IEP meetings can produce a myriad of emotions. Most parents enter meetings with feelings of anxiety, frustration, anger, uncertainty, and insecurity. As overwhelming as it may seem, you still have to advocate for your child. When the team sits down at an IEP meeting, the goal should be to include goals and objectives that are measurable and based on the child’s current level of performance. These two items are the heartbeat of the IEP and will determine instruction and the fidelity of collecting data to meet the child’s needs. The IEP is designed for the child to be independent, self-sufficient, and successful at his/her level. It should also reflect what the child needs and not what the team wants.
Goals and objectives should not be pulled from the child’s grade-level standards but should mirror their current performance level. For example, if a child is in the 3rd grade and can only read CVC words, the objective should not reflect a child reading a passage at 75 wpm with two errors when given a 3rd-grade passage. It’s unrealistic and will only frustrate the child. A more realistic objective would be, when presented with a list of CVC words with short vowel sounds, Jane/Jack will correctly read the words with 75% accuracy in 4 out of 5 trials.
The only way that your child will be successful is if their goals and objectives support their current level, will address their needs, and is written in a clear, concise, measurable language. As a parent, understand that the needs of your child will shift. Children meet their goals and objectives at different times during the school year. It’s ok to come back to the table, voice your concerns, and discuss what is or is not working for your child. Checking data and reviewing the child’s progress will give you a clear picture of where your child is performing academically. As a parent, you have the right to schedule a review to discuss the IEP, make changes where appropriate, and set goals and objectives that cater to your child’s needs.
Even though the process may seem intimidating, you know what’s best for your child. Giving them everything they need today will ensure that they will be successful in the future.