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As we close out the year, I wanted to highlight my most popular episode. This week, I’m re-sharing Episode 3, where I break down IEPs and discuss everything that goes into creating goals in speech therapy for autistic learners.

Setting IEP goals for autistic learners can be incredibly difficult, especially when you’re working with emerging communicators. At the beginning of my career, assessment tools were limited and I found out along the way the goals I set for my students were unclear and hard to measure. Assessment, collaboration and functional goals are all important pieces of the puzzle for setting up your student and the therapy for success. 

Standardized tests are commonly used in the classroom, but they are so tricky because they often do not give us the snapshot of skills we need for autistic learners. Assessment tools I recommend if you have access are the VB-MAPP and the Functional Communication Profile. If you don’t yet have access or need to start on a more basic level, I like to look for specific early learner skills. These are those small basic skills that lead to learning bigger skills and tasks. These are measurable communication skills that start in even really young learners such as labeling, verbal imitation, intraverbal skills like filling in the blank, matching, and group listening.  

When you have brought all the pieces together, it’s time to set the vision for their communication programming. I have 5 questions for you to ask as a part of my practical and systematic approach to establishing functional goals for your autistic learner. 

  • What behavior are we targeting?
  • Is it appropriate for our client?
  • How is this goal specific?
  • Is the goal observable?
  • What does mastery look like?

No matter the skill level, the age, or the context of your therapy practice, this approach will help you consider all the important pieces behind each goal. If you’re a parent, this can help you know what questions to ask your therapist and IEP team to ensure the right goals are being observed and measured for your child. As a part of this episode, I have included a downloadable link for my IEP Goal Bank, be sure to check it out as you work with your team and parents to set specific, actionable IEP goals for your autistic learners.

What's Inside:

  • Strategies for embedding parents’ concerns into their child’s IEP goals.
  • Examples of what a specific, observable goal looks like in the classroom.
  • My recommendation for assessment tools for autistic learners with limited or emerging communication.
  • What skills should we be looking at in our autistic learners?

Mentioned In This Episode

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