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IEP - the ins and outs

IEP, as mandated by Federal Law, can be an effective tool to help students with special needs, if the goals and objectives are designed properly and the teaching procedures effective. Otherwise, it could be a mere rubber-stamping document for the school to satisfy the mandate and get Fed funding. At its worst, an inappropriate IEP gives the superficial satisfaction that "My child is getting special services and therapies" but actually hampers learning.

Some important points to consider for a good IEP :

1. It cannot be based on the child’s diagnostic labels like ADD, ADHD, Autism, Conduct Disorder, LD, Dyslexia, Oppositional Disorder, Auditory
Processing Problems, Visual Processing Problems, etc., as these labels are imprecise and do not prescribe standard, effective treatments;

2. Rather, the goals and objectives must be based on functional analysis of the child’s particular needs;

3. The goals and objectives must be quantitatively defined - no broad generalizations and vague jargons thus,

--no on " The student will learn to read a story and answer questions at the 5th grade level", but
on "The student will read and comprehend 3 stories of at least 25 sentences or 1-˝ pages each, selected from the _____ Reader for 5th grade,
--no on "Student will learn to use proper pronouns and word fluency in a conversation." but
--yes on "Student will use ‘it‘, ‘them’, ’they’ and 'there’ correctly in a 10-minute conversation describing an event"

4. The treatment/training procedures must be clearly prescribed and ideally, replicable by other professionals, thus,
--no on "Therapist prescribed treatment" or "one- to-one intensive training",but
--yes on "Therapist will present 50 discrete trials in each session using five double-syllable words, reinforce and praise all correct responses and
model each incorrect response three times
."); and

5. The mastery criterion for each objective must be measurable and objectively described, thus
--no on "Therapist-defined criterion" or "Student will answer questions on the story correctly.", but
on "Student will answer at least 4/5 questions correctly for each story with at least two complete sentences for each question."


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