Autism 101: Writing an IEP for an Autistic Student
Raising a child with autism takes a community. Families, educators, and community support systems are all keys to an autistic child’s success. One way that educators can effectively support an autistic child is to develop a good Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is a federally mandated education plan created specifically for every child that has a disability. In developing an IEP, educators work with administrators and parents to determine the best course of action (in the form of goals) for helping a student learn, grow, and develop with autism.
So how can an educator help develop a good IEP for an autistic child? They key is to create good IEP goals. A helpful system for creating goals is the SMART process.
SMART IEP goals are:
- Time Limited
SMART goals will give structure to the IEP plan. A SMART IEP goal will state when each goal should happen, the context for the goal, and what determines the success of the goal. SMART IEP goals are specific about behavior, speech, educational, or social skills. They define any modifications to the curriculum or environment that need to take place to achieve the goal. With SMART goals you will better define what the child will do, when and how he’ll do it, and what the time frame will be for achieving each goal.
Avoid using broad, sweeping generalizations in the IEP development process. Remember, an IEP is meant to be unique to each and every student. It is essential to have an accurate understanding of the student’s position on the autism spectrum and what things he needs to work on. Take some time to review the educational history of the autistic student. Look at early intervention techniques, behavior modifications, or any modifications that either worked well, or did not work with the child.
Along with SMART goals, be sure to include any curricular modifications or accommodations, any support staff that are needed to support the IEP goals, special materials or resources needed, and which goals should be given priority for the welfare of the autistic student.
Find more on SMART goals here on our site!