Disabled students in the United States access their education through a program called an IEP. IEP stands for Individualized Education Program, and it is developed to meet the student’s needs that stem from their disability.

IEPs have goals on them, which are developed by the IEP team.

Parents and teachers should make sure they are not overlooking these goal areas, as they are just as important as academics to a student’s success.

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Don’t Overlook These IEP Goal Categories

iep goals
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

The purpose of an IEP goal bank is to provide educators and IEP team members with a resource of potential goals that can be customized to meet the unique needs of individual students.

See the IEP Goal Bank: IEP Goal Bank

Self Advocacy IEP Goals

self advocacy
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

Self advocacy skills do not magically appear when kids become adults. Some students will need direct instruction or guidance in this area so they can be successful adults.

To learn more: Self Advocacy IEP Goals

Behavior IEP Goals

Child expressing frustration or anger against a green background about their IEP.
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

Some learning disabled kids develop undesirable behaviors when their needs are not met. When this happens, the IEP team may put behavior goals on an IEP.

To learn more: Behavior IEP Goals

Toileting IEP Goals

toilet goals
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

Yes! An IEP team can put toileting goals on an IEP if it’s needed. And, this can happen at any age. Toileting IEP goals and protocols can help a disabled student achieve independence and avoid social ostracization.

To learn more: Toileting IEP Goals

Functional Communication IEP Goals

Father and son setting IEP goal categories with building blocks on the living room floor.
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

Our kids must be able to communicate. Whether it’s verbal language, pragmatics or social communication, functional communication is what makes adults successful in the workplace.

To learn more: Functional Communication IEP Goals

Attendance IEP Goals

Three white chairs against a dark gray wall in a room with white flooring, near an IEP checklist.
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

Anxiety or other mental health issues can make school attendance difficult. In these circumstances, the team should work together to support the student and ensure they are not further aggravating the health condition.

To learn more: Attendance IEP Goals

Counseling IEP Goals

Two individuals in a casual conversation about their IEP, one holding a notebook and gesturing while the other listens with a smile.
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

Counseling is a related service on IEPs. Whether it’s mental health or trauma, goals and supports should be added if a child needs it.

To learn more: Counseling IEP Goals

Social Skills IEP Goals

Children enjoying a snack break together at a table, ensuring to check their IEP accommodations.
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

Social skills is an area where a lot of kids struggle. Making friends doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Yes, the IEP team is expected to address social skills if the child needs them.

To learn more: Social Skills IEP Goals

Focus and Attention

A young boy resting his head on his arm on a desk, looking weary or bored, with an IEP notebook and pencil beside him.
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

Particularly for students with ADHD, focus and attention can be a struggle.

To learn more: Focus and Attention IEP Goals

Use an IEP Goal Bank

iep goal bank
Image Credit: Lisa Lightner

When it comes to developing IEPs, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. IEP goal banks are tremendous resources. As long as the goal is what the child needs, and individualized to their abilities, getting goal ideas from an IEP goal bank can be a tremendous time saver.

To learn more: IEP Goal Bank

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