedule by the end of the term.
To improve their ability to manage time better, the student will learn how to efficiently use several time-management strategies, including setting priorities, breaking down large tasks, and using reminders by the term’s end.
To improve the student’s number of independently-initiated tasks, they’ll learn how to reflect on their task initiation skills, find strategies that best meet their style, and employ them in future assignments by the end of the term.
By the end of the term, the student will learn how to initiate a specific number of tasks independently, without procrastination or prompting from adults, and demonstrate this skill with 80% accuracy as measured by the supervising teacher and data logs.
How Are Executive Functioning Goals Determined and Developed?
The process of determining and developing EF goals is straightforward. First, an individual’s current level of EF skills is assessed through a series of examinations, including questionnaires, standardized tests, self-reports, interviews with relevant individuals, etc.
Once the assessment is finished, relevant professionals can identify executive functioning skills that the individual is lacking and then develop appropriate goals to enhance them.
What Strategies Can Help Achieve Executive Functioning IEP Goals?
There are many strategies to help make the process of achieving EF IEP goals faster. However, keep in mind that the goals and needs of each student affect the effectiveness of these strategies.
Break Tasks Down: Complex tasks can be overwhelming, so breaking them into smaller, easily-achievable steps can make them feel less daunting. It’ll also help students develop planning skills.
Use Multi-Sensory Learning Techniques: Using, for example, visual aids and movement activities can engage multiple senses and can help memory and learning.
Use Assistive Technology: Integrating assistive technology, such as voice recorders and speech-to-text software, can make learning easier.
Use Positive Reinforcement: Encouraging a student for the effort they’re making can help motivate them to work harder toward their goal. Consider verbal praise and rewards; your words matter more than you may think they do!
Allow Practice Opportunities: Providing students with opportunities to engage their executive functioning skills will help them feel more confident and comfortable and improve the said skills.
Executive functioning IEP goals are designed to assist individuals struggling with their executive functioning skills and, in turn, help them better navigate complex academic and social tasks during their daily life. If you’re looking for additional help in teaching teenagers or adults struggling with life skills, check out our Learning Life Skills For a Purpose course.
Choosing what you want to be when you grow up is confusing as you transition into adulthood, but it could be really challenging for autistic individuals.
Conceptualizing how different life skills are adjusted to new environments and applications often may not come naturally for autistic individuals. It’s could also be difficult for them to translate skills, interests, and aspirations into conceivable goals and professions.
That’s where vocational goals come in. As a special education professional, understanding the nuances of vocational goal setting and the communication around it is crucial for your success in that area.
Oftentimes, the family or caregivers of autistic teens and young adults may not be able to help or even visualize their family members entering the workforce. This can hinder their ability to support them through this transition without a game plan.
What Are Vocational Goals?
Vocational goals are goals created to help people achieve employability in careers that are consistent with their abilities, interests, limitations, and aspirations.
Vocational goals could include skills needed to find a job, maintain a job, or perform specific tasks required for the job. This could include anything from interviewing skills to following a bus schedule or practicing routine tasks. Like any other IEP goal, vocational goals must be age appropriate and measurable.
While this is a general term that can benefit everyone, it’s integral for the success of people with mental health conditions, such as autism and ADHD.
Why Are Vocational Goals Important for People on the Spectrum?
The reality of autism poses some unique challenges in setting vocational goals.
Most young adults often have inaccurate expectations of what work entails. However, young adults on the spectrum may sometimes be very competent in tasks related to the job itself and instead struggle with social interactions or expectations within the work environment.
Some simple examples of that are maintaining the appropriate tone of voice or volume, receiving instructions, and managing negative stimuli.
Vocational Goals Examples for Allistic vs. Autistic People
First I just want to clarify Allistic simply means a non autistic person.
There’s nothing inherently allistic or autistic about any given life skill. However, how tasks and goals are phrased and evaluated is often where most autistic individuals struggle.
While unclear instructions are generally problematic for most workers, their effect is almost negligible on an allistic individual compared to how that may affect someone on the spectrum.
They may also not address granular life skills that don’t come naturally to autistic individuals. So how you choose to create these goals can make or break your students’ chances.
Here are some examples where you can see how a vocational goal can be made differently:
Autistic Appropriate Goal
Manage stress from long commutes
Transfer from one bus to another safely and calmly
Be an effective member of the team
Discriminate between personal and general information.
Have constructive and healthy relationships with your coworkers
Identify the core differences between familial and work relationships.
Step-by-Step Guide for Setting Vocational Goals for Autistic Students
Setting vocational goals relies almost entirely on the age as well as the level of the individual you’re working with.
These steps will give you an overview of how to approach vocational goals for autism, but they’re far from comprehensive.
1. Identify Strengths, Weaknesses, and Limitations
The first and perhaps the most tricky step is to assess where your student is right now vs. where they need to be by the time they graduate.
This is tricky because there’s a lot more to an autistic individual’s strengths and weaknesses than what meets the eye.
For example, a child who is gifted with art may not necessarily thrive in a creative job because the motivation to create art has become external rather than a means of self-expression.
So when you examine a student’s strengths, you have to put into consideration the limitations of these strengths to achieve longevity.
The same goes for weaknesses. Just because they’re currently not comfortable dealing with strangers, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be excellent when dealing with customers after receiving adequate support and a clear-cut process for dealing with them.
This step depends on whether your student is at the appropriate age and level to discuss abstract concepts such as values, compatibility, and aspirations. If not, then you’ll need to work your way there first.
Either way, you’ll need to consult with their family to choose the direction and priorities of your plan. Is post-graduation financial support a problem? Do they have a family business that can help them transition gradually to a completely new environment?
3. Create SMART Goals
It’s hard to go wrong with SMART goals because they break down an objective into its most comprehensible format. If you can’t seem to fulfill these criteria, then this objective may be counterproductive for your student.
Specific: As mentioned above, make sure that the goal and all the exercises surrounding it have as little room as possible for the need for personal interpretation and keep it narrow to avoid overwhelming them.
Measurable: Make your goal as quantifiable as possible. Create a small checklist of all the requirements for a given task to be considered a success.
Attainable: Make sure each goal is a gradual progression from where your student’s life skills are at now.
Relevant: Hone in on the most crucial skills before refining the details. For example, the ability to receive criticism is of secondary importance when your student isn’t yet able to receive instructions.
Time-bound: Finally, set the frequency with which you’ll be practicing and assessing this life skill so that you’ll build on your progress without pressuring your student beyond their capacity.
Vocational Goal Topics
Career exploration: Assist the student in exploring various career options and identifying areas of interest and strength. This may include informational interviews, job shadowing, and career assessments.
Job readiness skills: Help the student develop job readiness skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, time management, and organizational skills.
Vocational training: Provide the student with vocational training to develop specific skills required in a particular occupation or industry, such as welding, nursing, or graphic design.
Internships and work-based learning: Facilitate opportunities for the student to participate in internships, work-based learning experiences, or apprenticeships to develop practical skills and gain work experience.
Job placement: Assist the student in finding and securing employment in a specific industry or occupation.
Accommodations and supports: Identify and provide accommodations and supports to the student that will enable them to be successful in the workplace, such as assistive technology, job coaching, or specialized training.
Career advancement: Support the student in developing a career plan that includes goals for career advancement, such as earning promotions, additional certifications or degrees, or transitioning to a different career.
Self-advocacy: Help the student develop self-advocacy skills that will enable them to communicate effectively with employers and colleagues, request accommodations or modifications as needed, and navigate workplace challenges.
These are just a few examples of vocational goal topics that could be included in an IEP. The specific goals and objectives will depend on the student's individual needs, strengths, interests, and career aspirations.
Vocational Goals Examples with Job Tasks
It is important to note that job tasks for special education students should be individualized to the student's strengths, interests, and abilities, and should be based on the goals outlined in their Individualized Education Program (IEP). However, here are some examples of job tasks that may be appropriate for special education students:
Sorting and organizing materials: This may include sorting files, paperwork, or other materials in an office setting, or organizing inventory in a retail or warehouse setting.
Cleaning and maintenance: This may include cleaning tables and surfaces, sweeping or mopping floors, or performing basic maintenance tasks such as changing light bulbs or restocking supplies.
Assisting customers or clients: This may include greeting customers, answering basic questions, or providing basic customer service in a retail or service setting.
Food preparation and service: This may include preparing simple meals or snacks, serving food to customers or clients, or cleaning up after meals.
Data entry or basic computer tasks: This may include entering data into a computer system, typing up documents or reports, or performing other basic computer tasks.
Packaging and assembly: This may include packaging products or components, assembling products or parts, or performing quality control checks on products.
Landscaping or groundskeeping: This may include planting and maintaining gardens, mowing lawns, or performing other basic landscaping tasks.
Basic office tasks: This may include answering phones, filing paperwork, or performing other basic tasks in an office setting.
Personal information: This could include the ability to share personal information appropriately such as writing down name, address, phone number, emergency contact, etc.
Again, it is important to individualize job tasks for each special education student based on their needs and goals. These are just some examples of tasks that may be appropriate for some students.
Now I want to break these goals ideas down even farther so you can see the specific skill areas you can work towards.
Sorting and Organizing Materials
Sort sizes of things
Sort colors of things
Read labels and put things back where they belong
knows how to put away dishes
organize food items in a pantry/cupboard
Cleaning and Maintenance
Wipe down the counter/table
throwing away/sorting trash/recyclables
Using a hammer or screwdriver for simple fixes
wash and dry clothing
Put away cleaning supples
mop or sweep the floor
Clean up a spill on the floor
Organizing and re-stocking the supply closet or pantry
Assisting Customers or Clients
Answers the phone and can hold a conversation on the phone
Can assist someone with using keyboard/typing to answer questions
can redirect someone on the phone
Can greet someone in person or on the phone
Can answer specific questions about a specific topic (job task)
Can answer specific questions about an item of interest or non interest
Food Preparation and Service
Put away silverware
Put dishes away
Cut up fruits and vegetables
Cut up meat
prepare a simple meal
prepare a simple snack
Understands food safety
can use a microwave
can use a toaster
can use an oven
Can get a glass of water
can make a grocery list
can make a grocery budget
can put the foods away in refrigerator, freezer, or pantry
Data Entry or Basic Computer Tasks
Navigate computer browser
Understand how to use the internet
enter data into the computer program
use a computer mouse
type on a keyboard
write a word document
use a google sheets or excel document
Can type on personal information on a questionnaire
Packaging and Assembly
assemble a package of things
can follow directions of what to put together
can look at a picture and put those items together
can read instructions and follow the directions
Landscaping or Groundskeeping
can mow the grass
dig up flowers
plant a garden
Basic Office Tasks
Use a computer mouse
Type on the keyboard
Write out a list of items
Make a copy using the copier
staple items together
write a check
fill out a receipt
Writes and types name
writes and types address
writes and types phone number
knows who to contact in an emergency
knows their own allergies and medications they are taking for safety
can state their emergency contact name and phone number
Soft Skills that can be Important for a Variety of Job Tasks
Communication: The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, with colleagues, customers, and supervisors is critical.
Teamwork: Collaboration and the ability to work effectively with others is important in almost every workplace.
Problem-solving: The ability to identify, analyze, and solve problems is essential in many job roles.
Adaptability: Being able to adjust to changing circumstances and learn new skills and procedures is important in today's fast-paced work environments.
Leadership: The ability to motivate, guide, and inspire others is valued in many organizations.
Time management: Being able to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and manage time effectively is important in many job roles.
Attention to detail: Being detail-oriented and able to spot errors or inconsistencies is important in jobs where accuracy is critical.
Emotional intelligence: Understanding and managing one's own emotions, as well as recognizing and responding appropriately to the emotions of others, is important in any workplace.
Positive attitude: Maintaining a positive outlook and being enthusiastic and motivated can help one succeed in any job.
Conflict resolution: The ability to resolve conflicts or disagreements in a professional and constructive manner is important for maintaining positive relationships with colleagues and clients.
These are just a few examples of soft skills that are important for success in many different job roles. The specific skills required may vary depending on the industry, the job, and the organization.
Additional Specific Vocational Goals Examples
Identify personal strengths
Be able to answer a verbal question interview
Be able to be on time
Identify time on a daily schedule
Identifies job schedule
can ask for letters of reference
can write a resume
can identify reasonable places to work
can identify preferences/interests
can fill out a job application
These are just a few additional specific vocational goal examples for you to add to your toolbox.
As you gain more experience with setting vocational goals, you’ll get better at catering to the specific needs of each individual.
You should also set your expectations as well as those of your students and their families. Make sure to always include the student's input and needs first. Work with the student and the family together to come up with a plan to help them transition into adulthood.
Working with the school district and the student’s guardians should help you choose what independent functioning skills to add to your IEP goals. So here are some examples with various goals to help you and save you time.
Templates for IEP Goals
If your school district doesn’t specify a template for IEP goals, it could get a bit challenging to find one that’s both versatile and all-encompassing. Here are a couple I found helpful that include most parameters you should include in your goal development:
By (insert date), given (number & type of) prompts, (the student) will (accomplish goal), in (number/percentage of) trials over (number of) consecutive (days, weeks, or months) as measured by (testing methodology).
Given (accommodations, prompts), (the student) will (accomplish goal) in (conditions, setting), (to what extent) by (a certain date) as evaluated by (evaluation methodology).
Examples of Independent Functioning IEP Goals
The skills needed to live and function independently are widely varied and include many subcategories. For the sake of being thorough, I’ve divided them into goal clusters that should cover most bases and give you ideas to add more goals as you see fit.
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