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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.


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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