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Determining IEP Goals

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Eileen S. Marzola, Ed.D.

Q: I'm trying to get information together for my son's IEP meeting. He has auditory processing disorder (APD), ADHD (inattention only), and an identified disability in written expression.

I'm asking for active APD training/remediation, a phonics-based multi-sensory reading program, and a writing program with "research-based methodology." I have several evaluations that recommend and indicate that my son needs these programs. I'm having trouble determining short-term goals for the IEP. Can you help?

A: It's great that you're taking such an active role in obtaining appropriate services for your child and it's certainly obvious that you've done your homework in finding the kinds of programs that should help him in school. When it comes down to the "nuts and bolts" of designing specific instructional goals and objectives, however, you would probably do best if you had someone working with you who could make good recommendations on both educational goals and reasonable objectives based on your child's current level of functioning. Since you have had evaluations done before, I would go back to those professionals and consult with them about goals and objectives.

You can get some basic guidelines from Lawrence Siegel's book, The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child, but that's only a starting point. Also, keep in mind that IEP goals and objectives should be constantly updated as your child's performance level changes. It is critical that you be vigilant about monitoring whether services recommended for him are working. If he is not making adequate progress, you need to ask that his case be re-opened and that adjustments be made.

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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.


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