Reviewing and Writing IEP Goals

We are half way through the school year. How is your child’s progress toward their goals on their IEP?  Do you have recent feedback and progress reports about how your student is progressing for the year?  Have you had a conference recently?

If you are happy with your child’s progress; you should schedule an IEP meeting to reevaluate their progress and update the goals.

If you are not happy with your child’s progress; you should schedule an IEP meeting to reevaluate their progress and update the goals.


When coming up with goals for your child’s IEP, request a copy or draft IEP prior to the meeting.  You never want to accept what seems like a goal from a general IEP goal bank.  Teachers and case managers will always say that they never use or reuse the same goals but they are totally lying to you.   What you are going to want to do is look at the goals that the team wrote and determine how you can change them to be more realistic and obtainable.


Now, that my son is in ABA therapy (extensively) I understand how silly IEP goals can be.  Think about how IEP goals are written; do you ever expect to be able to do something 80% of the time in 3 out of 5 attempts?    Nope.

Can I get some IEP goals that apply to my dinner preparation?   So, with 80% accuracy I will cook a hot, edible dinner, on time three out of five nights a week.  My husband and kids would be pretty mad if I kept coming up short twice a week and then I didn’t even attempt on the other two days.  I have to have food for them 100% of the time 7  out of 7 days a week.

Typically, what we are asking our students to do, we want them to be able to do completely.  When we have a goal to know all the uppercase letters that is a requirement for kids going into kindergarten.  It is a smaller goal of a larger goal.  If you do not know your alphabet and phonic sounds then we cannot move onto the larger goal of learning to read.

A sample IEP goal would be:

When presented with uppercase letters the student can independently match the corresponding lowercase letters with 80% accuracy, in 4 out of 5 opportunities.

At first this goal seems great but after stopping and thinking we can make some changes to improve the goal.

  • Ask questions at the meeting to help understand the goal and objective.
    • Why do we want the student to do this skill?
    • How will we determine progress?  How will we measure this goal?
    • What will this look like?  Describe the setting.  (this is really important for our children with autism because in some settings the skill can be performed but in other non-preferred settings the student would be unable to demonstrate the skill)
    • What is the next progression? So where are we going with this goal.   Most often the team will break down a larger skill into smaller goals in order to get to mastery of that big main goal.   If you know this then you can continue to monitor the growth of your child toward the big goal.
  • Take the draft IEP to your ABA therapist, Speech Therapist, Occupational or Physical Therapist
    • Have your private therapists read over the school report and the goals, services and accommodations.  The school should have similar or parallel concerns as the private therapists.
    • Private therapists can provide suggestions based on their work experience with your child.
    • they can also add the school goals to their program to help support you outside the school in therapy and at home.
  • The most important aspect to consider is what do you think your child needs  to focus on the most or have the most support in order to achieve.


Go over all your goals with your team and your list of questions.  Go to the meeting with suggestions and questions on post it notes.  Place the post it note on the IEP draft, as you go over the notes take them off the document.  Always take a support person or parent advocate to the meeting.


Have questions about your goals?  comment below or email

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