Home > Topic of the Week > What are your IEP Goals?

What are your IEP Goals?

Welcome to this installment of ‘Topic of the Week.’ These topics stem from submissions from our community. If there is anything in particular that you would like to see featured, please contact us!

Are you worried about your child not making progress this summer? How will you keep your child academically engaged during summer? What are extended school year options?

What are your IEP(Individualized Education Program) goals? Do you have a particular set of social and academic goals? Have you or your child reached the goals established? What has your experience been?

*Individual Education Program is a document that spells out you or your child’s needs and how these needs will be met. The IEP describes your child’s strengths and weaknesses, sets goals and objectives, and details how these can be met. It is almost entirely related to how the needs of your child will be met within the context of the school district and within school walls.

For more information click here, to know your child’s rights.

  1. February 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

    My Grandson who has Autism is living with me temporarely and we just finished his IEP and at 5 years old he has accomplished all his goals and is now on a Maintain IEP with OT. They don’t want to stop OT all together but, they are looking to putting him in Kindergarten next year with an aid for a couple of hours a day to monitor his progress and to see if more hours will be needed for his aid or to see if he has any problems being in the mainstream. A little nervous about this but, excited at the same time. He has come so far… just worried about outburst. He doesn’t show them at school now but, he is in a class of 6. He will be put in a class of 20 something.. so worried about that because he does not do good with siblings.. and worried being around that many children all day will be too much.. But, hopeful. They do put him in the kindergarten class an hour a day now but, worried about all day.. Keep him in your thoughts that he continues to succeed! Thanks

    • Peggy
      February 28, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Wonderful to hear goals are being met!! Good Job Grandma!! Keeping him in my thoughts and you as well.

      • Patricia A Reid
        March 31, 2011 at 1:05 am

        Yes, it can be done! My son is now in K2 and transitioned from a class of 7 to 22 without any major problems. This is his 2nd year of mainstream and has made great progress. It takes him a little longer at the beginning to settle in to the routine. But each year has made great progress. His language and speech has improved immensely and I believe it was by being in a larger class and experiencing it full time. Social skills have have come a long way also. It is a big difference, make him a social story to help with the transition with pictures of him. If you need help, I can make one for you. I did for my son and talked about it often through out the summer and I let him pick out something special to do after the first day-ice scream and playing trains! Will be thinking of you and your grandson, good luck.

    • Debbie Crosby
      February 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      As a parent advocate, I think you are correct to be cautiously optimistic. Changing from such a small class size to such a large one can be too much stimuli, and if he fails to perform as expected, he could lose his mainstream access. You could try mainstreaming him in his best subject now. By choosing his best academic subject, you reduce the chance that any negative behavior displayed stems from frustration in not knowing how to do the work. then you can see how he hndles the additional stimuli, and reconvene now, and address a Behavioral Intervention Plan now, so it is in place next year, with all staff having been informed ahead of time how to deal with him. Schools often fail to discuss Least Restrictive Environment(LRE) with caregivers and parents. LRE requires schools to edcuate Special Needs Children with General Education students to the greatest degree possible, without being an interference to the education of all students. If there are outbursts, be sure you understand the function these outbursts serve. If he is overstimulated, he may be trying to escape. Removing him will only make the situation worse, the next time he faces overstimulation. Also make sure if the school want to remove him completely from mainstream, that he has actually demonstrated negative behavior in all classes. I’ve seen one outbusrst in one class take a child right back to full special education programmining. Good luck!

    • Tim Stipe
      May 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      keep working with them it is not in vain I have one fixing to go to middle school ..although it has been a road less traveled by many the ones that are on it will reap great rewards and the little bud will blossom into a great person…

    • angela
      May 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      I understand because my son went from a class of 7 in preschool to a class of 20 in Kindergarten. He did wonderful. It was actually good for him because he learned a lot just by being around other children. He is now in Highschool and is completely mainstreamed and is doing great. I pray that your grandson continues to do well.

  2. Karen Joyce
    February 28, 2011 at 9:58 am

    It has been my experience after 6 years of doing them that parents need to treat this as a college thesis. I have spent hours crafting goals for our child and had many tedious meetings with teachers/therapists. My experience has been that the schools want to help but do NOT want to take the lead. Once I realized that my husband and I were the leaders in what was the best plan for our child then the teachers/therapists became a primary support. Letting the schools develop this without the parents showing them the path most appropriate and advantageous for their child is a passive approach that will likely not pay off for their child who is desperately counting on them :-) Don’t be afraid to stand up and be your child’s advocate – take advantage of the knowledge and skills that the schools can offer but leverage them…guide them…

    • Leisl
      March 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      I agree with everything you said. I am currently studying to be certified special education, early childhood – 12 grade. Since I’m not working in the field my viewpoint is of hugs and kisses, though I know this is not the reality. As a future educator I want the parents of my students to be advocates, ask questions and challenge me. My question to you is, how does a parent, who has never written a thesis or has little education themselves, learn to write these master goals? Where should they begin and who would be a good resource in developing these goals?

  3. Anita
    February 28, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I have a child who is about to age out. I have found over the years that I had to work very hard at getting goals that are measurable! My advice is to keep on top of things and never let the system tell you what goals are important. You know best what your child will need to succeed in life not just school.
    My child attained most of these goals with a lot of hard work. The challenge for me now is finding a way to transition to the adult service world.

    • Kay
      February 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit
      If you click the link at the top of this page for just Autism Speaks various tool kits are available to download that are free. The transition tool kit may be helpful to you.

    • Peggy
      February 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

      We have what’s called Life College in MN. From what I know of it, they specialize in people, children with disabilities. Continuing education and helping with independant skills of living and job related circumstances. Not sure if it is just for Autism. We aren’t quite to that point yet, our son is only 9. Good Luck with your search, I’m sure you will find something great that your child will love! Obviously you guys aren’t afraid of the hard work aspect and have instilled that into your child. Way To GO!!

      • Anita
        March 1, 2011 at 7:12 am

        Thank you. We are visiting them in a few weeks to check out their program. It is so difficult to get any help in Illinois.
        Of course all the programs are expensive.
        You might want to start planning now.

    • Lori Morrow
      February 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      I, too, have a son about to age out. My ex-husband and I have been very fortunate to have had such a wonderful school system to have had our son enrolled. But, (and you knew there was a ‘but’, didn’t you?) my son was to be in transition the last 3 years. He’s had a case worker for 4 years (and believe me, you need one); he’s been on a waiting list for adult services for 2 years. We had an IEP at the beginning of this school year b/c the head of the coop went over my son’s case and thought maybe we’d better start the transition! There were things that needed to be discussed and brought to everybody’s attention. Unfortunately, I think there will always be ‘cracks’ that these kids will fall through, and some people are going to be dropping the ball. Like I said, we’ve been lucky, but we’ve had to get on our soap box too.

  4. February 28, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I am a father of a 12 year old son that was diagnosed in 2008 with asburger syndrome, the iep in the schools to me are a joke I have been fighting to get my son the right schooing he deserves and the teachers keep telling me that they are doing everything possiable, that the test he had at mt washington hosp. In baltimore by dr llrente does not matter that they can choose not to go by the results well now I have to pay 3,000 $ for the test to be done again out my pocket because the school iep will not accet that he has already been diagnosed since it was 3 years ago well I didn’t know that in 3 years u could grow out of autism my kboledge was its a life long desiese that can not be cured, but anyway to me the iep is a joke and is only hurting my sons academic situation wish that I could find somw help with this cause there isn’t much time left with him to learn, and by the way my sons dr drove down to the iep meeting from gis home in p.a. and the teachers still did not recognize my sons disability nor did they offer any other help for him.

    • Peggy
      February 28, 2011 at 10:35 am

      Time to look into another school system? I don’t know much about Asperburger’s but could the Dr office check into things a bit for you? Good Luck in your fight.

      • Michelle
        February 28, 2011 at 11:27 am

        You need an advocate! I have one and he is wonderful.

    • cathy
      February 28, 2011 at 11:29 am

      sometimes you have to go over their head to superintendant. we have had to do that a couple of times

      • Noreen
        May 16, 2011 at 7:36 pm

        Good point. Yes, they are trying to cut these kids future along with their budgets. Keep fighting it’s worth it and your child’s services will remain. For those who don’t, well their child falls through the cracks. Our Superintendent is the ONLY redeeming thing at our District. He has some heart and was a former Special Ed teacher so he is Knowledgeable as well

    • Mary macias-cox
      February 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      Paul you need to not give up and inform the school that they bare obligated BY LAW to test your son. Sadly not everyone knows that but this falls under the Disability Act. a lot of schools don’t want to undertake the extra work that an IEP means. Don’t give up and like MIchelle said partner with an advocate that knows how to help you get the help you need!

      • Anita
        March 1, 2011 at 7:38 am

        Talk due process – they really don’t like those words and will often be more willing if they think you would really take them to court

    • Barbara
      February 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      Yes I would go over their heads. I had a really tough battle with my son’s old school. They wouldn’t offer anything for my son. I went over their heads and also started researching other schools to see if I could find one that was appropriate for him. I had DCF voluntary service, an advocate and someone from the CCMC (CT children medical center) attend all my meetings with the school. They finally started getting scared and offered me a program. I was very skeptical but in the end…..I LOVE this new school. He is doing awesome in this school. Good luck to you!!

      • Lynn
        February 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm

        what school is he going to ?

    • Rebecca
      May 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      Paul, your school system is required by law to test your child at no cost to you. Even if you have had your son tested before, you can ask the school system to test him. I too have a son with AS and it has been a fight to get the school to work with us; after a year, we finally were able to get him on an IEP. The small school system we are in are just not familiar with autism and I often think they just don’t know what to do and how to handle, or maybe it is funding. But I do know, they are required to have a child study and then you have the right then to say you want him tested, as it is the law. Just keep asking, weekly if need be. If that doesn’t work, consult an attorney. Good luck!

  5. Allan McCombs
    February 28, 2011 at 10:01 am

    The school always asks what services that I want to put onto the IEP. However, I do not know all the services that are available, is there a shopping list of all the programs available?

    • Kay
      February 28, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit
      You may find the above Kit helpful…If you click just Autism Speaks at the top of this page there are other resources/kits available that are free downloads. You may also want to look at the website for your state that list a curriculum guide for grade levels.

  6. Brenda
    February 28, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I am an aunt of a 10 1/2 year old and conferences are coming up. I also work as an aide in our school district with children with disabilities. I really wish the aides could attend the iep meetings so we know how to accommodate the needs of these children. Our meetings only include the teacher and administration along with counselors. We are not trying to be nosey, we would just like more insight to the kids we work with.

    • Shenan Everet
      February 28, 2011 at 11:30 am

      Brenda, I’m the parent of an 7yr old with Autism and I request that his Para, attend our IEP meetings. Because she has the most interaction with him during the day, it is important to us to get her opinion when deciding what should go into his IEP.
      Maybe you could mention to the Parents that you would like to share what you see day to day. Even if you can’t be at the meeting sharing that info with the Parents could be a huge help. We are so THANKFUL to the people who work with our son, they have help make the difference!!!!!

    • Mary macias-cox
      February 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      Brenda, I don’t know if you are aware of this but you can ask others you want to attend this meeting with you. I believe that this is very important as it allows those who need to hear the information to hear it from someone other than yourself. Most aides do not have all the education or know how to be better equipped to work with children who have special needs. A little information goes a long way.

    • Gretchen Hawthorne
      February 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm


      I live in Washington State. When you said your not able to be apart of the IEP boggles me a bit. My childs IEP includes ever person that helps my son including his aids. We are a team and everyone that has contact with that child is a part of the team and aids in goal setting. You need to talk to the principal of the school to insure this is happening. It sounds to me that your schools IEP is a little lazy :)
      At my sons meeting there are 8 of us including everyone that that spends time with him. SO speak up, I am sure they will let you be involed, approach it ad being apart of a team,,Good luck.

    • Anita
      March 1, 2011 at 7:41 am

      Last I knew the parents could invite anyone they wanted to participate in an IEP

  7. February 28, 2011 at 10:17 am

    We have a meeting this Friday to discuss IEP goals. My goals for him are to be able to tell me something about school daily by the end of the year (he’s in preschool). And to learn his classmate’s names (ie make friends). To increase his language with no babbling. Use a big boy voice (he tends to talk in a squeaky voice often) 90% of the time (or more!).

  8. Chris
    February 28, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Paul, it’s interesting to me that you wrote about “growing out of autism”. My son, who is 3 years old was diagnosed on the spectrum a year ago and his doctor told me that if she could predict his future, by the time he is 10-12 yrs. old he won’t even fit the diagnoses anymore. Then she said, are we just over diagnosing? Or are we just getting the children the services that they need to over come their challenges…. This of course has left me so confused/ mixed emotions and very hopeful that my son will “out grow” his autism. My son had his first IEP and has been in the school system since Sept. he is doing really well. But how do I know that his IEP has all of his needs and goals in it? I basically went on the schools input. When I was asked what my goals are for him… I feel like that’s a tough question for me to answer.

    • Anita
      March 1, 2011 at 7:44 am

      It’s important for the parents to look at what they would like to see accomplished also. Some of our goals were as simple as “He will start a conversation with a peer”

    • Leisl
      March 1, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      On the hope of your son “out growing” autism, I believe many children on the high functioning ends of the autism spectrum have the ability to overcome their diagnosis and live a typical, highly functional lifestyle. You are on the right track in being concerned about your child’s IEP goals. Anita made a great suggestion and, as others in this blog have mentioned, Autism Speaks provides resources to guide you down that path. Good luck!!

  9. Peggy
    February 28, 2011 at 10:26 am

    We have a son, Jake, who is now 9. Dx with PDD-NOS at 2 1/2. IEPs have been a MAJOR part of his academic career thus far. Reading what others have written today, I can see all sides. We have had to be the leaders as well in making sure that Jake’s IEP has things in it that are going to be beneficial to him. Not just easy on the staff. Follow up has been very important as well, staying on top of communication and measuring progression/recession. Making sure that the IEP is being followed is another story sometimes. I have been known to ‘voice my opinion’ on more than one occasion to his entire team. I am grateful for the work they do, I KNOW it’s not easy. We do it 24/7, not just during the school day. There are resources out there, here in MN we have organizataions that deal specifically with families to help with IEPs. I have tapped them all. No one else is going to do the legwork for us, we do it. But then I make sure it is being followed. It’s not only a life long dealing for our children, it is our’s too. It is our jobs to make sure they are getting the best we can give them. That’s our theory anyway. Good luck to ALL parents with children. School is much different now than it used to be IEP or not!!

  10. Kayla
    February 28, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I have a four year old son with delayed speech, and a three year old son with speech delays as well as autistic behaviors. I have a five year old brother who is autistic. It is my opinion that the IEP program effectiveness lies in the drive of the school to actually help the child. My four year old is in an early childhood class this year in which he had a developed IEP goal and because the teacher was not sure how to deal with him, she immediately resorted to pointing the finger at autism and saying he would be better served at an autism center, this was outrageous to my husband and I as I do have a brother that is actually autistic who was put on a waiting list for the center. They were actually willing to put a child who was difficult in the place of a child who truly had autism at this center. As it turned out my four year old son is not autistic and has bascially been allowed to run around the class room behaving as he wished while the other children participated in group activities, a year of important schooling wasted!! My opinion is that the school did not have enough drive to steer our son in the right direction to complete his IEP goals this year. It is sad. Now I worry that my three year old who may truly have autism will not get the proper support from school to meet his goals so the meetings with the school board actually start today because I will be the one to ensure that my children are given the proper tools to get where they need to be in order to meet their goals because putting it in the hands of the school is not the way to go.

  11. February 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I have had four boys on IEPs throughout the last 15 years (3 autistic and 1 speech delay). Regarding the actual goals, I have focused on social skills first. Many psychologists have said that they can’t do that. I point out that social skills are ALWAYS needed. ANY interaction with a teacher, doctor, store clerk, REQUIRES SOCIAL SKILLS. I respectfully but adamantly insist that social skills be addressed: eye contact, simple greetings, returned questions, etc. I go into an IEP with written goals, and I don’t leave until each goal is addressed. When I receive a copy of the IEP, I read it to make sure those goals are present. Never take anything for granted!

    We have been in several schools in two different states. One year I had four boys in four different schools due to the programs only being offered at those schools. The top priority for any parent is to know your child. Only YOU are the expert on your child. You must research what your school and district has to offer. The teachers and school psychologist may want to help your child, but I’ve learned that the parent who is seen, heard, and known will get the most attention. Consequently, your child will get the more attention. This is difficult to do, especially if you work. However, no one cares about your child more than you. Whatever you can do, the better. The more that can be done in the earlier years of your child’s life, the better as well. The time invested will pay off down the road. If you can’t be present on the school campus, call or email. I live in a state where I can home school my child part time. I did the research to find that out. The schools told me NO, but I proved I could. I now do home school one autistic son part time as that is in his best interest.

  12. Jill
    February 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

    IEPs are so stressful for me! My son is 5 with an Autism diagnosis, and I feel like I have had to FIGHT for every single service. If I just “trust the input from the schools to make the goals, (like I did the first couple of meetings, because I didn’t know any better), they would make very simple goals that were not measurable. I hate feeling like I have to babysit the school district and be pushy to get my son basic services. As it is, he has qualified for OT in September, and has yet to recieve 1 minute of it. When I ask them about it, they just say, “Well, we can’t hire an OT for your son’s building. No one will take the job.” Ugghh. I can’t seem to figure out the balance of advocating for my son to get him what he NEEDS to be successful in school, and not burning every bridge with the teachers/admnistrators at the school. I’m losing steam. His next IEP is in April, and it is for his transition to kindergarten. I would love some help and guidance on what goals & services would be appropriate to ask for, and then knowing what to do when I don’t get them! I feel like he is falling through the cracks because in the “special-ed world” he is relatively high-functioning, but he still could never make it through the school day without special ed. His delays are extremely severe. We live in Colorado.

    • Tanya
      March 30, 2011 at 1:14 am

      I am a parent of two boys with autism (ages 11 and 9 1/2) and a special education teacher/coordinator of the autism program at a private day school for children with severe behavioral needs.

      I feel sad reading a lot of these comments because I know how hard I work on each student’s IEP – on the other hand I’m not surprised because I pulled my own kids out of our district school and put them in a charter school mostly due to class size.

      However, regard no OT being provided when it is on his IEP: THIS IS A VIOLATION OF THE LAW!!! He is entitled to compensatory services when the OT is available or over summer. Not being able to hire someone is NOT acceptable! If it is in his IEP they must, must, must provide it. There are agencies that will contract out part time OT positions.

      This actually happened to our school – our OT abruptly quit with no notice whatsoever. It took about 3 months to find a new OT and the OT had to make up the missed OT minutes.

      You need to contact an advocate or at the very least the parent information network (commonly known as PINS) in your state. This is not acceptable! Don’t worry about burning bridges – your child is your concern. I threatened to take the school district I used to work in to due process for not providing my child services. Ironically enough, the special education director had done the same thing when his son was in school.

      As for goals: it can be helpful to look at your state standards and see what he’s expected to learn next year. You can find them on your state dept of ed website. Then look at what goals you think he will have difficulty with. Think through specific self-help, communication and social goals that he may have difficulty with and then write out examples.

      My sons are doing well in school now. Both are in fully inclusive classes and receive special ed support for social skills, communication, OT and speech. In the early days, I hadn’t even started school to be a teacher and I was very confused. Really picture the outcome you want in 5, then 10, then 20 years and use that guide you on the IEPs each step of the way.

  13. melissa
    February 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

    i have two sons with autism my oldest with aspergers….IEP’S are very important i am learning as i go that as parents we need to voice what we would like to see for our children aand then always keep tabs on the school to make sure they are following the goals set …i have ran into this problem and had to get the school back on the task….we as parents with special needs children need to always be on the watch so our kids get what they need for a great education our kids have beautiful minds we are blessed

  14. Leah
    February 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I have one child who is 7 and has PDD-NOS. He is high functioning and mainstreamed in a private school, another son has moderate to severe autism and is 3. He was placed in a public special education school in a 5 day per week all day autism program. I also have a 5 year old who is developmentally delayed. I go to a lot of IEP meeting :) The IEP process is tough. As a parent you must educate yourself as much as possible. We have been fortunate to find a local volunteer advocacy group who has been supportive and attends the meetings with us. Finding a local parent support group is also key. It is important to pick the brains of parents who have already gone down the road you are currently on. They can share what has worked and what has not. Other parents of special ed children have been the biggest help to us both with advice and support. I have also pushed myself (in a positive way) on my kids teachers. I communicate via phone or e-mail with them at least once per week. Sometimes every day. I ask questions and I share what is going on at home with my boys. I give my two cents on what my concerns are and what progress I am seeing. I have also asked to see proposed IEP goals prior to the meeting. If the school will oblige this will help a lot because you can have some dialogue with the therapists and teachers before the actual meeting. I think the key to all of this is relationships. I did have to move one of my boys to a different school where the teachers and administration had my sons needs as a top priority. Always keep your cool but stand your ground. Let them know you are a parent who is very involved and interested in your child’s progress and that you want to work with them as a team to help your child meet their full potential.

  15. Laurene
    February 28, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Yes, IEP’s are great, they look wonderful…problem is getting those IEP’s followed by the team working with your child. I constantly end up being the case manager myself. Noone seems to care when the services you agreed upon in your PPT are not being met. This is an every day job. It really becomes exhausting. I find it interesting when they comment on the goals that they’ve been working on but yet I find out that my son hasn’t even been seeing that person in a couple of weeks.

    • Andrea
      March 1, 2011 at 11:54 am

      I feel the same way about the services on the IEP that are supposed to be provided! My Step-son is supposed to have summer school and vacation schooling to support him without regression or difficult transitions but no one seems to care and they are unwilling to provide the services. Even with documentation from doctors, teachers and his parents. We are in the process filing the complaint with the Department of Education and we hope that we are provided with the already approved services! Thanks for listening and my best to all!

  16. Michelle
    February 28, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I have a 12 year old diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2005. I can’t get an IEP. I have been fighting for one for 2 years now. They tell me he is not accademically eligible. What is with that. He may get good grades in most of his classes, but he has major problems with Language Arts and writing. He has a dysgraphia problem and does not have an imagination to create a short story. He is a fact and hands on kid and his anxiety is through the roof. I have and advocate and he has been helping me fight. It is wearing me out. I also have a 9 year old with PDD/NOS. I am gearing up expecting I am going to have to fight for him also. So far he has a teacher that is amazing and just changes the way she does things with him. I really need help getting my 12 year olds IEP. Any suggestions?

    • Dianne
      February 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      You should request a 504 plan if they are saying he doesn’t qualify for an IEP because of academics. A 504 would require the school to make accomodations necessary for your child to be successful in school, but has nothing to do with academics… disability or learning disabled based. Hope that helps.

    • Karolina
      February 28, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      One thing to keep in mind about 504 plan – it has no legal protection like IEP does. I, personally, believe that the school should accommodate your request for IEP. My daughter has dx of PDD-NOS. Academically she is capable, but she suffers a great deal of anxiety, and just like your son, she struggles with writing assignments. She can’t create a story on her own. She has an IEP which mostly focuses on behavioral issues, and then some academic. When she first started elementary school, she was considered by some of her teachers gifted, but we did have an IEP because she could not sit still, stay quiet, speak only when asked, etc. Just like you, I am also pretty tired from all this fighting with the school distrist and keeping an eye on them actually doing what they promised.

      • tiffany
        May 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm

        I was just told the same thing about my son. He’s 4 and I was trying to have things put in place for him before he enters kindergarten. I’m contemplating homeschooling now because I have a feeling they aren’t going to be very helpful.

    • Karolina
      February 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      I just came across this information that you could find helpful:
      Julie Swanson is a special education advocate. Right on this page I found a support for you asking your district for iep. It is not just about academics.

  17. Deborah
    February 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

    My son was misdiagnosied most of his life. He is now 31 and seeing the right doctors at 29 it made sense. Both Grandchildren have Aspergers as well. I have found it’s a battle with schools. They don’t always see what we live with. Melt downs happen at home after bad days in school. You MUST stay active, stand your ground! Each child is different and have different needs. (Geo’s) in school are a BIG help. Always keeping our home organized and calm. My experience with episodes of emotion…. Stay a step ahead! Don’t place the child in chaos at any given time. Demand from your schools Sensory class. Allowing the child to release their individual self. My Grandson releases his stress to somersaulting at that time. My Granddaughter prefers throwing a ball, swinging. My 31 yr old son…rubs fabric between his fingers.

    • Michelle McCamey
      February 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      I completely agree with you. Placing your child in chaos and stress is just torture for them. Staying a step ahead, and speaking up and fighting for your child’s needs is the best thing you can do.

  18. Mary macias-cox
    February 28, 2011 at 11:57 am

    An IEP is supposed to give me the tools to make my son’s life easier at school. Sadly, that is not always easy. In some school communities it is a hard battle to get the school system to move quickly to get a child tested to develop an IEP. It is also a battle to get the school to agree to test the child to start the process of an IEP.

    I have several goals for my son’s IEP. One is to minimize the amount of homework that is given to him. After a long day at school, he is mentally exhausted and has no more energy to continue working on school work at home. Not only does he bring the material that is meant to be done at home but he also brings the work that he is not able to finish at school. He is a very bright and intelligent boy with a high IQ and his grades are all exceptional; however, he is unable to keep going once he gets home.

    My second goal for his IEP would be that we come up with a solution to help him with writing his thoughts. He has a good thought process, knows his math facts and has an incredible memorization capability. However, he struggles writing the information he stores in his head. Math worksheets with excessive numerical problems give him anxiety causing him to shut down. Orally however he is able to convey all the information that is requested of him. I would like for the school to allow him to use a keyboard or a dictaphone to make it possible for him to accomplish what is required of him and complete the work. This would allow him to feel a sense of accomplishment. I also want his teachers not to give him incomplete or late notice slips to bring home for us to sign and acknowledge his incomplete assignments. All this does is demoralize him and make him feel like a failure. We already know what he does and does not complete and so does the teacher as we are in constant communication with his teacher and the principal. We do not need a notice to remind us of this. We do not define our son’s progress and abilities soley on his progress and success at school. There are too many areas in which he excels that give us the sense that he will succeed in life. That alone is our report card as parents.

    I need for his teacher to provide us with more detailed information for homework. He has to write his assignments on his daily agenda and sometimes we have the most difficult time making out what it is he has to do. By the end of the day getting him to tell us exactly what it is he needs to do is futile. He is a black and white individual therefore the “gray” areas pose a huge problem in helping him. Although the school does provide a homework site that lists all the assignments a more detailed list would be more helpful.

    He has made the statement that he does not like how his teacher makes him sit all day long. I need for him to be able to move around or take small breaks while working with his primary teacher. He is able to move around when he goes to his other classes, i.e. art, spanish, music and P.E. but sits mostly while working in his classroom.

    On a social level my son has made great strides primarily because my husband and I attended a social skills building workshop with him. This has given him the confidence to be a better communicator, use more eye contact and have self-control. This workshop gave my husband and I different ways of communicating with him and a more postive way to re-direct him when he has meltdowns. He interacts well with his peers, is on the basketball team at school and is a boy scout. I feel that this improved behavior gives the school the perception that he is able to handle all the other aspects of school. What they do not see is that after holding in all the frustrations of class work during the school day; when he comes home he unloads all those emotions. When the time comes to tackle homework he falls apart. He has a minimal amount of downtime in the evenings and this makes quality family time almost an impossibility which in turn creates resentment with his two siblings.

    I have yet to accomplish these goals as our meeting for an IEP has not taken place. For one reason or another there has been a delay in getting the testing process underway to be able to get to the IEP phase of the process. I intend on addressing this setback at the meeting. I am frustrated that the independent testing we did at our local Children’s Hospital Autism Department was not enough to get the process started. This made my experience with the process one of sheer frustration. I am a strong person and very persistent but that persistence was not enough to breakdown the guidelines that the Department of Education has in Nebraska for children with special needs.

    I feel strongly that not all educators have enough knowledge about Autism. This makes building the partnership between parent and educator a challenge. Many teachers have the perception that parents just want the special accommodations for their child as a means of giving in to their child. Anyone who has an Autstic child knows that to be untrue. We all know that Autism has many different characteristics and that each child that is affected with this disorder has unique and individual needs. More reform is needed in our educational system and less cutbacks so that schools can provide teachers with the knowledge and tools to provide our children with a better less stressful method of learning.

    I hope to have a positive outcome at my IEP meeting and writing my comments for the question presented today on this blog has given me a level of confidence and good perspective for my upcoming IEP meeting.

    Thank you for this blog site; although I not always make the time to post comments, I read alot of the information presented. My mantra is that knowledge is power and all the information provided on this site increases my knowledge bank.

    Keep up the good work as it gives us great insight!

    SIncerely and gratefully,

    Mary Cox

    • Michelle McCamey
      February 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      Mary, thank you for sharing. It sounds like your son is an excellent worker. It sounds like he is in Junior High? You’ve been at this alot longer than I have. But when my little boy transitioned from kindergarden to first, they would give him no special aid. We had an IEP, and they literally dismissed all our requests. My son was so stressed in school, he was wetting himself, crying, it was awful. My heart as a mom, went out to him. I didn’t know how to get the school to listen, so I pulled him and homeschooled him, and it was only a few months that went by, and I got a phone call from them and they were ready to cooperate. I’m not saying this is the solution for you, but if they decide not to give you what you want at the IEP, have a back-up plan, and take some drastic measures that you know will benefit your son in the end. Just maybe something that will get their attention, and let them know your serious. Good Luck, and I will pray for you and your son :)

  19. Erin
    February 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Interesting topic today.When I showed this to my husband he said”ohh wow,your’e commenting on this one arent ya?”.YES I AM.Ok,I have a 6yr old that finally PART way got diagnosed with being in the spectrum,after me fighting the school system for two years to get it done.I already had him on a speech IEP first thing when he started pre K,but now in kindergarten they still wanted to argue with me bout this.I had to go to the school board and was referred to a gentleman that could help me.He said that they COULD test for this and it would be alot easier because he is already on an IEP.The school kept saying they couldnt test for this.That was my two year fight.They also say they cant test him further till he is 9yrs old.I want to know exactly what kind of autism he has.He still has his speech teacher and he also has a S.E. teacher working with him and his social skills,learning to stay on task,his emotional break downs have slowed down some and he is now finally starting to show some improvement.He is still very behind.I got his diagnosis back in December and was also told by our family counselor that I should get my 11yr old tested for dyslexia.Again,this is another fight Im having to deal with right now.They are not willing to do the test.He is also on an IEP since first grade.My opinion and anyone is welcome to comment,is this..The schools are not willing to help or test because of the money situation.They have to pay for this test if the parents request it,and if you dont take charge of what is being done,your child will not get the help they need.I am really starting to loose faith in the school systems.This whole crap of “no child left behind” is a bunch of s@#$!I also know it goes higher than the schools,which would hit on the government.If they would stop firing teachers so maybe we would have more of those that specialize in our kids needs,put more of the funds into the elementary schools so they would have the proper amount of school books so our kids could bring them home.To me the younger kids need it just as much if not more,these are their,I call “sponge years”.They need the help NOW not waiting till couple more years or high school.If they get the skills they need to help their certain situation now then maybe when they are older they wont have to struggle so dang hard.I know the dyslexia thing is different than the autism thing,but my 11 yr old has gotten all the way thru to 5th grade because the schools kept telling me”well lets wait and see how he does next semester,well lets try this”.Im tired of them AND me sitting on our ass and not getting anything done.Im fighting the biggest fight of my life for both my sons right now because I know how they did my 11yr old Im not letting them do the same for my 6yr old.

  20. Carolyn
    February 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Michelle :You need an advocate! I have one and he is wonderful.

    We also have an advocate, I don’t know what I would do without her, she has been a god send to us.

  21. Michelle McCamey
    February 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Right now I believe for the first time in years I am happy with how well the goals are being met that have been set in the IEP. I had to pull my little boy out of school a year ago, for a short time, because the school district did not work with us. I had to home school him for a semester, but it did get my point across, and now he is getting special aid in a main stream second grade classroom. Sometimes you have to go with you gut instinct and take some risks to fight for what is going to be best for your child in the end. And we take it year by year, because the school district is always changing things. So we never know what’s going to happen in 6 months. But right now, our son is doing great!

  22. Michelle McCamey
    February 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Oh, we have wonderful advocates. My son also receives 80 hrs of in home therapy a month. That is why things are going so well now. We have people standing behind us now. But thank you, that means alot :)

    • erin
      May 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      Where are u guys getting such great services????

  23. Veronica
    February 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I have an autistic 3 year old that has beeen attending the local PPCD program in DentonISD. In Texas we call our IEP an ARD. His current goals are learning to use the PEC – communication system, increased eye contact, & transitioning from one activity to another without a breakdown. He seems to progressing on all of them and we hope to meet them before the end of the school year.

    We are new into the system, our two older daughters are typical and we have had an awesome experience with the school district so far. We started off when he was 18 months old using the services of ECI for his speech delay. It was their therapist that suggested we have him tested for autism when they saw some of the signs. The transition process from ECI to Denton ISD went very smooth. We did not have to go thru the normal evaluation process. I was a bit concerned when the school psycologist told us that they need to observe him and they wouldn’t take our Dr. pyscological review and diagnosis. Once we met with them they agreed with our Dr’s diagnosis after only spending 30 minutes with him. He was able to start the program the day after his 3rd birthday and has been enjoying the school and bus rides.

    I was also surpised at the additional service the distric offered us. We have an autistic at home therapist that visits us once a week and a parent in home training counselor that meets with us once a month. Their main job is to make sure that what he is learning at school is brought home and used in both environments. We were lucky to have his PPCD teacher be his at home trainer so the transition for him was seamless. They supply us with all the PEC cards at home that he uses at school and the teacher is able to show us the activities he enjoys at school so that we can try to include them at home.

    I know we’re new into this world but so far the services that our distric has provided is something we needed. Our insurance will not pay for one penny of Autism treatment so without it he would be worse off.

  24. Barbara
    February 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Lynn, He goes to Woodland School in East Hartford, CT. Everyone there is awesome. They actually listen to you and they also have a lot of knowledge. They came up with things that I would have never come up with. It is truely amazing. I went and looked at other schools but they don’t even compare to this school. You can email me at bmarz1@sbcglobal.net if you want anymore info. Thanks!!!

  25. stacey smith
    February 28, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I have a child a son with asbergers syndrome and he has had an IEP for the past 6 yrs. Does public school follow an IEP, not always and now with all the budget cut to our school systems nobody seems to care. I fight EVERY DAY for my son’s rights and it seems to fall on deaf ears. So I will continue to be loud and annoying as I have been called because it is my job as his only parent.

    • erin
      May 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      I am also.a loud mouthed Momma. I have 2 sons with moderate to severe autism. We are moving into a new school district this year and im terrified. We have had a bad experience with our last school change and my oldest son’s behaviors have been steadily getting worse. Im worried that with the move we wont make it there in time to get them in the ESY program and that the teachers will do the usual poopoo the parent dance.

  26. Laurene
    March 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

    good for you Stacey, I am right there with you….I don’t really care what people think of me as long as my child gets the services he needs

  27. Lin
    March 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I am going through the iep review process right now and we live in a rural community. I am having trouble getting the school to stay in contact with me. When my son gets in trouble at school all the do is threaten him and tell him that they will call the police on him. I guess to try and scare him. The things in the previous IEP were supposed to be helping him to understand social issues, but they seem to be going backwards. Some of the things I have read hear have helped thanks

    • Barbara
      March 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

      Lin, It sounds like they cant handle him. They need to have a plan for when he acts up. Maybe he needs to go for a walk. Maybe the class is over stimulating. they need to find out what is upsetting him. My son was in trouble all the time. They would call me as soon as school started to come pick him up. He didn’t do well standing in a line. He wanted to be first so he would make his way to the front and the other kids would get mad. Where was my son’s help then? They didn’t do much for my son. That is when I started looking at other schools to see if I could find one that was appropriate for my son. The school finally caved in and my son is in an appropriate place. I thank god every day because my son no longer gets into trouble and he is ACTUALLY LEARNING!!!! Keep on them and demand them to come up with an appropriate behavior plan. Good luck!

  28. Barbara
    March 4, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Also, his confidence is MUCH better. Which was a major issue

  29. Tabitha
    May 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    My question is regarding getting an aid in the Norfolk,Va school system. My son will be entering 6th grade this year, he tends to wander when ever he has a chance. He has aspergers and at this point has been wandering for as long as i can remember. I have an IEP meeting next month. So i’m just looking for any info i can get. Thanks

  30. Tonya
    May 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I am not sure whats going to happen for my son this summer! He’s turning 3 in September and is transitioning out of our Early On program with an “educational diagnosis of Autism” He’ll be attending our local special needs school in the fall in an Autism classroom and we are hoping they will have room for him this summer in their month long summer school program… I am also considering enrolling him in the only local program I can find for kids under 3 at the YMCA, but I am hesitant to do this because I am concerned about the large class sizes and they seem very craft/focused activity based which is something he really struggles with!He has major speech delay (testing about a year behind) as well as some occupational issues (ie turning door knobs/screw on tops and dressing/un dressing ect)

  31. john mooney
    May 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    We have a lot of damage control to do with our son who is five and about to graduate kindergarten. He is main stream and has been in school for three years but he was abused by his teacher in kindergarten which has made meeting his goals extremely difficult. We are looking at starting back at square one to modify his behavior of being scared and not wanting to be alone without his parents because of the fear that was developed over being abused. His IEP will not include these goals.

  32. Erich H
    May 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    We just had the first IEP for my son’s transition into high school. We have a feeling they are trying to drop his assistant but we aren’t going to let that happen. They tried it when he went to middle school too. Plus they didn’t have anyone from the special ed. co-op to make a decision on it so it’s been reconvened. Silly school hasn’t figured out yet my wife has been through the training and is a qualified advocate in Indiana. Also found out they were breaking the law by having the aid “teach” math to my son and another student. Well it usually ends well in his favor when they give in (i.e. follow the law). Also made the huge decision to take him off the core 40 diploma and place him on the general diploma track. We cried, but know its the best for him. Good luck to everyone and don’t be afraid to ask for help or take an advocate. It’s your right!

  33. Angela
    May 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    My 13yr old daughter was recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS. She was diagnosed a few years earlier with a Non-Verbal Learning disorder which in our IEP manager told me that our school district didn’t recognize this diagnosis. So, obviously her IEP goals do not meet her needs. She is in a self-contained math class where her goals are to count money up to $1.00 with an accuracy of 80%. They say she has met this goal. Also, one of her goals is to tell time to one minute incriments with 80% accuracy. They say she has met this goal. But on any given day I can ask her the time and she may or may not be able to tell me. Same thing for money. In addition to these she also does simple math, addition and subtraction. But they have her in a Science class where she has to do daily warm ups including volicity equations and other formulas. She fails every daily warm up paper she turns in. They still do not understand my child’s needs. I am hoping with this new diagnosis and an advocate on my side that I can get my daughter the education she deserves. Right now she isn’t getting it!

  34. tiffany
    May 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    My son was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 4. I went to the school district and tried to get an IEP set up before he entered kindergarten. He was denied services. They told me to try for a 504 once he enters school. I’m a little disappointed.

    • Erich H
      May 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      For lack of a better term, BS. Sounds like you should find an advocate that knows more about the laws than they do. A 504 is not going to tailor your childs education to fit his needs as much as an IEP. They already sound pretty shady so get help now and take charge. If you haven’t found a parent support group on your area yet, find one. They can be an invaluable resource and can help you in the right direction.

  35. Lorena
    May 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    My husband has Asperger Syndrome, he was never diagnosed, we moved to America 12 years ago, my son (9) was diagnosed with AS at age 5, that’s how we found out about my husband, our school system has provided some help but we had to do our homework too, for me as mom and wife is an up hill battle: besides dealing with AS and the school system, sometimes I have to deal with prejudice and racism. Thanks God for websites like this one; its a big relieve to know that I’m not the only one dealing with all kind of situations.

  36. May 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    My son’s IEP is actually now complete, but when I read The Topic of the Week I can not help but remember Jess-Diary of a Mom and her visit to the White and her account of watching the annual Easter Egg Hunt. You may be thinking where is she going with this, IEP-Egg Hunt at the White House? Two different topics…..but not really.
    If you Jess post Please, Mr. President, Step Inside http://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/please-mr-president-step-inside/
    you will see why the White House just might need a few IEP goals
    I wrote a post with some proposed goals The White House Easter Egg Hunt…Do you think they need an IEP?
    So although they are not goals for my son’s IEP…they are suggested goals for one big egg hunt….

  37. Holly
    December 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    My son is very high functioning and in his first year of school. I just feel like the teachers don’t understand what he needs. They seem to be complaining more than helping us guide him in the right direction. What do I do? Every time i suggest something they respond negatively and then finally try it to see that it works but it is like pulling teeth. I finally pulled the rug under their feet and decided that I would remind them if they cannot provide what he needs that I will in fact, at the districts expense have him sent to a school that can,

    • December 20, 2011 at 10:38 am

      Oh boy….your school experience sounds like mine. My daughter had her last IEP yesterday….she is almost 21 and she is finally getting a diploma. It has been a long, LONG road since Kindergarten. In my experience, it seemed that the IEP “team” did everything that they could to try and not give my daughter the services that she needed. I got completely wore out from trying and, honestly, I believe that this is how they wanted me to feel. At the IEP yesterday, her Case Manager told my daughter how glad she was to be getting rid of her because it was time for her to go. I was too nice to say that I felt the exact same way….that it was definitely time to get rid of the school, the case manager, and the entire IEP team, because they were of little help to us. And, since I live in IL, there is little to no help that I can expect to receive for my daughter. There are waiting lists a mile long for services and the people at the IEP told me that, realistically, it is a bleak time to be the parent of an adult with special needs. So, it is up to me to do what I can for my daughter.

      On a Special Needs online forum, I read that it is the School’s job to not spend any money on your child, and it is your job to get them to spend the money. I have found this to be very true……..

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