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How to design IEP goals and objectives for kids with CVI

Discover what makes effective, actionable, and forward-thinking goals and objectives for your child with CVI

Forward-thinking and actionable IEP goals for kids with CVI

Congratulations! You’ve made it this far, and this is the exciting part. The goals and objectives section of your child’s IEP is where your team lays out clear, actionable goals for your child’s educational progress in the year ahead. 

Goals and objectives aren’t synonymous. A goal is specific and measurable. It refers to your child’s overall target after a set time, such as being able to read the entire alphabet in 3 out of 4 opportunities by the next IEP meeting. 

Objectives are the smaller skills and steps needed to get to that goal, such as being able to read 50 percent of the alphabet in 3 out of 5 opportunities with 2 prompts. Objectives often include supports such as prompts, whereas a longer-term goal emphasizes independence. Here’s a handy breakdown of the difference.

No matter what, goals and objectives for a child with CVI should be:

  • Tied to your child’s assessments and current levels of performance.
  • Focused on CVI and on your child’s holistic educational experience; remember: CVI touches every aspect of your child’s learning.
  • Based on data from appropriate CVI assessments delivered by a qualified team.

Importantly, this section should be written from a perspective of strength, not deficits or weakness: Goals and objectives should highlight what skills your child can build upon, not what they can’t do. This needs to be a positive, forward-thinking framework that connects past strengths with future opportunities. It should:

  • Identify your child’s current skills.
  • Identify their prior knowledge.
  • Link to their prior knowledge.

Vision should be considered across every goal and objective, not isolated to your TVI. Every single person on your child’s team should have reviewed and understood the accommodations required for your child to address the skill they’re targeting within their objective.

Marguerite Tibaudo, Assistant Director for Assessment and Intervention at the CVI Center at Perkins

SMART model for goals and objectives

At Perkins, we like the aptly named SMART model of goals and objectives. What does that mean? Goals should be:

  • Specific: They should target precise areas of academic achievement and functional performance. They include transparent, clear descriptions of what will be taught and how your child’s progress will be measured.
  • Measurable: You should be able to objectively quantify your child’s progress. Depending on the goal, metrics could include percent accuracy, frequency, duration, rate, and intervals.
  • Action-oriented: Look for words like “increase,” “decrease,” and “maintain.” For example: “Pete will increase the length of time he spends sitting in the cafeteria at lunchtime each day.” That’s why baseline data in present levels is so important: They give these action words weight.
  • Realistic and relevant: Your child’s goals shouldn’t be tailored to statewide or district curricula; instead, they should be individualized to their situation. Remember our mantra: No two kids with CVI are alike.
  • Time-limited: Goals should have clear chronological parameters: What can your child do after three months, six months, nine months, and a year? You should be able to monitor progress at clear, regular intervals.

Here’s a non-SMART goal: This year, Pete will begin to identify letters of the alphabet.

Here’s a SMART goal: Within six months, Pete will identify capital letters A-L 75 percent of the time in 4 out of 5 opportunities when presented one at a time in an 18-point Arial font against a black background. Within a year, Pete will identify capital letters A-Z 75 percent of the time when presented one at a time in an 18-point Arial font against a black background.

The SMART method is also useful because it supports ongoing data collection: With linear, clear milestones, an educator should be able to develop a data-tracking system for each goal, which in turn determines whether adjustments need to be made and helps to solidify present levels for the following year’s IEP.   

As a parent, you have the right to ask how a goal or objective was determined and for the data that supports it. 

Finally, remember: Goals and objectives don’t focus on services your team will provide; it’s all about what your child might achieve using those services. And your child can achieve. Kids with CVI can learn, progress, and grow.

Ready to learn more? Watch our presentation on Building Accessible and Meaningful Learning for Students With CVI.

Goals should be written to reflect what the student will do, not what service is provided. Some examples of possible IEP goal focus areas identified within the present levels are: Reading comprehension, fluency skills, communication, time-management, self-advocacy, self-regulation, organization, independent travel, interpersonal and social skills, college and career exploration, math skills, fine motor skills, and writing skills.

Allan Blume, educational consultant

Examples of IEP goals and objectives

Below are a few examples of IEP goals and objectives for an elementary student with CVI and other needs. All identifying information has been changed. These examples are meant to inspire discussion only. All goals and objectives are based on comprehensive assessment, ongoing evaluation, and the individualized needs of the student. 

EXAMPLE OF A MATH GOAL

Measurable Annual Goal: Given direct, explicit, and repeated instruction, Kai will use math manipulatives to represent and solve problems demonstrating an understanding of number sense in 4 out of 5 opportunities as measured by the objectives below.

Objectives: 

  1. Kai will count objects to 25 using 1:1 correspondence with at least 3 different sets of objects in 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  2. Given no more than 1 prompt, Kai will identify numerals 1 through 10 both in print and in Braille given 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  3. Given various math tools (tactile, 3D, 2D), Kai will combine 2 addends with sums to 10 in isolation and within the context of a word problem given 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  4. Given various math tools (tactile, 3D, 2D) and no more than 2 prompts, Kai will subtract 2 numbers within 10 in isolation and within the context of a word problem given 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  5. Given manipulatives, Kai will determine which group is more/less in 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  6. Given 3D math tools, Kai will identify triangles, rectangles, circles, and pentagons by how many sides and vertices each shape has in 4 out of 5 opportunities.

EXAMPLE OF A Literacy GOAL

Measurable Annual Goal: Given direct, explicit, and repeated instruction, Kai will increase his phonemic awareness, word recognition skills, and comprehension skills given 4 out of 5 opportunities as measured by the objectives below.

Objectives: 

  1. Kai will receptively identify letters when provided with a field of 2-3 letters given 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  2. Kai will receptively identify letter sounds when provided with a field of 2 letters and a verbal prompt “which letter makes the ___ sound?” given 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  3. Given meaningful vocabulary words and sight words in accessible print presentation, Kai will identify the words and the beginning letter and sound and create a sentence given 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  4. Read 4 sentences of a story, Kai will answer literal questions (who/what/where) given 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  5. Read 2 sentences of a story, Kai will answer inferential questions (why/how) given 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  6. Given a computer with an adapted keyboard and text to speech, Kai will compose short writing pieces using meaningful vocabulary and sight words given 3 out of 5 opportunities.

EXAMPLE OF A SPEECH GOAL

Measurable Annual Goal: Kai will improve his ability to produce target sounds, increase his ability to understand language, express himself, and continue to develop his social language skills as measured by the below objectives.

Objectives: 

  1. Kai will retell a simple story or share a simple experience containing 2-plus details, when provided with transitional language (first, next, then, last), in 4 out of 5 presented opportunities.
  2. Kai will demonstrate understanding and use of positional concepts such as left, right, on, off, in front, and behind by following a 2-step direction in 4 out of 5 presented opportunities.
  3. Kai will participate in a 3-4 volley conversation with a teacher and/or peer regarding a specific given topic, given 2-3 verbal prompts in 3 out of 5 presented opportunities.
  4. Kai will answer who, what, and where questions, after a verbal prompt that models how to answer, in 2 complete sentences, regarding a simple short story and/or recent experience in 3 out of 4 presented opportunities.
  5. Kai will produce the /k/ and /g/ sounds to begin words and /p, b, t, d/, in the middle and end positions of words with an initial tactile prompt and audible prompts with 3 out of 4 presented opportunities.