Goals. Perhaps the single most important aspect of an IEP, but often, the portion that misses the mark to the greatest extent. While I hope you're learning a ton from IEP Guru, if nothing else, please hear this:
You need to make sure that your child's IEP goals are good.
Teaching you how to evaluate whether your child has good goals requires more space than this one blog (but don't worry, that's available in our e-course!), but here's where you can start:
Good goals are 1) focused on the skills or behaviors your child needs to develop in order to be successful and 2) are written appropriately.
The first step in writing good goals is to figure out which goal categories are most important for your child: Academic (Math, Reading, Writing), Social/Emotional, Vocational or Pre-Vocational, Transition, Fine or Gross Motor, Communication...where does your child struggle the most, and/or where will his or her current deficits be the most hindering if not addressed? Often it's not realistic or reasonable to address all areas of need, so start with those that are most pressing.
Second, look at the goals themselves. Are they clear? Sometimes we'll see goals like, "Emily will show progress in math according to her ability level." This is a BAD GOAL. First, what does "show progress" mean?
In what area of math?
How much progress will she show?
How will she demonstrate that progress?
When and how is the progress going to be evaluated?
A better goal would be, "Emily will be able to add two-digit integers, given one verbal or visual prompt, with 80% accuracy in at least 4 out of 5 trials over the course of the semester."
In addition, you need to pay attention to the language of goals across the IEP. Even if a goal seems like it's good (it is relatively specific, it includes numbers or percentages), it should not look like every other goal on the IEP with just the task swapped out. This is very common but still a no-no. Different goal areas require different skills, and therefore should utilize different tools, times frames, and strategies in order to be measured appropriately. Generic goals are not good goals.
Want sample goals and an equation for evaluating if your child's current goals are good (and how to make them better)? The IEP Guru Digital Course has everything you need to get on the path to better goals!