The Most Important Part of an IEP?

My principal encouraged me to think about some important educational topics as I begin my teaching career.  She asked me,  “what do I feel is the most important part of a child’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan)?  Naturally my mind went right to the student’s goals.  Without goals, there is no way to measure if specific needs are being met and it is virtually impossible to receive special services and modifications if there are no specific goals to achieve.  

I decided to take a look online to see what some other opinions are on this topic.   The Parenting Playground is a blog dedicated to parenting advice on a number of different topics from education to health to relationships.  In one of the posts, written by Molly Matava, she too claims that the most important part of a child’s IEP is establishing appropriate goals.

I like Molly’s perspective because she approaches this topic from a parenting point of view.  She even makes the terrific suggestion that parents should attended IEP meetings with their own Parent Report, which should include a child’s strengths and needs, but also go more in-depth to the side of the student educators do not typically see.  For example, how is the child behaving in social situations both in and outside the home?  Is the child struggling with homework on a daily basis, and how long does work take to complete?  In what ways does your child learn best?

Although her advice is geared towards parents, it really gets me thinking that it is equally as important for educators to also think beyond a student’s strengths and needs when developing student goals.  It is critical that we take into consideration the student’s learning styles, social and emotional behaviors, likes, and dislikes, etc.  In order to meet the needs of the child completely and develop a solid IEP, we must create and execute solid goals that are specific and individualized to each child, just as the “IEP” instructs us to do.  To take a closer look at the blog post, and Molly’s S.M.A.R.T. goals acronym, click here.

Ms. Vince

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