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Tuesday's Tip: Smarter Goals -Measurable


Measurable and meaningful data collection must be established Identification of needs requires defined meaningful data collection that determines next steps in evaluations, research-based programing, & other areas of need. The IEP is designed in order to allow the child:

  • To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum. [34 CFR §300.320(a)(2)(i)(A)]

  • To meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability. [34 CFR §300.320(a)(2)(i)(B)].

  • To have all of the appropriate baselines determined

  • Grade level

  • Fluency

  • Rate of progress

  • The underlying skill deficit that is affected needs to be measured

  • Concept understanding

  • Independent Application

  • Quantitative or qualitative measurement methods must be clearly described

  • Environments

  • Across all environments

  • Dyad to Triad

  • Regular education environment with what supports

  • Evaluation of the need, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child’s customary/natural environments



  • Frequency of collection of data

  • Use of the how of data collection (what is actually being measured)

(Reading comprehension does not measure reading fluency)

  • Frequency

  • Documented baselines, and

  • What is considered mastery

  • It must include a description of how the child’s progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured. [34 CFR §300.320(a)(3)(i)]

  • For children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards (in addition to the annual goals), a description of benchmarks (also for alternative assessments) or short-term objectives. [34 CFR §300.320(a)(2)(ii)]

You cannot know what the educational needs are unless they are assessed.

AN ADVOCATE’S PURPOSE IS TO CREATE CHANGE BY CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEANINGFUL PROGRESS FOR STUDENTS.

Educational Need (skill set) Identification is done through:

  • Assessed skill in all areas of a category not just perceived needs

  • Defined areas of need and sub-skill sets

Areas of Need or Lack of Skill Sets include areas like:

  • Academic Skills (reading, math, spelling, writing)

  • Hyperlexia – can decode but can not comprehend


  • Assistive technology needs

  • Auditory processing

  • Behaviors

  • Perseverations

  • Ability to transition (average of 117 per day in middle school)


  • Behavioral disturbances/analysis

  • Difficulty tolerating making mistakes

  • Easily stressed due to their inflexibility.

  • Often very self-critical and unable to tolerate making mistakes

  • Can also be unaware of their own feelings

  • Repetitive non-functional behavior

  • Emotional modulation – meltdowns/ rage

  • Impulsivity


  • Cognitive flexibility - rigid thinking

  • Difficulty adapting to change or failure


  • Concept development – you end up doing by rote and can’t generalize

  • Executive function issues

  • Organizational ability

  • Memory Deficits

  • Rote memory does not equal comprehension

  • Poor concentration and sustained attention - often off task and distractible

  • Problem-solving

  • Processing fluency

  • Proficient in knowledge of facts yet demonstrate relative weaknesses in comprehension and abstract thought


  • Foundational Preschool and Developmental Skills

  • Functional skills

  • Fluency across environments


  • Gross and fine motor (physical ability/endurance)

  • Generalization of skills across settings


Learning something in one situation doesn't automatically mean remembering or generalizing the learning to new situations.

  • Intellectual (IQ)

  • ID

  • Gifted

  • Twice-exceptional

  • Language ability

  • Expressive

  • Receptive

  • Articulation

  • Pragmatic Language – non-verbal

  • Communicative intent – across environments!

  • Theory of mind - perspective-taking

  • Inferences and judgments

  • 90% of communication is non-verbal

  • Semantics (not being able to recognize multiple meanings)

  • Prosody (the pitch, stress, rhythm & intent of speech)


  • Mental health needs

  • Low self-esteem

  • Depression (60-80%, spiking in teens with AS)

  • Often don’t have the emotional resources to cope with the demands of the classroom.

  • Low self-esteem

  • Anxiety/stress – an unpredictable world


  • Other health conditions

  • Functional Vision tracking ability

  • Sensory

  • Don’t stop stimulatory behavior – we redirect it in a socially acceptable way

  • Fluorescent lights

  • Hypersensitivity to sensory input

  • Lack of self-regulatory behavior

  • Proprioceptive (where are you)

  • Tactile, Taste, Sight, Hearing, Smell

  • Too much noise

  • Vestibular (balance)


  • Social Cognition /Social Skills including

  • Abnormal body posture

  • Are extremely egocentric

  • Difficulty initiating and terminating conversations

  • Difficulty switching to another topic.

  • Difficulty understanding the rules of social interaction

  • Difficulty understanding unwritten rules

  • Facial expressions interpret

  • Failure to understand emotions, gestures

  • Have difficulty with empathy,

  • Interpersonal relationships

  • Interprets literally

  • Lack of understanding of social customs

  • Lacks tact

  • Make irrelevant comments

  • May be naive

  • Misinterpret social cues

  • Narrow topic usage

  • Pedantic (overly formal)

  • Personal space - standing too close

  • Poor generalization across environments

  • Problems with social distance

  • Ridged literal communication – black and white

  • Don’t follow the rules of conversation

  • Socially awkward

  • Staring

  • Talk at people instead of to them

  • Talk incessantly about a favorite subject

  • Talk over the speech of others

  • Understanding intent and environment

  • Understanding jokes

  • Use monotone or stilted, unnatural tone of voice




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