Tips for Drafting IEPs

Tips for Drafting IEPs

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Often, the beginning of the school year means drafting new Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals or updating older ones. This post is dedicated to tips on how you can get your students’ IEPs to best reflect their highest priority needs and make clinical gains this school year.

Write a Specific IEP

As you’re probably aware, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legal document. What’s included in it and signed by school district officials, therapists and parents binds the school district to providing services to meet the listed goals. If you strongly believe, in your informed clinical opinion as per a comprehensive evaluation, that a child would benefit from a particular methodology, it would be a good idea to include the specific name of that methodology. In pragmatics, this could include principles of social thinking; in auditory processing disorders, this could include dedicated software applications; in articulation, this could include PROMPT or tactile biofeedback (e.g. Speech Buddies Tools). Whatever methodology you include in an IEP goals list should be supported in the research literature and be drawn from a clear therapeutic rationale, based on your comprehensive assessment or extensive experience with that child.

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Coordinate with Other Child Therapy Services

Because a child’s therapy services are part of a more holistic plan for his or her educational development, it’s important to coordinate goal drafting, especially those highest priority goals, with other members of that child’s team: other therapists, teachers and even parents. In other words, a particular goal or set of goals may, from a purely say language development standpoint, be most urgent. However, considering the current and future demands of a child’s curriculum, another set of goals may be more pressing. For Example, Rory at age 7 could be notably delayed in acquiring those frequently used irregular past tense verbs. While this could be the most obviously delayed part of his profile, his ELA teacher has told you that the coming semester will place a strong burden on his narrative skills. In order to parallel your work with that of the classroom, it may be indicated to modify your goals so Rory can get the most out of the coming unit in his ELA class. This I’ve found to be especially important when working with middle schoolers and high schoolers; they tend to not want speech and language services to be removed from their other academic work. It’s important that we respond to the student’s current educational life.

Errors in IEPs

I cannot tell you how often I’ve reviewed IEP goals and seen blatant errors. I’ve seen cases where the name on the front page of the IEP didn’t match the name listed on the IEP goals; I’ve seen grammatical gender errors (he vs she, etc.) and goals from other disciplines (e.g. OT and counseling and even remedial academic domains) included in the areas meant for speech and language goals. I’ve seen goals that simply make no sense in the context of a child’s true needs. Make sure you a give any IEP you are writing a thorough once-over before drafting your own goals. and if you’re reviewing an IEP written by another therapist and the content of the goals simply doesn’t match the needs of that child, consider amending the IEP.

I don’t need to tell you that the IEP is our principal guiding document. Given its importance, the above tips can provide act as a useful guide for how to maximize the effectiveness of an IEP. We at Speech Buddies wish you the best of luck as we all together embark on another great school year.

I Think My Child Needs Speech Therapy – What Now?!

I Think My Child Needs Speech Therapy – What Now?!

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This question, and its associated anxiety, can dawn on any parent at any stage in their child’s development. In fact, approximately 10% of school-age children in the United States are living with some form of a communication challenge. Even though communication challenges are quite common, it can be difficult and confusing to navigate the journey from the first moment of concern to a child finally receiving the appropriate services. This guide aims to provide you with some of the very first steps about whom, besides yourself, shares responsibility for setting your child on track for success — especially when you’re realizing, “I think my child needs speech therapy!”

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Language-Based Learning Disability: Games to Improve Language Skills

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A child who is diagnosed with a language-based learning disability can face a variety of challenges, especially in school. There are countless types of therapies used and directions taken by SLPs, in special education classrooms, and by teachers who adjust curriculum to meet these children’s needs. Help keep some of the fun in therapy and learning new skills by trying some of these games and activities.
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The 7 Most Important Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in School

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If you have a child with a speech or communication disorder, one of the best things you can do is work with the school to become a partner for your child’s future. When you consider yourself as a teammate for your child’s teachers, you can help your child succeed in school – and in life. Continue reading

Technology Benefits Special Education Classrooms – And Beyond

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Meet them where they are – and help them use technology to make the most of their abilities and build their futures. This attitude is what many special education teachers are finding to be successful with their students. Over the last decade a positive change has been occurring that teachers and students are seeing firsthand and research is supporting – that technology benefits special education classrooms in many ways for students who have various challenges. Continue reading

Help! My Child Doesn’t Qualify for Speech Therapy in School

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When Speech Therapy in School isn't An Option

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What Can I Do To Help My Child?

It can be one of the most frustrating things that a parent can face – believing that his or her child needs help and not knowing how to provide it. If your child is struggling with speech or communication issues but the school has said he or she doesn’t qualify for speech therapy at school, there are still several options you can use to help your child. Other options within the school, private SLPs, at-home activities, and other professional services can all be of help to your child’s communication development. Continue reading

What You Need to Know If Your Child is Starting Speech Therapy – Answers to 5 Common Questions

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If your child is starting speech therapy at school for the first time this year there are likely a lot of questions competing for time in your head. Even though it might feel like you are alone on this journey, the good news is that you’re not the first parent to feel this and there are people there to help you and your child. Start with these common questions that parents like you might be asking. Continue reading

I Think My Child Needs Speech Therapy – The 5 Most Important Steps You’ll Need To Take

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 I think my child needs speech therapy – what do I do?

It’s the start of another school year and maybe you’ve got that nagging feeling in your gut: I think my child needs speech therapy. Just because no one else has approached you about this doesn’t mean that you are alone in your thoughts or that you should ignore this parental instinct. If you think your child needs speech therapy there are many steps you can take to work with your child’s pediatrician and school officials. Continue reading

Make S.M.A.R.T. Speech Therapy Goals

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If you’re the parent of a child in speech therapy, you might sometimes feel like you’re up against a wall of resistance. Maybe there are unknowns when it comes to your child’s speech disorder, and your child might be frustrated with the speech therapy routine or homework. As adults it is easier to see the big picture – that improved communication skills are so valuable for the future and worth the effort. For kids, however, speech therapy can be tiring, hard work, and sometimes even a source of insecurity among peers. Help your son or daughter set and reach speech therapy goals using a traditional business model – S.M.A.R.T. – and you’ll find that speech therapy might just get a little easier, and the goals a little closer. Continue reading

What Can We Expect from Speech Therapy in School?

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Special Education 101 and Speech Therapy in School

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Your child is starting speech therapy in school. But what exactly does this mean? The type of services your child will receive in school will depend on many factors. These include your child’s age, the type of speech disorder that has been diagnosed, other learning delays or disabilities, the structure of your child’s school, and more. The two basic forms of speech therapy in schools include in-class (sometimes referred to as push-in services) and separate services (sometimes also known as pull-out services). There are also other forms of assistance that speech-language pathologists can offer to your child. Continue reading